Updated Feb 09 2021
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The Basic Attention Token (BAT) is an innovative utility token built on the Ethereum platform that powers Brave Web Browser, a project built to ensure that browsing the internet could be done with privacy. Users get rewarded with BAT Tokens for the attention they give to certain ads while publishers and creators earn ad revenue and tips.
In the digital world, it’s not strange for users to see ads of products each time we visit a website or when we use most apps and social networks which do not have a premium version. Nonetheless, in many cases the ads overwhelmed us; angering us while we tried to visit any page. Adding to this, a lot of malware infiltrates our devices through those same uncurated ads and each year it seems to be getting worse; upsetting us even more.
The worst part of this is that in many cases advertisers store our personal data without our consent, so we end up feeling repulsion towards any kind of ad we see and tend to ignore it.
You would think the publishers who paid for those ads benefit enormously from every click you make, didn’t you? The sad truth is that the big winners of the advertising revenue are companies like Google or Facebook, who take most of the profit while driving down the price of information.
As platforms monopolize user information also advertisers suffer. All the data they use to study their market (targeting methods, information collected by cookies about the efficiency of the ad) is also being monetized by the same giants.
Basically, BAT is a blockchain-based token, built on the Ethereum platform that is used to measure consumer’s time and attention on websites using the Brave Browser.
This token can be exchanged between the three parts of the equation we were talking previously (users, publishers, advertisers), and the final goal of its use is the following:
And for everyone? Avoiding fraud and malware. Sounds pretty good, isn’t it?
The Basic Attention Token (BAT) is the currency that powers all the ecosystem behind Brave Browser. Users, publishers and advertisers perform transactions with the Token to either be rewarded for their attention, creativity or effective ad placement costs.
One of the main problems for advertisers in their studies of the “ad effect” itself is that, due to the management of the generated data by big browsers (Google) or social networking companies (Facebook), the data they get back in return does not help them enough to study on a proper basis if the publicity is (a) being attractive to the user, (b) is useful for the user, and (c) the user actually is engaged by it.
Without all this data, advertisers cannot improve their marketing strategies causing them to lose credibility while users continue to watch advertisements they didn’t want to see, or simply did not even watch as most people use ad blockers nowadays.
BAT allows advertisers to improve their returns as they have better access to performance metrics and this helps them improve their efficiency on advertising expenses.
On the other hand, the advantage for the publishers is that BAT diminishes dramatically the presence of malware on ads; and due to the elimination of a third platform which benefits from the advertising revenue, the later one goes straight to the company.
For users, the Ethereum-based token guarantees that their information stays on their devices, giving them privacy and a drastic reduction of the amount of ads they see while browsing, also the ads they’ll see are better targeted.
Unlike Bitcoin, ETH or other cryptocurrencies, BAT is a utility token. The Basic Attention Token can be defined more accurately as a value of exchange inside the Brave Browser, which measures the attention per se. In other words, the token is a tool to measure, reward, track and sell the user's attention. It is used on a three-wheel basis: The publishers get “paid” by the advertisers, basically buying their tokens and exchanging them with “real-world” money; giving the first ones the metrics we talked previously, and assuring that the users will see the ad. On the other hand, the users get “rewarded” for viewing ads (besides seeing less advertisements), and they can use their BATs on the Brave platform, buying services or added-value content that Brave browser offers.
Brave is a web browser, just as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge or Mozilla Firefox. It’s built using chromium, the open source software behind Google Chrome.
The interesting part of the project is the why behind the creation of Brave: First, to protect user’s data privacy, and second, to work on the reduction of bad, useless and potentially dangerous advertisements, giving the user a faster service and saving at the same time their data usage. Adding to this, and unlike other browsers. It was launched in 2016 and their ICO (initial coin offering) managed to bring $35 million dollars in a few minutes.
Now, why is this project so interesting for users (besides getting rewarded for your attention)? First, as the browser was built using Chromium, the Google open-code project where Google Chrome was built in first place, you can use almost all the extensions and programs that run on Google Chrome also on Brave. Secondly, and possibly the most interesting for you, the BAT. Normally, one of the main reasons why a web page can run slow on a browser are ad placements, because they:
How can Brave Browser eliminate all of this?
Simple: By default, they block ads and website trackers (the infamous cookies); and reward you through BAT if you accept to watch ads on a certain basis of time. As it eliminates almost all the advertising images and scripts that you tend to see each time you open a web page, you will notice that pages tend to load increasingly faster (Up to twice as fast on a PC and eight times faster on mobile devices).
The principle of how this works is the following: Once you download the browser for the first time, it will show you on the right screen the amount of tokens you have collected, generally starting with zero. They are generally credited to the Upload wallet. Next, the security: The browser works with HTTPS Everywhere, so it forces every site you visit to use safe connections and warns you whenever you go into a page which does not use one. On the other hand, the ad blocker is an excellent tool too, as it blocks all the malware and web trackers that can use an advertising spot to introduce themselves in your devices. Finally, right on the browsing bar you can activate several security tools to give you more control of what you give of your data, such as following protection, blocking device tracking or cookies, and forcing pages to secure https connections.
As the Brave Browser blocks all the image and most of the script ads by default, you may think at this point “Ok, and how is that the users and publishers earn money with this?”. First, as you start to use the browser, you’ll get free tokens each month; as part of the tokens the developers hold on the User Growth Center to help engage new users. Secondly, when you open the browser, you can activate the option to receive awards for watching ads using BAT. How? When you open the browser for the first time, you’ll see that on the right side of the Settings bar there’s an option called Brave Rewards. Once you open it, you will see the instructions to activate the service, and once you do it, it is only a matter of using the browser normally; just as you use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Edge.
Also, you can set a monthly payment, titled Automatic Contribution, which can be:
Adding to this, Brave sometimes entices random users by rewarding them with tokens, as a lottery; and in some opportunities, the browser sends to all its users some bonuses; just as in 2016 and 2018. Don’t count specifically on them, but neither keep them out of picture.
And what if you are a publisher? In that case, you need to register on Brave as a publisher, and after that you will be able to offer your services and get rewarded when users visit your page. Adding to this, you can offer premium products to the users, and they pay you with BAT to access them; and the advertisers “pay” you to set ads on your pages and platforms, in exchange for the metrics they can obtain from the app.
Now, how to use the Basic Attention Token? As this is not a cryptocurrency, you cannot use it so freely as if you have Bitcoins or Ethereum or any other coin. Ideally, the BAT is used inside Brave to access premium services or to tip creators or publishers, it’s not meant to be used as a fiat currency to purchase goods or services, yet you can also exchange your tokens for “real-life” money, as Brave is integrated with Uphold ( a digital currency exchange, wallet), amongst others.
BAT is one of the very few tokens that have a solid use case for a real world problem. Brave browser is a step forward in privacy and security for the end users, also for advertisers represent a major breakthrough in high quality information while cutting the middleman out of the equation.
As investors we need to focus on whether something has real value or not. There are thousands of Tokens out there with very complicated projects to understand that in the end generate no value at all for society.
From the speculators point of view such a token like BAT is not attractive as it’s not meant to experience absurd gains in short periods of time, it’s just an internal currency with a solid use case.
For fundamentalists who like to believe in projects that truly bring value, the Basic Attention Token can be a potentially good project to look into.