How BAT powers the future of advertising technology

attention economy
Basic Attention Token
Brave browser
nl-free pair

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In recent years, global tech giants have poured billions of dollars into capturing your attention. Two things have suffered in the bargain: the quality of content you consume, and your privacy. With the Basic Attention Token (BAT), Brave is offering a decentralised, Blockchain-based solution that will help everyone today’s internet is failing: users, advertisers, and content creators.

Do you remember the last time you did nothing? I don’t mean lying in bed and mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. I mean really nothing—experiencing the world around you as it is. Not checking your phone every two minutes, like a nervous itch. If you’re like most people, these moments of ‘nothingness’ are few and far between. In fact, there’s even a name for it— the ‘attention economy’, first used by Herbert A Simon in 1971.

If you feel like you’re unable to focus on things as long as you used to, you’re probably right. And it’s not even your fault. For years, global tech giants have poured billions of dollars into the race to capture your attention in order to seem that much more appealing to advertisers. There’s only so much you can personally do to resist. 

According to Brave, ‘The solution is a decentralized, transparent digital ad exchange based on Blockchain.’ The basic principle is this: Your attention is precious. You deserve to be rewarded for it, and so do the websites you choose to pay attention to. Brave has an internally built ledger system that measures user attention, and rewards publishers as well as advertisers for managing to capture it.

Brave’s Basic Attention Token (BAT) offers a blockchain based solution for all three parties: 

  1. Users who are constantly bombarded with information from publishers and tracked by advertisers
  2. Publishers that find advertisers like Google & Facebook are eating up most of their ad revenue
  3. Advertisers facing poor targeting and fraud

One possible solution is to cut out advertising entirely. We spoke to Cyril Sam, an Indian journalist who specialises in reporting on the business of media, about this possibility:

“You cannot separate advertising from the internet and media. That’s just the reality. Media defines culture. And culture is, to a large extent, driven by advertising. The trouble here is, how do you advertise on the internet? If you’re the New York Times or Washington Post, you’ve developed your own internal advertising agencies and product teams.” 

But not everyone is The New York Times. And in Sam’s own words, “To replicate the NYT is potentially, to plan your failure.” With the BAT, publishers can cut out the middlemen, and move away from ‘clickbait’ to more in-depth and investigative journalism that is rewarded by attention, not clicks. Brave blocks all the creepy trackers that most publications use, while anonymising your data for advertisers. Instead, in-device machine learning in Brave matches ads to relevant content on the media site, on a level that middlemen with cookies are unable to achieve. Already, evidence is building that eliminating cookies increases publisher revenue while also restoring users’ confidence.

Brave Browser
Brave Browser

According to the BAT white paper, this is how it would work: The advertiser sends a payment in token along with ads to users in a locked state Xa. As the users view the ads, the

flow of payments unlocks, keeping part of the payment for their own wallet (Xu), and

passing on shares of the payment to Brave (Xb) and passing the remainder on to the

Publisher (Xa-Xu-Xb), with majority revenue going to publishers.

Here’s how you can earn BAT and trade as a user: 

  1. Use the Brave browser
  2. Turn on Brave rewards and start automatically collecting BAT as you browse by watching ads
  3. Transfer BAT from your Uphold wallet to trade. If you have a ZebPay account, learn how with this video. BAT-INR trading on ZebPay is free for the month of August.

For more on future advertising technology and how the Brave ecosystem works, read the white paper.

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