Blockchain Technology and the App to Upend an Industry
Brendan Eich is a man on a mission. Blockchain technology and decentralization have given Eich the weapons he needs to right the wrong he helped create twenty-five years ago. At a recent presentation at the Web Summit, Eich laid out his vision for a new model of digital advertising; one more efficient, one more secure, and most importantly, more private.
After seeing his creation being used to contribute to what he deems “surveillance capitalism,” Eich decided something needed to be done to empower users he sees as hostages.
“In order to have an effect in the Internet, you need to have either a large service business or a large enough browser share or client share. Some kind of app. So, after looking at Ethereum in particular, I created such an app—that’s Brave. It looks like a browser. It looks like Chrome on most operating systems, but it is much faster. In order to allow people to support websites, creators, we then created the BAT.”
By some measures, Brave is eight times faster than the competition. Why? privacy-by-default.
Eich wants to bring the benefits of the Internet back to users. And while ad blockers are a popular remedy, it is a game of cat and mouse.
“We’d like to make privacy the default, and we’d like this to be part of web standards. Because we see so much money going to advertising (so that people have free content), we’d like to reform it, tame it, put it into a user private setting where you’re not being tracked.”
A Brave New Decentralized Economy
Brave and the Basic Attention Token are built on the Ethereum blockchain and create a decentralized, circular economy where revenue is shared peer to peer. Advertisers will pay for user attention, and users will now benefit from choosing to view ads while supporting the media they consume. This new model, devoid of third parties, allows users and publishers to receive a higher share of revenue while supplying advertisers with valid metric data devoid of the fraud that costs the industry billions of dollars. Cryptocurrency makes this possible.
Large media companies such as “the Guardian, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and others” have already signed up to participate in this new model. But this system also benefits small, individual content creators.
“If you own a YouTube channel, or a Twitch game stream channel, or you (in short order) have a Reddit post or a tweet that someone likes, you’ll be able to get paid too.”
Not taking into account the advertising ecosystem, a multiplatform browser which already performs 8x faster than the competitors will be hard to resist – especially on mobile.
“[T]his is the wave of the future. I think this will sweep away centralized surveillance capitalism in the next 20 years, but it critically depends on the users.”
And users are beginning to take back their privacy and their data. If Eich’s vision and mission come to pass, Brave and the Basic Attention Token will be at the forefront of this new peer-to-peer advertising economy.
Solution Without a Problem?
Brave is not alone in trying to address the inefficiencies in the Digital Ad model. AdCoin offers similar solutions by utilizing cryptocurrency micropayments to combat fraud, Kind Ads creates an ecosystem where consumers profit from their data, while MetaX verifies the legitimacy of ad supported websites.
Brave may be the differentiating factor, but even Eich admits that BAT’s ultimate success depends on it being utilized outside the Brave ecosystem in other browsers and apps.
But the biggest challenge may be that Eich is trying to apply a solution to a problem that most are not concerned with. Many users seem content with the current state of affairs and are happy to sacrifice privacy for convenience. The challenges for Brave and BAT are similar to that of the cryptosphere as a whole. For some, the problem is clear. The solutions presented are attractive in the abstract but the useability of the technology still limits its growth to everyday users.
Downloading a browser is easy. Brave has had limited success in having its users take the next step to fund their favorite sites. As Brave Ads have yet to premier, the feasibility of the concept has yet to stand a real-world test.
Time will tell.
Disclosure: the author holds Basic Attention Tokens.
Image Source: “Flickr”
Carlos Acevedo is a writer and educator whose crypto-journey began not so much with Bitcoin but with Dogecoin in 2014. And while that involvement was not insanely profitable, the experience in fundamental best practices in using crypto became useful when the boom of 2017 occurred. Already in possession of a Coinbase account after hearing Andreas Antonopolous on the Joe Rogan Experience, he was primed to jump right in and has not looked back since. Studying cryptocurrency and exploring its potential, pitfalls, and possibilities has become a part of his daily life. You can find him on Twitter at @CLAcevedo222.