Want to be paid for surfing the web? Brave believes you should be. “User attention being an indefinitely preyed upon good has led to ad blocking, which is reducing the funding which supports the free web,” Brave CEO Brendan Eich tells Crypto Insider. The CEO’s vision for the future internet includes an ads and tracker blocking browser, as well as a new way of monetizing user attention. For now, he fears “publishers will go out of business.”
Brave recently announced a new initiative – to be published on Github under an open-source license – which follows closely on the heels of its Bitcoin incorporating browser.
The company is designing a blockchain-based digital advertising platform based on the smart contract blockchain Ethereum. The token, called the Basic Attention Token (BAT), allows publishers, advertisers, and users to connect in a “more efficient, transparent and decentralized marketplace that reduces fraud, privacy violations, and malvertisements while increasing publisher revenue.”
The BAT is due to be released later this year. The idea for an Ethereum-based token has been on Brave’s roadmap for nearly two years, when Mr. Eich first met with Ethereum programmers in London.
“We aim to privately monitor and anonymously confirm user intent at the browser level, which allows for the development of rich metrics for user attention. Attention is measured as views of content and ads in real time, and only in the browser’s active tab. The Attention Value for the ad will be calculated based on incremental duration and pixels in view in proportion to relevant content prior to any direct engagement with an ad.” – Brave CEO, and Mozilla co-founder, Brendan Eich.
Brave plans to further develop its cost-per-action models as the new system develops. The BAT, said by Brave to be backed by user attention or focused mental engagement, will be made available via crowdsale later this year. The tokens will be designed to be exchanged in a secure, private, and anonymous advertising system based on the Brave browser and its mobile application.
“Presently, publishers are paid by monetizing attention via a complex network of intermediary players through ad networks and other such tools,” writes Brave announcing the token. “With the onslaught of parasitic actors, publishers are getting very little revenue.”
Should Brave browser users decide to receive advertising, their attention will be monitored by the Brave browser, but not tracked, says Mr. Eich. Publishers will be rewarded accordingly with BATs, 70 percent of which are planned to be sold by Brave to investors before the system is live.
Before the company could begin work on its Ethereum-based token, it first built the Brave browser and created a micro-donations feature based on Bitcoin.
“We started with Bitcoin because it was the most robust digital currency,” explains Mr. Eich. “Bitcoin is the mature digital currency.”
Bitcoin was useful to Brave for its multi-signature compatibility, necessary for the brower’s donation-based content monetization system. “While we started with Bitcoin due to its maturity and robustness, we turned to Ethereum for its smart contracts,” says Mr. Eich. Brave is also keeping its eye on Zcash, which has a token system in its roadmap.
The CEO likes the token-based systems because he believes it will offer users a “fair deal” and prevent them from needing to be surveilled and tracked by malware to monetize web content.
“Our thinking is along the lines of basic income guarantee thinking,” Mr. Eich says about BAT. “So, we want to re-monetize user attention. We want to include users in a token-based value exchange in a decentralized ecosystem where user attention is not assumed to be free and infinite and which publishers can trade in and ultimately abuse.”
Images from Pexels and Brave.