Founding and Vision
To address these issues Eich and Bondy outlined a new vision for digital advertising. With Brave they aim to fix the digital advertising industry through disintermediating middlemen, enhancing user privacy, and distributing economic value more equitably across the digital advertising ecosystem.
In January 2016, Brave launched the first version of Brave with a built in ad-blocking feature. With Brave user's browsing data is kept private, with third party trackers being automatically blocked. By August 2016, the company had received at more than $7 million in funding from prominent venture firms, including Peter Thiel's Founders Fund, Propel Venture Partners, Pantera Capital, Foundation Capital, and the Digital Currency Group.
Basic Attention Token Launch
The Brave browser's tipping feature initially supported Bitcoin; however, due to concerns over Bitcoin's scalability, the project pivoted to a new cryptocurrency that could meet the needs of the burgeoning Brave ecosystem. In a blog post released in March 2017 Brave announced a new blockchain-based digital advertising platform using an innovative Ethereum-based utility token called Basic Attention Token (BAT).
Just months after announcing the project, in May 2017, Brave launched BAT, selling 1 billion tokens in an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), raising more than $35 million in just 30 minutes. The company set aside the remaining 500 million of the 1.5 billion total token supply for a user growth pool and development team pool. In early December 2017, the company disbursed the first round of its user growth pool grants to new users on a first-come first-served basis.
Since April 2019, Brave users can opt in to Brave Rewards, which sends BAT micropayments to websites and content creators. Users receive 70% of the ad revenue share as a reward for their attention, which they can auto-contribute to publishers under default settings. Brave can automatically distribute users' contributions based on how much time they spend on sites, or distribute users' contributions according to their choosing.
In November 2019 Brave launched Brave 1.0, offering Brave Rewards to fund the open web, Brave Ads to compensate users for their attention, and Brave Shields to block ads and trackers. Brave now hosts more than 29 million monthly active users (MAUs). As of February 2021, over 1,000,000 publishers were registered on Brave.
Basic Attention Token is a blockchain-based digital advertising and rewards platform. The BAT token is an ERC-20 token used as a means of payment within the BAT ecosystem including the Brave browser. BAT eliminates the need for third-party tracking and middlemen by matching and delivering ads client-side, locally, and on-device.
Advertisers transact in BAT tokens to purchase advertising space within the BAT Ads network. Advertisers may also pay in fiat, which is then exchanged for BAT behind the scenes. Advertisers can use a self-serve ad manager or Brave's managed account services to launch their campaigns. Publishers and content creators receive tips from users and ad revenue (a percentage of advertisers' spend) in BAT. Users earn BAT for opting into Brave Ads.
In an effort to preserve privacy, the Brave browser uses local, on-device machine learning algorithms to match ads to the user's interests. When a match is made, the Brave browser delivers targeted ads to users either as system notifications or advertisements on publisher's sites. Users receive 70% of the BAT rewards for user ads, which appear as system notifications, and 15% for Publisher-Integrated Ads, which appear with publisher content.
The Brave browser is an open-source, privacy-focused, web browser that blocks third-party ads, trackers, and mining scripts by default, and offers privacy features such as Tor-browsing. The Brave browser integrates the BAT platform through a feature called Brave Rewards, which includes Brave Ads, Tipping, and Auto-Contribute. The Brave browser is available on both mobile and desktop including Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Linux devices.
Although Brave is currently the only browser supporting BAT, the Brave team plans to release a BAT SDK that will allow developers to integrate BAT token functionality into their own applications, allowing developers to monetize their apps and reward their userbase.