The program will distribute $500,000 worth of Basic Attention Tokens (BAT) every month. Each Brave user can claim US$5 worth of tokens on a first come, first served basis simply by checking their browser wallet and clicking a notification button at the beginning of the month.
The goal of the promotion is to encourage wider adoption of the Brave browser. More funds means more donations to content creators, providing increased incentive to adopt BAT payments as a replacement for online advertising.
Funding Content Creators
Brave Software was founded in 2015 by Brendan Eich, co-founder of Mozilla, and former Mozilla software engineer Brian Bondy. The browser followed a few months later and kicked off the team’s long-term strategy to reshape the relationship between users and content creators.
Unlike most browsers, Brave shipped with built-in support for ad blocking, script disabling, and HTTPS connection upgrades. Users could install the browser and enjoy increased privacy and security without having to add third party extensions.
Brave Software’s larger goal is to fix the broken online advertising industry. The current system clutters screens with banners and harvests private information via tracking scripts. Publishers gain little revenue from advertisements, forcing them to get more aggressive with placements. This encourages users to increase ad blocking efforts, perpetuating the cycle indefinitely.
Brave’s solution is to let users donate directly to content creators through automatic browser-based cryptocurrency microtransactions.
Users who surf the web with Brave have access to a payments wallet funded with BAT. Every site visit is tracked along with the amount of time spent on each publication. At the end of every month, BAT funds in a user’s wallet are automatically distributed to owners of the selected sites.
In 2017, Brave expanded its efforts to include YouTube and Twitch creators. This provided a sorely needed alternative for users struggling with the unexplained demonetization of their videos.
Growing Brave’s User Base
The monthly BAT giveaway was announced along with updated user statistics collected by the Brave Software team.
As of mid-2018, there are 2.7 million active Brave users. Each month, they donate to over 16,000 registered creators across YouTube, Twitch, and other online publications. Brave’s referral program provides a secondary source of income for creators and has over 7,700 active participants.
In addition to increasing BAT grants, Brave Software has also taken increased measures to prevent payment fraud. The team recently applied detection models to watch for suspicious activity, a valuable first step in automating the micro-donations process from end to end.
Tokens for these giveaways are sourced from Brave’s BAT User Growth Pool (UGP). The fund was established in May 2017 prior to the token’s ICO, a sale that brought in over $35 million in less than 30 seconds.
The UGP currently holds over 300 million tokens set aside as an incentive to attract users to join the Brave platform. The team anticipates distributing promotional BAT on a monthly basis to help stimulate the donations economy. A US$5 equivalent was set at the time of the announcement, though Brave Software mentions that some variations may occur.
Tokens released in these grants are deposited directly into the Brave Payments wallet and can only be used to donate to content creators. In addition to the new monthly promotion, Brave ran a similar one-time $1 million BAT giveaway in early 2018.
Building a Better Web
BAT and the Brave browser are an example of blockchain technology done right. The system addresses a specific problem, one that affects both content creators and casual web users alike.
Content creators are often at the mercy of third parties when it comes to monetizing their content. They also struggle to meet guidelines set up by their platform of choice, often handing over a large percentage of their earnings in the process.
BAT circumvents these problems by creating a direct line between consumers and creators. It’s decentralized, anonymous, and carries practically no fees.
Most importantly, BAT payments are intuitive. No knowledge of cryptocurrencies or blockchain technology is required. Users set a monthly funding deposit from their browser, then use the internet as normal. It’s an invisible replacement for online advertisements, and it helps keep web creators in business.