Brave browser has apparently begun a trial ads program where users of the software can earn BAT tokens in exchange for viewing targeted ads. The program does not appear to be available to the public yet, however, and is only open to those who are involved in the test program.
Brave and BAT
Brave is a increasingly popular web browser that was launched with a tie-in to the cryptocurrency Basic Attention Token or BAT. The idea behind was to offer its users cryptocurrency payments in exchange for viewing ads through the browser. Those rewards would be paid out in BAT tokens that are currently trading for just over $0.20 on the open market today.
While the Brave browser has been out and available for download for quite some time, the service has not yet delivered openly on its original promise of offering a way to earn tokens in exchange for viewing targeted ads. That may be changing soon though, as the company is apparently running its trial system in what appears to be a closed beta that was shared on Reddit.
In addition to its links with cryptocurrency, the browser has also become popular due to its apparent ability to load websites fast and block ads natively without the need for any external add-ons or plug-ins such as AdBlock Plus.
Basic Attention Tokens
Basic Attention Tokens or BAT were available after an ICO. With the exception of a spike in early January 2018, the tokens have generally held a price of around $0.20 each. With a circulating supply of 1 billion tokens, this gives the project a market cap of $234 million and puts it in rank 53 on coinmarketcap.com.
In addition to acting as a way to pass on value to its users, a program exists wherein Basic Attention Tokens could be used in a patreon-like system. In this set up, Brave users could choose to have all or a portion of their earned tokens automatically sent to a content creator (like a YouTuber or a website operator) automatically. The idea here is that not all users of the Brave browser will want or know how to handle cryptocurrency. And so they may choose to move their earnings to the creator they want to support instead. In order to join the program and get paid, you will need to register and become a “verified creator” with the program.
What is also unclear is realistically how much money a Brave user could expect to earn with normal browsing habits. The announcement from Brave says that users can expect to earn 70% of the ads total cost or value. This suggests that each ad will be worth a fraction of a cent.
Another concern that has so far not been addressed is how will the browser combat fraud. Specifically, what’s stopping someone from running hundreds or more instances of the Brave browser on a computer and have a script simulate active browsing sessions across all of them?
The only thing we do know is that in order to be involved in the Brave monetization trial, one needs to agree to have their browsing history track so that presumably advertisers can deliver targeted ads based on interests. Perhaps this system also contains some degree of fraud detection, though it’s difficult to say. It’s also possible that the fraud could be IP-based. But again technologies exist that could obfuscate or make this kind of detection difficult. Perhaps the only thing that will stop this fraud is simply if it is not profitable enough.
Shifting Monetization Models
Brave is not the only company looking to change the way the Internet is monetized. Social media sites like Minds.com and Steemit have a system where those that submit widely shared content are rewarded in cryptocurrency, and other systems like Viuly are designed to incentivize participation in a similar way.
Other monetization models outside of advertising could include built-in cryptocurrency mining tools running within software or websites. This of course needs to be transparent and open, lest it be nothing more than what’s known as cryptojacking.
But the important take away is this. Cryptocurrencies of all kinds allow for extremely small micro-payments to occur and without the need for any involvement of banks and their steep fees or long settlement times. This means that as cryptocurrency develops, we are likely to see more websites and services that involve absolutely minuscule micro-payments going back-and-forth between users and service providers. The Brave browser could prove to be an interesting example of this, or even a model for other businesses.
But let’s not forget that this type of monetization of browser advertisements has been tried before and it failed. Perhaps the technology behind cryptocurrency will be what makes it work this time around.