Brave, the company founded by ex-Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich after joining the organization in 2014, today released version 1.0 of the browser for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS. In a browser market where users are spoiled for choice, Brave is positioning itself as a quick alternative that preserves users' privacy with strong default settings, as well as a cryptocurrency-centric private ad and payment platform that allows users to reward content creators.
As the company announced last month, it now has about 8 million active users each month. Its Brave Rewards program, which requires opt-in from users and publishers, currently has about 300,000 publishers on board. Most of these are users with small follow-ups on YouTube and Twitter, but major publishers such as Wikipedia, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Slate and LA Times are also part of the ecosystem. Using this system, which not all publishers will like, the browser will display a small number of ads as a notification in its own private ads tab, based on the user's browsing habits. Users then get 70 percent of what advertisers spend on ads, while Brave holds 30 percent.
When users view these ads, they begin to earn Basic Attention Tokens (BAT), the Braves cryptocurrency, which they can retain or give to publishers. In the early days, Brave actually started with Bitcoin as the currency for this, but as Eich noted, it quickly became too expensive (and since the price went up, users wanted to keep Bitcoin instead of donating it). [1
Brave also comes with a built-in ad blocks that are probably among the most effective in the industry, as well as comprehensive anti-tracking features. "Everyone is bothered by the feeling of being tracked and bothered by bad ads," Eich said. “But I think advertising aesthetics are not the problem. The tracking and the cost of tracking are manifold. There is load time on the page, and the radio runs to load the tracking scripts that load the other scripts that load the scripts that load the ads and that also drain your battery. along with anti-tracking technology and an ad blocking approach that goes beyond industry standard block lists and also uses machine learning to identify additional blocking rules.
For those users who really want to remain anonymous online, Brave also has a private browsing mode, just like any other browser, but with the added twist you can also open a private session through the Tor network, which will make it very difficult for most companies to identify you.
At its core, Brave is simply a fast, expandable chrome-based browser. It is also what the company thinks will sell it to users. "How to get users, […] I think speed is the first to work across the largest number of users. But you can't just let it go fast. You want all your benefits tied up in a pretty knot, and that's what we've done, "he said. For Modig, speed and protection from ads / tracking are obviously interconnected, and all the other benefits are linked to it.
Looking beyond version 1.0, the Brave team plans to implement better synchronization, with support for tab and story syncing. Brave also aims to make participation in Brave Rewards an experience with much lower friction for the user. In the first few days, before it was on Android, the opt-in rate was around 40 percent, Eich said, and the team wants to get it back to it.
If you want to try Brave, you can download it here.