The Brave Browser - A lion in sheep's clothing?

The Brave Browser is on a mission to fix the web and has been gathering a lot of praise and attention from tech and crypto enthusiasts alike. Brave will diligently protect your privacy by removing intrusive ads and trackers from websites while offering you to view ads delivered through their advertising platform instead.

Brave on Android

The Brave browser shielding the user from fake news on an Android device.

Brave will pay you for your attention, you don’t even have to have to click on their ads. Everybody wins, right?

Brave creators

If you’re a content creator making a small income by having ads on your website, you might worry that the mass adoption of the ad-blocking Brave browser might hurt your bottom line. Well, fear not, your visitors will have the option to tip you with BAT (an Ethereum token) if you join the Brave creators’ program.

After signing up as a Brave creator, don’t be too disappointed if your visitors decide to keep their BATs for themselves instead of tipping you. After all, it’s their hard-earned tokens so you can’t fault them for keeping it.

Uphold

Should you sign up as a Brave creator you’ll be able to exchange your BATs into pennies by registering with Uphold, a cloud-based financial services platform. Uphold is coincidentally also the provider of the custodial wallet in your Brave browser.

Uphold KYC

Absolutely Mr. Internet stranger, I’ll upload my government-issued ID to your Amazon bucket at once.

You will not be able to transfer your BATs to another wallet or exchange them into fiat currency without first performing a full KYC (Know Your Customer) with Uphold. That entails providing Uphold with your name and residential address, your social security number (U.S. residents only) and a copy of your government-issued ID along with a selfie.

I’ve got no previous experience or knowledge of Uphold, but I would advise extreme caution before trusting a third party with that level of sensitive data. Nothing will ever be 100% secure and even the most secure systems are operated by fallible humans.

Is the risk involved with giving away your personal information worth the promise of a few cents? Review usa.gov’s advice on identify theft┬ábefore taking a leap of faith.

Brave rewards

What attracted 90% of the Brave userbase was not the built-in ad-blocker or the ungoogled-chromium experience, but the opportunity to earn money by viewing ads in Brave. It’s an elaborate giveaway that’s awarding Brave a boost in user growth and market share. I guess I’ve fallen victim to the promise of free money myself, as I would not have been the least interested in yet another Chromium fork if not for the BAT platform.

Brave rewards on Android

This month’s expected deposit of free money, and yet another ad from Express VPN.

In that regard, the Brave browser delivers on its promise. I’ve been using Brave for a couple of months and I’ve accumulated in the ballpark of 50 BATs (approximately 9 USD).

Blockchain-based digital advertising

I doubt that Brave will ever be able to convince publishers to join their digital advertising platform and leave Google and the targeted-ads market behind. It seems like a pipe dream to be perfectly honest.

Brave’s advertising catalog also indicates that 70% of its customers consist of cryptocurrency and blockchain projects, along with Express VPN and Nord VPN. I do believe 50% of my BAT earnings have come straight out of Express VPN’s pockets. I’m still not buying, but thank you very much.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that there are only a handful of customers willing to spend money on the advertising platform. And those who do use the platform are a perfect match for the privacy and crypto-focused userbase that Brave delivers.

I’m nevertheless excited to see where the project is heading as Brave founder Brendan Eich has assembled an all-star team.

Brave/BAT

Speaking of Brendan Eich, who was allegedly shown the door by the Mozilla Corporation due to his religious beliefs. I wonder if he was responsible for selecting Aslan, the lion of Narnia, for the Brave logo. Aslan representing Jesus Christ from Christian mythology and all. If so, well played Mr. Eich.

Brave pros

  • Ungoogled-chromium
  • Built-in ad-blocker
  • Brave rewards
  • Brave crypto wallet (MetaMask clone?)

Brave cons

  • Centralized through Uphold
  • Custodial wallet (not your keys not your coins)
  • Repetitive ads from a handful of advertisers
  • Brave for Android is lacking features

Switching to Brave?

I would recommend checking out the Brave browser if you’re into cryptocurrencies and are interested in Brave’s BAT platform. If you’re simply in it for the privacy and ad-blocking features, then I believe Firefox with uBlock Origin already offers a better and more granular solution.

Roger Comply avatar
Roger Comply
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