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Blockchain browser Brave makes push to reward content makers and YouTubers

Brave, the blockchain-based browser initiative that raised $35 million in an ICO earlier this year, is making its first major move to build an ecosystem that rewards publishers in a new kind of way. One of the selling points of Brave is that it uses its token (BAT, Basic Attention Token) to disrupt the current financial norms of online publishing. The company wants to reward users for browsing the web, while also helping to make advertising less intrusive and more relevant. In another important focus, it wants to use BAT to let readers reward content makers whose websites they visit. Thats where its new push this week is focused on. Brave is giving its users a total of 300,000 BAT tokens — worth around $60,000 — over the next 30 days. Users typically earn tokens by using Brave, but this promotion will put additional credit in there, which can then be given directly to publishers or YouTube channel operators. Thats a fairly major move given that Brave claims to have one million monthly users and, on the publisher side, over 1,100 websites and 600 YouTube channels as content partners. YouTube was added to the platform last month. A notification offering the token pushUsers will get a maximum of $5 in BAT over the next 30 days — or until the token allocated is reached — which will be added to their Brave payment wallet. That wallet can be used to tip websites that they visit based on time spent on the site. The default, for example, allocates the total tip jar based on the percentage of time that a Brave user has spent on Brave-verified websites and YouTube channels. It can be overridden, however, to allow a user to tip whatever they like to whichever website they like. Brave Payments default distributes a users wallet based on time spent on Brave-verified websitesIn effect, Brave is boosting the wallets of its users with this offer giving them greater potential to tip their favorite content creators, who can convert the BAT into fiat currency. It is one of many steps toward dealing users back in for a fair deal, and dealing out the toxic middle players, Brave CEO Brendan Eich, who was formerly in charge of Mozilla, told TechCrunch in a statement. We are moving from good-will contributions to user grants to private ads that share the bulk of the gross ad revenue with the user, without any targeting or tracking by remote parties (including Brave), he added. Unlike many other ICO projects, Brave has a product in the market in the form of its browser. The full scope of the project will take some time to roll out, however, with payment options and YouTube added over the last two months, for example. But it is certainly at a more advanced stage than the majority of projects that have raised funding via a token sale. Prior to its ICO, Brave had raised $6 million in traditional venture capital funding.

Ad-blocking browser Brave courts new users with free crypto tokens

Brave Software, the startup that famously raised a $35 million ICO in 30 seconds back in June, is giving away 300,000 free crypto tokens starting today in a bid to lure new users to its ad-blocking browser. Recipients will each get about $5 worth of tokens on a first come, first served basis, the company says. The tokens can be used to reward publishers the user likes; they have no value outside of the platform itself and cant be exchanged for other cryptocurrencies. Any tokens that arent used within 90 days will revert back to the companys User Growth Pool, a fund of 300 million tokens set aside to grow a user base for the nascent browser. The San Francisco-based company, which debuted in January 2016, says it currently has close to one million monthly active users. Braves BAT tokens (basic attention tokens) are an attempt to solve the slow load times, annoyance, and invasion of privacy internet users experience on ad-serving browsers. Users get an ad-free experience on the Brave browser, and in exchange theyre expected to help compensate publishers for their content by purchasing and distributing BAT tokens to their favorite content sites and YouTube creators. Brave has built a degree of fairness into the process: Once a user enables Brave Payments, the Brave browser automatically and anonymously keeps track of the publisher sites each user visits. The more times that a user visits a site, the larger the proportion of the users monthly contribution is earmarked for that publisher. By taking ads out of the web browsing experience, Brave says it speeds page load times by anywhere from 2 to 8.7 times depending on the site. It also claims to save mobile users data charges related to downloading ads. The average mobile browser user pays as much as $23 a month in data charges to download ads and trackers — thats $276 a year, according to the companys website. With Brave, users avoid those charges. Brave also promises higher security for users by blocking the download of malware, ransomware, and spyware. The company will distribute the promotional BAT tokens over the next 30 days or until it reaches the 300,000 token cap. To receive tokens, users must have the latest version of the browser ( 0.19.105). All users are eligible to receive the free tokens, including: Recipients will receive a notification in their browser. Publishers dont need to take any upfront action to participate in Braves token-payment plan. The company says it will email the webmaster and registered domain owner of any content site that has accrued the equivalent of $100 in BAT tokens to help them collect their cash. When asked how much Brave has paid out to publishers to date, the company said it is not yet releasing that figure but will do so once Brave Payments has exited beta testing. Brave got off to a rocky start with publishers but now appears to be making headway in winning them over. We are discussing deals with top US and UK publishers who see the problems of the Google/Facebook duopoly as well as the inefficient, fraud-plagued ad tech Lumascape,' Brave cofounder and CEO Brendan Eich told VentureBeat. Over 1,100 sites have verified via Brave Publishers to receive contributions, as have over 600 YouTubers since we announced support for them in November. However, with users able to enjoy ad-free browsing on the Brave browser regardless of whether they donate BAT to publishers, Brave may still have work ahead to make the economics of its platform viable. We will be adding opt-in BAT ads placed anonymously in a user-private channel next year, said Eich. Those ads will share 70 percent of the gross revenue with users. We expect with BAT ads, many users will opt in for the automatic revenue share redistribution to their favorite creators. Eich was formerly CEO of Mozilla, maker of the open-source Firefox web browser. In addition to its $35 million ICO in June, Brave has raised $7 million from investors in angel and seed rounds. Investors include Founders Funds FF Angel, Propel Venture Partners, Pantera Capital, Foundation Capital, and Digital Currency Group. [ Updated 1:54pm 12/6/2017 to remove reference to a $2.5 million seed round in Nov. 2017; that round was actually closed in Nov. 2015.]