Basic Attention Token explained

The BAT token is the exchange unit between advertisers, publishers and users of the Basic Attention Token network. The BAT platform offers blockchain-based digital advertisements and services. Users can use the BAT token as a payment method for services on the network. BAT uses the specialized web browser Brave, which by the way has already gained quite a lot of popularity. You can signup at brave.com and take a look.

Advertisers can use the BAT token to pay for their ads, but an even more important feature of the platform is that users viewing these ads can earn tokens in return. The users can then decide to keep these tokens themselves or to pass them on to the content makers they choose. By allowing the user to be part of the network in this way, the Brave browser becomes a unique platform with the potential to disrupt the entire digital advertising industry.

Who is the creator of BAT?

Brave Software, the company behind Basic Attention Token, was founded in 2015 by two men with a background in the IT world. The best known of the two is Brendan Eich, who is known in his field as the inventor of JavaScript. This programming language is used worldwide today and taught in high schools. The other Brave founder is Brian R. Bondy, a Canadian mathematician, and IT specialist. Before they started developing Brave together, they worked for many years at well-known companies in the sector. Both Eich and Bondy were employed by Mozilla, the company that developed the (open source) Firefox browser.

However, their joint project had to be completely different. The two saw that users on the internet are increasingly seen as a product. Browsers want to earn as much money as possible from advertisements and use data from users to achieve that. This has created mechanisms that can collect large amounts of information about a user.

Internet privacy has, therefore, become an increasingly important topic in recent years. Large companies, including Facebook, have already been fined several times because they did not handle the privacy and data of users with care. However, there is another problem with the current revenue model of the internet: users don’t get a share of the pie with those online advertisements. Eich and Bondy therefore came up with the Brave browser, with the Basic Attention Token as an essential part. But what makes this system better, and why does it work with a cryptocurrency?

Why BAT?

Basic Attention Token is created with the idea to be the currency of a renewed online advertising market. According to the inventors of BAT (and Brave), the current model for internet advertisements is outdated and not adapted enough to the interests of users. This gives internet users many irrelevant advertisements, numerous pop-ups and endless repetition of the same advertisements. This is not only annoying for people online, but also an inefficient model for companies. And there are many more problems with the current online advertising world.

Ads make devices slower, shorten battery life, and use countless trackers at the expense of user privacy. Meanwhile, Google and Facebook are well on their way to gaining a monopoly in the advertising world: of every euro earned in online advertising, 73 cents go to Google or Facebook. Because of that dominant position, they largely determine which advertisements are shown and what the prices are.

This means that competition is dropping out and the total income from advertisements declines. Moreover, there are also more and more malware advertisements and fraud cases online, which generates billions in losses for users. Confidence in advertisements on the internet is, therefore, falling sharply. More than 600 million mobile devices use an ad-block service, with the result that a considerable part of the spending on advertisements is for nothing. In short, enough reasons to think about an alternative.

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Functionalities of BAT in the Brave browser

Brave users can, therefore, earn BAT tokens by viewing advertisements. The reward is entirely free for the user to spend. Someone can choose to send the earned BAT to another wallet address, for example, to securely store the tokens in a cold wallet. There is, however, a more interesting feature that turns the revenue model of the internet upside down.

The creators of the browser (and the token) have a vision for the internet of the future. According to them, it is a big problem that media, creators and artists cannot be paid directly by users. Within a short time, the internet has become the most important medium of billions of people. However, it is also still free, apart from services such as Netflix and Spotify, where creators are paid directly, but with income from subscriptions (Saas).

Eich and Bondy thought there should be another option: tipping. This allows users to send a reward to their favorite artist, Twitter channel, YouTube artist or website. With that income, they can, in turn, do better research, pay for better productions, or publish new music.

According to them, users are quite willing to pay for high-quality media content: this is evident from the success of, for example, Netflix. However, the problem is that a user often pays for products in which he or she is not interested. With Brave’s tipping system, that problem is solved: you can contribute to a specific tweet or video, or a specific page on a website. In the future, Eich and Bondy think, the internet will look like this: users pay a small fee for their content, and creators receive a direct income from it – no longer from cumbersome and annoying advertising models. Thus, BAT must become the digital currency for the online economy for the future: Attention to ads in exchange for BAT, BAT in exchange for internet content.

Privacy in Brave

Finally: privacy. We discussed earlier that this is an important issue in today’s online world. As companies do everything they can to make money, ‘user privacy’ often comes second. The more data, the more specific the pop-ups, the more income. Moreover, all that data is stored in the form of cookies, which means that you disclose huge amounts of information to internet companies. Brave, therefore, has an advertising model with built-in privacy measures. The browser collects data about the browsing behavior of a user while anonymizing the identity of the user. It is therefore unknown to the browser who has which search profile. Nevertheless, advertisements can be offered that are close to the interests of the specific user. As mentioned, Brave also has new algorithms that should give Brave a head start compared to other browsers. However, it must be said that the range of advertisements is still limited: many advertisers are still unfamiliar with the Brave and BAT model.

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