Basic Attention Token

  • Cryptoasset Report
  • November 16, 2018

Within the Brave browser’s open-source, blockchain-based ecosystem, the Basic Attention Token allows users to monetize their attention and personal information and offers digital advertisers a more efficient communication platform.

Overview

Designed by Brendan Eich, the creator of the Mozilla Firefox browser and the Javascript programming language, the Brave Browser operates in both desktop and mobile environments, blocking 3rd party advertisements and malware yet allowing users to earn BAT tokens by engaging with a smaller number of more effectively targeted advertisements. Publishers may receive increased revenue because advertisers can pay more for better-targeted advertisements while reducing payments for poorly-allocated or blocked advertising. Brave has partnered with multiple service providers to boost engagement from end-users and advertisers.

Protocol Details

In Brave’s view, current data acquisition practices disregard individuals’ privacy in pursuit of acquiring the maximum amount of commercially valuable information. Brave’s approaches to advertising seek to reaffirm the value of privacy. For this reason, Brave anonymizes the routes and transaction records through which Brave users can support content publishers (advertisers). Whilst browsing the web with Brave, a user’s attention—operationalized in terms of time spent on pages—is monitored and recorded privately on their device. Machine learning algorithms run locally to facilitate better-targeted advertisements. Users who intend to support quality content creators can still do so via an automated solution: users can designate a monthly reward for quality content creation, which is distributed amongst content providers based on the individual’s browsing history. Unlike many other browsers, that often default to using insecure connections, the Brave browser uses HTTPS whenever possible to encrypt communications as well as allowing users to block scripts, cookies, cross-site trackers, plugins, phishing, and malware. Brave maintains these privacy guarantees while also providing higher performance in the form of faster loading times relative to other browsers such as Chrome. The competitive landscape includes a number of novel attempts to remunerate audiences for taking the time to observe advertisements, such as AdEx.

Asset Details

The Brave browser has supported payments in the Basic Attention Token since May 2018. Prior versions utilized Bitcoin as a means of payment within the ecosystem, with the pivot occurring due to Bitcoin scalability concerns and the desired flexibility to seed an initial BAT ecosystem through user and developer growth pools. Brave has offered a variety of grants and promotions to individual content creators in 2018. BAT is an ERC20 payment token with an embedded wallet in the Brave browser, giving users the ability to earn for viewing ads, automatically contribute a monthly allowance to whitelisted websites in proportion to the time spent, and directly tip content creators. A total of 1 billion BAT were offered in the May 2017 token sale, raising $35 million in under 30 seconds; an additional 500 million BAT was allocated to the user and developer growth pools. Additionally, the Brave project has received $7 million in investment from VCs including Founders Fund, Pantera Capital, and Digital Currency Group. BAT was listed on leading exchange Coinbase in November 2018, becoming the second ERC20 token to be listed on the exchange.