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An update on Brave and the outlook for BAT

Brave made headlines back in 2017 with an ICO that raised $30 million in just 30 seconds, but since then the team has kept busy, rolling out new features and expanding their customer base.

As a quick recap, the company was founded by Brian Bondy and Brendan Eich, the co-founder of Mozilla. Brave is a privacy-focused browser that protects you from online tracking. When you’re using Brave, ads and trackers are blocked by default which makes for a better experience in terms of privacy but also makes navigating faster and smoother as loading times are shorter.

Of course, that upsets the way most information-based websites make money, but Brave has answer to that: Basic Attention Token (BAT).

What is BAT?

With ERC20 token BAT, the Brave team is creating a new digital advertising economy where money flows directly between publishers, advertisers, and consumers. Directly from the browser, you can activate the Brave Payments wallet to join this reinvented digital ad experience. You can decide the number of ads you will see per hour, from 0 to 5. These will be displayed on your screen as pop-up notifications, and as a reward you collect tiny fractions of BAT.

One thing you can do with BAT is pay content creators with BAT either as a tip, or as an alternative way to get around paywalls.

Brave and BAT will only take off when lots of sites and consumers understand the value it is offering: direct ad revenue for publishers, and letting users earn money by giving their attention to a site. Let’s see how it’s doing on the user adoption front.

Brave and BAT uptake

According to BatGrowth, over 730K publishers and content creators participate in the new Brave economy. The majority are YouTube publishers at 390K, followed by Twitter at 90K and web, Twitch, and Reddit trailing at the 60K mark. Interestingly, high-quality video streaming site Vimeo has only recently surged in Brave Publishers, but the sudden uptick is certainly worth keeping an eye on as it could become a sizeable publisher community rivalling YouTube.

In a June statement, Brave announced the browser’s monthly active users reached 15.4 million, a growth of 50% since the Brave 1.0 launch in November 2019. Daily active users reached 5.3 million by the end of May 2020, up from 2 million users a year before that. The privacy-centered Brave Ads brought in 1530 campaigns since their launch last year with brands including PayPal, Logitech, Lenovo, Evernote, Belkin, Chipotle and Verizon.

However, in a live Twitter stream with Binance’s CZ, co-founder Brendan Eich admitted that only about 12.32% of Brave Browser users actually use BAT frequently and actively to receive rewards and pay it forward. It seems for now most users are still drawn by the built-in privacy features more so than the new advertising model championed by the Brave team. Popular podcaster Joe Rogan seemed to confirm that when he revealed that he is an avid Brave user mostly for the privacy features which he praised together with privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo.

As a company, Brave recently made the headlines as they announced joining the Open Payments Coalition to launch universal payments system PayID together with Ripple, Huobi BitGo, CipherTrace, Bitstamp, Blockchain.com and many others. The new payment system will allow users to send and receive money anywhere in the world across any payment network in real time without requiring bank accounts, international codes, routing numbers or SWIFT IDs.

But it hasn’t all been sunshine, rainbows and unicorns for Brave. Just recently, Brave came under fire for automatically filling an affiliate link into its address bar when users were typing in Binance. Once the situation got serious traction on Crypto Twitter, Brendan Eich admitted it was a mistake and pledged it would soon be corrected. In a statement he added: “The autocomplete default was inspired by search query clientid attribution that all browsers do, but unlike keyword queries, a typed-in URL should go to the domain named, without any additions. Sorry for this mistake — we are clearly not perfect, but we correct course quickly”.

Altogether, this has left most crypto traders bullish with strong Buy indicators for adding BAT to the portfolio. The token currently has a market cap of $388 million, with $101 million in trading volume over the past 24 hours. Trading at $0.2623, BAT has been making some advances in the last few months, with a 75% jump between the 90-day low of $0.135892 and high at $0.297972. Just in the last 7 days BAT bulls pushed the market up by 7%. BAT crypto whales have been gulping up tokens to the tune of 6% of total supply (1.5bn) in just 5 days.

What’s next for BAT

Brave is on a path to create a better digital experience for both publishers, content creators and consumers. Already, it’s able to boast superior performance numbers such as a 9% click-through rate (CTR) compared to the industry average of 2%. But it’s facing up to some of the biggest most powerful companies of our times.

Facebook and Google are the biggest ad platforms today, taking huge cuts of ad revenue by clipping the ticket on both sides of the trade in the very profitable position of middleman. Publishers and advertisers may increasingly be willing to experiment with what Brave can do as a way to protect their ad revenues. Plus, if doing so meets the changing requirements and expectations of consumers who want more control over their own data, then that’s double the momentum for Brave.

Taking on these established digital monoliths is not going to be an easy task so they will need all the momentum they can get to achieve their mission.

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