Yesterday, Brave, the company co-founded by ex-Mozilla CEO, Brendan Eich, launched version 1.0 of its browser for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS. In a browser market where users have to compromise on their privacy, Brave is positioning itself as a fast option that preserves users’ privacy with strong default settings, as well as a crypto currency-centric private ads and payment platform that allows users to reward content creators.
“Surveillance capitalism has plagued the Web for far too long and we’ve reached a critical inflection point where privacy-by-default is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have. Users, advertisers, and publishers have finally had enough, and Brave is the answer. Brave 1.0 is the browser reimagined, transforming the Web to put users first with a private, browser-based ads and payment platform. With Brave, the Web can be a rewarding experience for all, without users paying with their privacy.” said Brendan Eich, co-founder and CEO of Brave Software.
“Either we all accept the $330 billion ad-tech industry treating us as their products, exploiting our data, piling on more data breaches and privacy scandals, and starving publishers of revenue; or we reject the surveillance economy and replace it with something better that works for everyone. That’s the inspiration behind Brave,” he added.
The company also announced last month that Brave has about 8 million monthly active users. Brave offers a privacy-first approach to its users that natively blocks trackers, invasive ads, and device fingerprinting. This leads to substantial improvements in speed, privacy, security, performance, and battery life.
It has default settings to block phishing, malware, and malvertising. Embedded plugins, which have proven to be an ongoing security risk, are disabled by default in Brave. Browsing data always stays private and on the user’s device, which means Brave will never see or store the data on its servers or sell user data to third-parties.
Brave 1.0 key features
Additionally Brave 1.0 offers some unique features to its users:
- Brave Rewards program to fund open web – By activating Brave Reward, users can support their favorite publishers and content creators and integrate Brave wallet on both desktop and mobile. This feature allows users to send Basic Attention Tokens (BAT) as tips for great content, either directly as they browse or by defaulting to recurring monthly payments to continuously support websites you visit frequently. There are over 300,000 verified websites on-boarded on Brave for this program including The Washington Post, The Guardian, Wikipedia, YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, GitHub and more.
- Brave Ads compensate users for their attention – Brave has a new blockchain-based advertising model that enables privacy and gives 70% of its revenue share in the form of Basic Attention Tokens (BAT) to users who view the Brave ads. These ads are a part of private ad network and Brave Rewards program. It allows users to opt-in to view relevant privacy-preserving ads in exchange for earning BAT. When users opt into Brave Rewards, Brave ads are enabled by default. As per the content viewed by a user, ad matching happens directly on the user’s device, so their data is never sent to anyone, and they see rewarding ads without mass surveillance. Users can also transfer their earned BAT from the wallet and convert into digital assets and fiat currencies, but they need to complete the verification process with Uphold, a digital money platform.
- Brave Shields for automatic ad and tracker blocking – Brave Shields, this feature is enabled by default and is customizable from the address bar. It blocks invasive third-party ads, trackers, and autoplay videos immediately – without needing to install any additional programs.
On Hacker News, users have appreciated the way Brave browser operates and rewards its content consumers as well as the creators.
One of them has explained its functioning in detail, “I’ve been using Brave rewards, both as a user and a content maker. It’s really great, and I feel this may be a reasonable alternative to the invasive trackers+ads we have today.
For the uninitiated, Brave lets users opt-in to Brave rewards:
– You set your browser to reward content creators with Basic Attention Token (BAT). You set a budget (e.g. 10 BAT/month), and Brave distributes it the sites you use most, e.g. if you watch a particular YouTube channel 30% of your browsing time, it will send 30% of 10 BAT each month to that content creator.
– As a user, you can get paid in BAT. You tell Brave if you’re willing to see ads, and how often. If so, you get paid in BAT, which you can then distribute to content creators. Brave ads are different: rather than intrusive in-page ads, Brave ads show up as a notification in your operating system outside of the page. This prevents slow downs of the page, keeping your browsing focused, while still allowing support of content creators. And of course, Brave ads are optional and opt-in.”