Brave browser review, 5.5 million people have now switched over
With 5.5 million users Brave browser is getting something right. Its privacy-focused browser blocks advertising then uses its native BAT token, to pay users for viewing content.
Over recent years we have become more and more familiar with the idea that, ‘If you’re not paying for the product, it’s because you’re the product’. Web services like email and social media are free to access, but there’s a hidden price: your data. More broadly, this is how websites are monetised and how the web operates. Well, that’s capitalism, you might think. Companies have got to make their money somehow.
The problem is in the sheer scale of data being collected from users, often without their full understanding or consent. Web users are catching on, with Ad Blockers becoming more and more popular. These pieces of software do more than prevent intrusive and annoying adverts being displayed: they prevent the insidious processes running in the background that aggressively harvest as much personal information as they can find. Ads are not only distracting: they consume bandwidth and slow your browsing experience.
Brave is a Chromium-based web browser designed to fix this problem. It’s also integrated with BAT, a new (and optional) model for web advertising that benefits users by paying them for their attention – BAT stands for Basic Attention Token.
Brave is a great browser, and there are immediate and obvious benefits of speed and privacy. One is the result of the other: while Brave is based on Chromium and doesn’t fundamentally update it, it natively blocks a lot of ads, reducing the amount of bandwidth they use to appear on your screen and send data back to Surveillance HQ. If you want to step up your privacy, you can open a Private window with integrated Tor. Brave states: ‘Brave never remembers what you do in a Private Window. With Tor, your browsing is also hidden from your ISP or employer, and your IP address is hidden from the sites you visit.’ Just behave yourself and use your privacy wisely.
Easy set up
Brave is a joy to work with. Downloading it and setting it up is virtually seamless, since it imports all the details you want it to from your existing browser – bookmarks, passwords, forms etc. That means there’s no friction in switching: you barely notice you’re using a different browser, except that there are gaps where there would have been ads before. There are occasionally one or two glitches, like it not wanting to play embedded video on certain sites, but that is far from being a deal breaker.
As far as its token model goes, BAT is unproven since it’s still just getting started. However, their updates – and updates from the likes of Coinbase – show they are attracting major partners and building a huge network for BAT (they already have a long-standing partnership with Uphold). The idea is that users will be rewarded for watching ads, should they wish to – treating them as an active part in the publisher’s process, rather than as passive consumers to be mined for data. With the rapid growth in Brave’s userbase, and the quality of their software, we’re very interested to see what will happen to demand for BAT when the programme goes fully online and starts to scale.
In summary, Brave is great software, and worth using in its own right. It is genuinely excellent, and will have widespread appeal outside of crypto simply because it does its job so well. If there’s one initiative that could have cross-over appeal into the mainstream, this is it.
Disclaimer: this is not investment advice. The author holds BAT.