BAT, or the Basic Attention Token, is the native utility token of the Brave web browser built within the Ethereum ecosystem. Brendan Eich, the co-founder of Mozilla and Firefox, developed the Basic Attention Token to do away with several of the issues digital advertising is plagued with these days. The Brave browser attempts to improve the safety and efficiency of digital advertising with its underlying blockchain technology.
The free and open-source Brave web browser is built with Chromium – the open-source software behind Google Chrome, so you’ll have your preferred plug-ins and extensions working smoothly. As of November 2020, the Brave browser already had over 20 million monthly active users.
Before we get into the many problems with digital advertising as it is right now, and how the Brave browser and BAT plan to improve on that, let’s first take a quick look at the stakeholders in today’s digital marketing sector, shall we?
Who Are the Main Players in Digital Advertising?
There are three major participants in the digital advertising industry right now. Firstly, there’s you, the user. Users go online to perform various tasks, including consuming content like blog posts, movies/web series, and podcasts, shopping for various products or services, and communicating with family and friends.
Next, the publishers are websites that provide users with the content of their choice or allow them to perform tasks like online shopping or facetiming someone. Publishers can also be thought of as content creators.
Finally, there are the advertisers. Publishers sell space on their websites for various brands to display advertisements for their products. Now, these brands are the advertisers who hope that the users will see their ads while consuming the content of their choice and click on that ad to purchase the advertised product.
So when you see an ad before a YouTube video you want to watch, you are the user, the person whose video you clicked on is the publisher, and the brand who created that ad is the advertiser. As you are interested in the publisher’s content, the advertiser – who should be in the same niche as the publisher – would target you with their product.
And now, with that out of the way, let’s jump into some of the many issues with the current digital advertising model!
What Are the Main Problems with Digital Advertising as of Right Now?
Digital advertising is one of the most valuable sources of revenue for online businesses. There’s the search engine giant Google and the social media platforms like Facebook used by a major portion of the users coming online every day. This is exactly why advertisers congregate on social media and search engines like Google to find their target audience. In 2016, Google was the largest global ad revenue recipient, having taken in $79 billion. On the other hand, in the fourth quarter of 2020, Facebook’s total advertising revenue was $27.19 billion.
However, the existing model of digital marketing desperately needs a complete overhaul. In most cases, the ads are either not relevant to the users, or not appealing enough to them. Here are the basic problems with advertising today:
- Security Issues: Sometimes, along with the regular advertisements, websites also display malvertisements or malicious advertisements. These malvertisements give hackers access to any personal and sensitive information stored on your device if you click on them. Since it’s quite hard to differentiate malvertisements from regular advertisements, browsing proves to be quite risky for users.
- Speed: Since servers that deliver to you the content of your choice are also the ones collecting and delivering ads from advertising exchanges, the workload slows them down. On a smartphone, ads take up about five seconds to load completely.
- Privacy Issues: Publishers monitor the content you consume on various websites and sell data regarding your content preference – along with your computer’s IP address – to advertising exchanges so they can deliver targeted ads for you. The downside to this method is that when you give out your private data to a publisher to buy/subscribe to content, the advertising exchanges receive that information as well. This raises serious safety concerns. After all, you must have already heard of that time when Facebook was accused of selling users’ personal information to the British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. Analytica apparently used that very data to provide analytical assistance to the 2016 presidential campaigns of Ted Cruz and Donald Trump and meddle with the Brexit referendum that took place in the same year.
The current digital advertising model is also disadvantageous to both publishers and advertisers. For instance, publishers don’t get to have any profits if users have ad blockers on, and advertisers can’t find out if their ads are doing any good unless a user clicks on the displayed advertisements.
The Brave web browser looks to revolutionize the existing digital advertising model by monetizing attention; it aims to pay users for clicking on and viewing ads. Additionally, the Brave browser also solves all of the aforementioned issues for users, publishers, and advertisers. How you ask? Well, let’s find out!
How is the Basic Attention Token Going to Make the Internet a Better Place?
As mentioned above, the Brave browser pays users to watch ads. When an ad is delivered with a user’s desired content, the Attention Value for the ad (the amount of BAT the user receives) is calculated based on the duration of that ad being visible on the user’s active tab and the number of visible pixels of the ad in proportion to the number of pixels constituting the rest of the content on the webpage. Users can opt to earn yet more BAT by clicking on an ad and entering a new tab for it, and in that case the Attention Value is proportional to the time they spend viewing that ad.
Now, the more time a user spends viewing a publisher’s content and the ads on their webpage, the more BAT the publishers earn. Plus, the Brave browser’s BAT rewards system allows users to reward publishers for their content, should they choose to do so, or use BAT to buy premium content from publishers.
Finally, as advertisers can find out how effective their ads are with the Brave web browser’s Attention Value system, BAT simultaneously benefits all three of the digital advertising space’s primary participants.
As for the privacy and safety issues with regular browsers, Brave deals with them by actively blocking malvertisements and trackers to keep users’ browsing activity private. Neither user activities or identities are shared with any outsider; instead, the Brave browser utilizes machine learning to find out what ads to deliver to a particular user from a pool of ads created by Brave’s partnering brands.
Brave is still actively developing the browser and looking for more exciting possibilities for the Basic Attention Token. Therefore, it’s quite safe to say that the Brave web browser and BAT are about to revolutionize digital advertising.
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