Do you care about your privacy online? And have an ad blocker and VPN installed? Although a great start, those two tools might not be enough. But don’t worry – we have just the web browser and cryptocurrency for you to help you stay private. Let us introduce BAT and the Brave Browser.
What is Brave Browser?
Now, what is Brave Browser, you ask? Brave Browser is a free and open-source browser that places a heavy focus on privacy and data protection. The browser gives users total control over their online data by blocking trackers, "creepy ads", and providing a built-in VPN.
Not enough? BAT offers rewards if you choose (yes, not forced!) to watch ads on their platform. This scheme works is opt-in, meaning that you can choose to continue to enjoy an ad-free internet but without earning any rewards. In a world where we have to pay Spotify to skip watching ads, Brave is a breath of fresh air.
If you choose to see ads, you won't have to worry about those previously mentioned "creepy ads", you know, those ones that seem to follow you from site to site after you had one conversation in the middle of a field with no wifi connection. This is because Brave does not utilize user IDs or reusable cookies, and ad-matching happens on the user's device — your data never leaves your own hands (literally if you're on a mobile).
They've also banned a few categories of advertising on their platform, including some of the most historically troublesome ads:
- Adult content
- Content targeting children
- Content targeting expecting mothers
*CBD advertising is available in the US with state-level restrictions.
Because of these policies, it can be argued that Brave is also the safest browser for children as they will not be exposed to multiple inappropriate ad categories.
Any ads allowed through will have carefully been selected by the Brave team and you'll be earning 15% of what the website has paid to show these ads. That's where the BAT token comes in.
What is BAT?
BAT (otherwise known as Basic Attention Token) is the Ethereum ERC-20 cryptocurrency token used to reward individuals for using the Brave Browser's reward scheme.
Is Brave Browser Actually Good To Use?
I'll be honest, I haven't used it… yet. However, from my research, it seems there is an overall positive sentiment around using it. Let’s look at the main things you consider while using a browser:
Brave has suggested that the browser loads pages 3 times faster than Google Chrome and even faster on your phone. There are mixed reviews on how true this statement is — in some areas, it is absolutely true and in others, the speed can be slightly slower. On average though, I'd say Brave is definitely not slower than other browsers and is significantly faster in some scenarios (such as loading Canva and CNN, see video below).
Aesthetically, it doesn't look much different from your other popular browsers. And, that's a big plus for me because I hate change. Going with a similar feel to other browsers will only help smooth out the transition from browser to browser.
Ease of Use
Furthermore, if you're considering a change, you can easily import all of your bookmarks, passwords, and more from your previous browser.
This includes extensions you're currently using. Brave Browser can use "almost any" extension that Chrome uses due to it using the Chromium engine. Currently, Firefox extensions are not directly compatible with Brave but you'll often be able to find an equivalent.
Okay, Well is Brave Browser Safe?
In fact, Dublin Trinity College found in a study that Brave Browser was actually the most private browser on the market. And, to be honest, it wasn't even close. Brave Browser was in a league of its own above Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
Brave didn't use any identifiers to allow tracking, never made external requests that included user data, and didn't even use autocomplete (by default) reducing the amount of data it gathered on its user. This wasn't the case for any of the other browsers in the study.
The research paper concluded: "For Brave with its default settings, we did not find any use of identifiers allowing tracking of IP address over time, and no sharing of the details of web pages visited with backend servers."
Who Created Brave Browser?
Brave was founded by Brendan Eich and Brian R. Bondy.
Brian R. Bondy worked at Mozilla Corporation as a Senior Software Engineer until he joined forces with Brendan Eich in 2015 to found Brave. These guys sound like the ‘browser’ counterparts of Gavin Wood and Charles Hoskinson.
They founded the browser to fight the online data wars that are currently going on. They both agreed that users shouldn't be tracked (without consent), loading times should be faster, cryptocurrencies should be used to pay revenue made from ads, and users should get a cut of that money.
How Do Brave Rewards Work?
Okay, you're probably interested in the free money, right? As much as I think the browser offers more than just a bit of crypto, let's cover it.
As we've previously mentioned, you can opt in or out of the rewards program. If you opt in, you'll find some ads popping on up websites — you'll get a slice of the pie if you watch these ads. When you turn ads on, you can select how many ads you get per hour — from 1 to 5.
If you opt-in to watch ads, your Brave wallet will automatically be created. As you see more and more ads, BAT will slowly start being added to this wallet.
Although I haven't tried this myself, some sources say that you should expect between 3-4 or 5-7 BAT every month depending on how much time you spend online. BAT is currently at $0.36 on CoinMarketCap, meaning that's a maximum of $2.57 per month. So, not much money…
However, it's worth noting that BAT's price can change, at the all-time high of $1.76, those 7 BAT could be closer to $12.32 — that's enough for an extra large Dominos pizza!.
Let's say you've spent a few months building up your BAT and finally have enough that you think it's worth spending — what can you do with it?
Brave offers its users to withdraw funds to an Uphold account — a service that helps turn your BAT into fiat or crypto. You can do this either by withdrawing it directly to your bank account or withdrawing it to your crypto wallet. Supported cryptocurrencies include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, XRP, and more.
Some think that you don't earn enough BAT to warrant sending the money to your account so, instead, choose to spend their money tipping creators. What does that mean? I hear you say.
Brave offers creators the opportunity to be tipped by their audience with BAT tokens. Once a creator enables this, when clicking on the Brave Rewards with a little tick icon at the top, there'll be an option to send a one-time tip or a monthly contribution.
For this option to be enabled, the creator must be verified by Brave. They'll make sure you're not tipping a scammer or someone creating exploitative content. A creator could be a YouTuber, a streamer, a blogger — anyone that Brave sees fit really.
Obviously, it varies from creator to creator but you could be looking at 50-60 BAT tokens a month.
Brave Browser has over 50 million monthly active users, over 15.5 million daily active users, and 51% of those users "feel more positive about brands that advertise with Brave".
Is Brave The Key to a Web 3.0 End Game?
Personally, I think so. In Web 2.0, our data gets constantly exploited to benefit big corporations. Web3 is meant to take that power back and Brave Browser makes that a reality.
With Brave, we see power and choice given back to the user while maintaining their privacy and even offering rewards for it. Sure, right now, the money isn't great. However, you could expect this money to increase as the browser becomes more and more popular.
Imagine if Google Chrome had such a feature and you were paid 15% for all of the advertising you saw, we'd all be quitting our jobs to surf the web full-time! Not only that but BAT’s price could possibly moon in the future — although we won't hold our breath.
Prior to writing this, I'd never used Brave Browser but after researching its security benefits, founders, and payment system, I'm heading straight to their site to download it.