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Brave launches 1.0 (brave.com)
1008 points by etr71115 22 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 630 comments



I've been using Brave rewards, both as a user and a content maker. It's really great, and I feel this may be a reasonable alternative to the invasive trackers+ads we have today.

For the uninitiated, Brave lets users opt-in to Brave rewards:

- You set your browser to reward content creators with Basic Attention Token (BAT). You set a budget (e.g. 10 BAT/month), and Brave distributes it the sites you use most, e.g. if you watch a particular YouTube channel 30% of your browsing time, it will send 30% of 10 BAT each month to that content creator.

- As a user, you can get paid in BAT. You tell Brave if you're willing to see ads, and how often. If so, you get paid in BAT, which you can then distribute to content creators. Brave ads are different: rather than intrusive in-page ads, Brave ads show up as a notification in your operating system outside of the page. This prevents slow downs of the page, keeping your browsing focused, while still allowing support of content creators. And of course, Brave ads are optional and opt-in.


You had me...

> Brave ads show up as a notification in your operating system outside of the page.

and then you lost me. Hitting people with notifications is an escalation of ad hostility, not a reduction.


Brave Ads are opt-in, and user-configurable. You decide whether or not to participate, and to what degree (1 to 5 ads per hour). These ads are surfaced as OS notifications, which means they respect settings like Do Not Disturb, Focus Mode, etc. And, as always, you receive 70% of the ad revenue for your participation. Respectfully, that doesn't strike me as an "escalation of hostility" when you compare against the current option: forced participation, malicious ads, no revenue share, data leaked to a sea of third parties who use it for their purposes.


I already decided my Ad participation. I block ads, and want the advertising industry to die. This does not seem like a value add to me.


Yea, I'd be happier if there was some notion of an inherent value in my eyeballs - and then I could just put that money into the system. Eg, I pay $5/m or $15/m, whatever, and that gets split up by the number of pages I view and content I consume.

I'm a firm believer that FOSS and (Internet) Content needs funding. Yet, I loathe ads. They promote (but are not solely to blame for) behavior that is a brain drain on society. Ads always seem to boil down to 90s style child cereal commercials. Loud noises and flashy attention grabbing tactics to pull you towards it within a tiny, limited window of bought attention.

I'm not convinced society is better because of ads. The dystopian movies with neons signs everywhere seem shockingly accurate (and I believe are already like that in many eastern cities).

I like some of Brave's attempt. At least their doing something. But Ads still seem wrong to me.


Quantifying your attention across specific sites and then rewarding them proportionately is precisely what Brave does.

The reward distributed to them is paid by you. Your balance accumulates either through opting into ads (advertisers pay you to intrude), or you can buy Basic Attention Token yourself (like via Coinbase) and top up your wallet.

Brave is doing exactly what it sounds like you want.


It's very hard to quantify attention. And also, is that the most important? Quantifying a reward should not be given to an algorithm. That's the only reason why things like this[0] happen.

For me the best way is either a Netflix style network (like safari books), or something like [1].

[0]: https://unhashed.com/cryptocurrency-news/are-fake-websites-a...

[1]: https://taler.net/en/


Remember when the internet wasn’t a center of commerce? People posted websites and information for free because it was cool and noble. That’s the internet I love.

The audacity of so many people who feel entitled to get paid makes me so sad. I adblock, strip affiliate links, etc.

Ad revenue drives censorship. Dumbs people down, etc. The whole biz should burn down to the ground.


Much of what you say rings true but ... I think without the incentive of monetization I don’t think we’d see as much good content in places like YouTube.

On the other hand that same carrot brings a lot of baggage like: ads, and lots of crap (content farms and idiotic buzzfeed listicles and cat videos) some idiocy is okay, but we get flooded ...


holy shit a hacker on hn. i was not sure there were any of us left


You can buy BAT with a credit card and participate in Brave's system without ever seeing an ad.


I don't understand, why would I spend money on something I don't want or care about?


Do you hate click bait?

Do you wish the "free" content was of higher quality?

Do you think a insightful blog post, youtube video, or similar content is worth rewarding the person who made said content?

Seems like the main evil of advertising is that it doesn't directly reward the maker of the content. Most of it is sucked up by the middle men who siphon off most of the money and force the content providers to work ever harder for their ever smaller fraction of the proceeds.

Using brave seems much like using Patreon to sponsor your favorite content providers. But instead of trying to manually set a $ per month per provider you can just use your eyeball time to control each content providers share.

Seems like the internet where brave (or similar) was popular would be a much nicer place than the current advertising.

Wouldn't you be willing to pay $20 or similar a month if that meant zero ads for you and your favorite sites got more money than they get through advertising today?


The comment I replied to said:

> Eg, I pay $5/m or $15/m, whatever, and that gets split up by the number of pages I view and content I consume.

That's 100% possible to do with Brave's system.


My only issue with this, if I understand correctly, is that I must use BAT currency.


If I understand correctly, you don't actually use BAT, it gets consumed as you browse. You would just top it up like a pay as you go phone if you want an ad-free browsing experience, or you can generate BAT by enabling ads at a configurable level if you don't mind them.


You are spending money on the creators of content you read, which theoretically you care about (not getting that vibe though.). It’s like supporting someone on Patreon but it’s a different take on direct support.


So I don't use Brave, but it certainly sounds as though by purchasing BAT (or you can receive them through enabling ads) those are then allocated to the content creators whose stuff you're choosing to consume. Which supposedly--this is the part of the scheme I am most skeptical about, because crypto markets are mostly just hilarioujs--allows them to turn BAT into actual money.

Can you explain what exactly in this conversation you don't care about? Follow-up question, can you explain why you felt the need to air that don't-care-about-it without moving the conversation anywhere?


The reality is that your eyeballs are something like $200/month. You are just not likely to pay that money. When you factor in money thrown away at bot/fraud, advertisers spend a shit load of money just to reach you (and indirectly pays for a whole lot of entertainment tv-shows/web-content)


Total spending on digital ads in the United States, a reasonably proxy for the value of the ads to advertisers, has been cited at about $111B[1]. There are about 280 million Internet users in the U.S.[2] (averaging the 2018 measurement of 275M and the 2019 projection of 285M). That works out to about $33 per user per month—which is a decent chunk of change, but much less than $200/month.

[1] https://mondaynote.com/the-arpus-of-the-big-four-dwarf-every...

[2] https://www.statista.com/statistics/325645/usa-number-of-int...


Yeah, but I bet the typical hackernews reader is in an age group and wealth level that is more valuable than the average internet user.


I wouldn’t be so sure. I mean it’s anecdotal, but I rarely buy things. I buy all my clothes from the same internet store, and I do mean all, I have five pairs of shaping new tomorrow pants and when they get worn I replace them with the same damn pants. I heard about them from a coworker who uses them. Almost all my purchasing habits are like that, and I suspect I may not be the only one on HN.

I do click on the occasional Kickstarter boardgame advertisements, but I never end up backing because we always end up playing bloodbowl anyway.

On the other hand I do subscribe to the internet part of a Danish news paper that along giving you access to articles also removes all adds for paying users. I guess that’s sort of what brave wants to do, but who wants the hassle of buying alt-coins and reporting the taxes on it?


You might not buy things, but you have to do SOMETHING with your money (assuming you are an above average earner as someone in tech).

If you save your money, then financial companies are going to want to advertise to you to use their services. If you invest, investment opportunities will want to advertise to you. If you travel, vacation destination will want you.

Assuming you don't just put your money in a box, SOMEONE is going to want you to use your money in a way that gives some of it to them.


We all would like to see what these pants are, so good the style is good forever. You'll have to decide if you use an affiliate link ;-)


That sounds crazy if true. The idea that companies are managing to change my behaviour enough with advertising to drive enough revenue and extra profit, for purchases that I wouldn’t otherwise have made, to justify $200 in advertising spend seems absurd. That would mean a significant portion of my monthly spending (much more than $200) would have to be directly driven by advertising. Is advertising really that effective?


> That would mean a significant portion of my monthly spending (much more than $200) would have to be directly driven by advertising. Is advertising really that effective?

That's why I believe a lot of value all these trackers provide to various companies is not so much the typical 'buy this product now' pop-up that you're thinking, but instead more nefarious value-adds.

Maybe that mortgage or car loan rate you applied for came back a little higher than others would have received on the same day. Perhaps that collection agency decided they wouldn't discount the medical bills because they know 'you can afford it'. I've seen several sites give me one price when I was logged in without an ad blocker, and then a lower price after clearing my cookies.

There is no way insurance companies aren't paying huge amounts of data to calculate rates offered to individuals based on thousands of data points. I imagine the government itself would be able to take advantage of user data in all sorts of clever ways - everything from solving crimes to catching tax cheats to provide better and cheaper background investigations for the millions who require it.

Companies interviewing candidates could save thousands on each potential hire if they could quickly have an algorithm avoid the 75% of candidates they wouldn't consider hiring anyway.

There are just so many ways companies can statistically make a few extra percent here or avoid an expensive loss there, it will be used until the government disallows it, which apparently isn't going to happen anytime soon in most countries.


The point a lot of people miss is that advertising doesn't just convince you buy new things. Many advertisements are designed to make you feel good about the products you already buy so you won't consider trying the alternatives.

When you grab a bottle of dish soap off the shelf, do you select the same one each time because you prefer it for reasons you can't quite articulate or do you grab whatever's cheapest because they're basically all the same?


I was about to disagree until I read your example. You're right - I buy a lot of stuff for reasons that aren't grounded in reason, and, although I usually relate to stuff such as "my Mom used to have this one at home when I was a kid", well, who knows if that's the actual reason or just some justification from my mind.


This is the realm most Car Ads fall under.

Their purpose isn't to randomly convince someone to spend $20-30k on a brand new vehicle.

The purpose is to convince people who've already bought the car that they made the right decision and to feel good about it - and to rave about their new exciting, big purchase to their friends/family.


Think about the lifetime value the advertiser who influenced your mom is earning!


I buy the allergy friendly one of the store brand that I’ve never seen an advertisement for. Since it’s the store brand the type variates since I don’t always shop at the same store.

But you’re right, I probably buy Coca Cola (and like it better) instead of Pepsi because of life long branding. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an online advertisement for Coca Cola though.


They have no idea whether you would have bought something or not. Look at it through the lens of how much money you spend in a month, and what the average margin is on the things you buy. When you look at it that way it's not crazy to think there would be enough positive ROI indicators to justify that much marketing spend.


Ad sales are easy: appeal to the ego of the purchaser. I’m convinced ads are all a scam and are in effect money laundering.

The numbers coupled with lack of factual evidence of effect is staggering. I have a lot of distrust in the business. It’s about as accurate as Nielsen.


Man that's rough. You're right, my content is way not worth that.

It's odd to me though. I could pay for content I care about at an amount far smaller than $200/m, and the content creators would make more from me I imagine.

Why the extreme overhead? There's no way some blogger is making $200/m off of a handful of clicks from me. I'd be shocked if they made $5/m directly from me.

So where is the disconnect?

(sidenote, i understand the $200/m figure was not for a single blogger. But, lets pretend that blogger was all of my traffic for the month. I still can't imagine it's even remotely close to $200/m)


Everybody at every step takes a bit of money. It funds a billion-dollar industry of parasites.


Agreed. Which is sort of why I asked that. The reply to me said it would be closer to $200/m. However, I was wanting to pay content creators, not parasites.

So my comment was talking about paying content creators. I can't imagine they come anywhere close to $200/m from me, as you put it it's all the middlemen. So why would I be concerned about $200/m?


Google has a market cap of 894.52B at this point in time. For instance.


Yea, but in my comment I didn't care about Google. We were talking about money going directly to content providers, to compensate for the fact that they don't make ad money off of me.


But do you care about all the services google provides? Do you use their search, email, etc? Those would also be things you would need to pay for.


Sure, and I'd love to see prices for those too. $200/m I doubt, though. Purely search though, nothing else from Google (I pay for my email/etc)

To say though that Google has to get a piece of the $200/m that some blogger makes assumes of course that Google is the ad provider. Not sure, but it seems like a weak argument.

I wish I could start seeing the real no-ads costs here.


Market cap has nothing to do with how much ads are worth, it is just how much people are willing to pay for Google stock.

Google's revenue from ads could be useful, though.


Here's average revenue per user (per year) for many top companies. https://mondaynote.com/the-arpus-of-the-big-four-dwarf-every...

For anyone who is a user of multiple brands, you need to add these numbers.


Interesting link. I'm not sure how to interpret these numbers though. It says Amazon gets $752 per user per year. But this seems like it is nothing to do with how much my eyeballs are worth - people give Amazon money in return for stuff. The only other brand on that list I use is Google. I'm outside the US, so it appears my eyeballs are worth $137 per year. That is an amount I'd be prepared to pay if it made adverts go away and the money was split between the content providers I do use. But it isn't really clear (to me) how the old guy on YouTube who restores the antique furniture would collect his 75% share due to my eyeball time.


If I could choose to pay for just the content I want, it wouldn't be $200/month, because I'd carefully pick and choose what I care enough about to pay for. I spend most of my online time on a very small number of sites and same few youtube channels, many of whom I already pay on patreon, if I had to pay a little more to cover streaming/video hosting, that cuts google out of the financial picture, I would totally do that. I do not like google, but I do like the handful of content creators that I follow. Any other time I spend online is idle time that I could do without and if forced to pay for it, it would actually help me break a habit I don't particularly want in the first place.


> I'd be happier if there was some notion of an inherent value in my eyeballs

Your eyeballs only have value if they’re willing to look at things that other people are willing to pay to have you see. Thus ads.


Yes, this is a perfectly sensible stance, which of course requires you to actively pay for content instead, either through brave or some other program.

I'm sure you're not just expecting content creators to make stuff for you full-time entirely for free.

Ads should die, but it requires consumers to realize that they need to pay for content one way or another.


I do pay several patreon, have automatic transfer set up for two projects, and a long standing subscription to a website I'm a fan of.

But people don't need to realize anything for ads to die. All they need to realize is that they should all be using ad blockers and never ever turning it off again.

Being able to make people look in your direction long enough to show them something else they might spend money on is not valuable. It doesn't need to exist.


Sorry but this is a very disingenuous stance.

The only way you would find new products or services is by 20th century word of mouth or search. And search is built on a mountain of ad dollars.

Are you claiming that you don't need Google?


I'm claiming a search engine can exist without relying on advertising. There are other ways of discovering products and services than advertising. In fact, I'd argue that the amount of things I want I discovered through advertising is minuscule compared to the amount I discovered through direct recommendation, seeking it out myself and professional reviews (I seek out myself).


> But people don't need to realize anything for ads to die. All they need to realize is that they should all be using ad blockers and never ever turning it off again.

That isn't true at all. What about when I play a youtube video on my chromecast and it shows an ad on my TV? What happens when websites draw all their content using the canvas instead of the DOM, and adblockers don't work anymore, or websites like Hulu which already make it difficult to enjoy the content while avoiding the ads.


Hulu makes it very easy to enjoy the content while avoiding ads. Just pay them the ad free rate to offset their lost ad revenue.


Then getting rid of ads has to stop being a technical process but a legislative instead.


> I do pay several patreon, have automatic transfer set up for two projects, and a long standing subscription to a website I'm a fan of.

Are these websites the only websites you visit? Otherwise, you're very short on paying for the content you consume.

Without ads, you have to pay the creator of every YouTube video you watch, the journalist behind every news article you read, etc. Unless the content creator is actively choosing to give it to you for free (i.e. never had any ads in the first place), then you need to pay them somehow for every bit of content you consume.

With how we consume content, this will have to be pay-per-view as a day of browsing would otherwise need possibly hundreds of subscriptions.

A mediator in form of Brave's "BAT" or similar is a good way to do fair pay-per-view.

> But people don't need to realize anything for ads to die. All they need to realize is that they should all be using ad blockers and never ever turning it off again.

No, everyone should not use ad blockers, there should be no ads. Ad blockers are a defective symptom of the decease that is ads, not a solution to the problem.

> Being able to make people look in your direction long enough to show them something else they might spend money on is not valuable. It doesn't need to exist.

It's important to remember that we're only fighting random ads plastered everywhere as brute-force marketing.

Other forms of marketing will always exist. Having a big logo on your physical store is marketing, done to attract attention of possible customers. Showcasing their products within the store is marketing to try to make you buy them. Nothing wrong with that.


"Content creation" is oversaturated. I'm willing to pay for the content I consume, but it is evidently true that most people are not - and I don't blame them. Would you really pay for a Logan Paul video? Without ad revenue, many lowest common denominator content creators (and other parasitic scenarios like "instagram influencers") go away. I fail to see that as a bad thing.


So don't opt-in. There are other ways to acquire BAT and support the sites you visit in Brave besides watching ads.


No. You don't understand. It's not enough for me not to see ads anymore. I want the advertising industry to die. The entire thing. Its existence is harmful to society.


If people choose to buy BAT from exchanges rather than earn it by watching ads then content will be increasingly funded directly by payments from consumers rather than through advertising. If everyone did this then there would be a closed loop of BAT exchange between viewers and content creators (mediated by exchanges) without any ads in sight. This is an effective strategy to employ against the advertising industry if that's really your goal.


No, in making provisions for the advertising industry in their business model, they are aiding its survival. I will always recommend a proper adblocker over this.


You are of course free to do as you wish, but since you're applying "guilty by association" logic to Brave—regardless of the fact that using it without enabling the ads does absolutely nothing to help the advertising industry—I really hope that you also refuse to have anything to do with any sites that receive any of their funding through advertising. Enabling an adblocker doesn't reduce that contamination in any sense: The site is still "making provisions for the advertising industry" and "aiding its survival", far more so than Brave.

Funding the site with Brave and BAT would at least offer a practical alternative to reliance on advertising. Unless, perhaps, your goal is not to destroy advertising, but rather to destroy all sites which depend on external funding and yet aren't a big enough draw to justify a dedicated subscription?


>but since you're applying "guilty by association" logic to Brave

That's a misunderstanding. It's not a guilty by association thing. It's that there is already a thing more in line with accomplishing my goals, since uBlock Origin has no provisions for ad companies to still make money.


It seems obvious to me that this is an extreme stance and greatly oversimplifies things, but a couple things to note:

* the global advertising industry is upwards of a $500 billion market [1]

* that industry employs close to 200k people in the U.S. alone [2]

I think it is safe to say that people who earn their living via the advertising industry and thus positively contribute to the economy would be a benefit to society. Of course one could still make the argument that the net impact is harmful, but I don’t think it is controversial to say that is a bold claim with many complicating factors.

1. https://www.statista.com/topics/990/global-advertising-marke...

2. https://www.statista.com/statistics/186066/employment-in-us-...


The size of an industry and the number of people that it employs is hardly a measure of how it benefits society. People are employed in the global spam, fraud, and mafia markets, and they spend their income on such wholesome things as housing, groceries, computers, expensive wine/cars/vacations, art. Doesn't mean that the industry contributes positively to society.


This just isn't true though. Or at least I don't see where you're coming from. You might see ads as intrusive, or getting you to spend money on something you don't want to spend money on... but that's not how many advertisers see ads. Ideally, they would only be at your attention when you want them there. If I'm looking to buy a washing machine, and I don't know where to start, advertising is one of the primary ways I get introduced to the options out there.

Furthermore, ads have driven most major media from newspapers to radio to tv... and what has made them so financially accessible to most people. Maybe you can afford to pay money to every single patreon out there, but not everyone can. And imagining a world where everyone uses an ad-blocker and advertising dies means that every content creator is just going to put up a paywall, which means information will be exclusively restricted to people with money. That sounds like a fantastic future.

Frankly the notion that advertising is objectively bad, or good, for that matter is reductive. You might say certain practices are good or bad, and certainly the ones we are seeing online right now are not good, but that seems to me the problem Brave is trying to solve - building an ad model for the web that actually works.


but that's not how many advertisers see ads

I've heard advertisers try and justify their work and it doesn't sound very convincing. The simple fact is they are paying to make you do something you wouldn't have ordinarily done.

As we have become more resistant to their activities they have become more underhand. Adverts will try and convince you that you can't be a good father unless you own an SUV, that your partner will become slim and attractive if you buy a specific perfume for her, that you will have a happy family Christmas if you just bought this oak table. This sort of manipulation is a scourge on society.

If I'm looking to buy a washing machine I either go to the electrical store or by a copy of Which (I guess consumer reports would be the same thing in the US).


I wrote down some of the many ways in which ads are a societal ill, here:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21528465


I just flat out disagree with most of the premises you have shared here. Also I don't understand how something can be wrong or right in an 'academic sense' but fine:

>They distort the product market as they favour those players with the highest marketing budget, rather than with the best product. Presumably the companies with the bigger budgets have that money to spend because they have a better product. When people buy your product, you have money to spend, and then you go and spend it on marketing and advertising (which are two separate disciplines, I won't get hung up on that but just know that using those two interchangeably betrays a lack of critical understanding). I can think of very few companies that became market leaders solely because of advertising while selling an inferior product. Beer/alcohol springs to mind, but even there I could argue that taste is subjective and that image is a huge part of what people are drinking regardless so much like fashion, customers are buying the label as much as the utility.

> They distort the media market as getting people to look in your direction is the only thing that has value. Clickbait and fake-news are a direct result of advertising, and wouldn't exist without it. This is also wrong-ish. People didn't tune into a TV show because of the advertisements that aired between commercials, they tuned in because of good TV. The better the TV show, the more money they could command from advertisers because of the audience size. They wouldn't invest that money into more advertisements, they would invest it into making better TV. Now, with clickbait you have a bit of a point - but that's more of a systemic issue. When people started giving content away for free, newspapers crashed as content moved online. Desperate for an audience, advertisers used yesterday's model (look for the place with the most eyeballs) and started migrating over there. There was a period of time where buzzfeed and clickbait reigned supreme for that reason, but that's starting to change as advertisers get wiser about where they are positioning their company. Respectable products tend to dominate respectable sites and clickbaity sites get filled with less respectable companies. It's far from perfect, but again - this is about the method, not really advertising as a practice. I don't see the connection with fake-news at all. Fake news happened because people were glued to their newsfeeds. If anything advertisers are terrified of fake news because it hurts their credibility to show up next to it.

> They are an attempt at manipulation. People have to constantly expend the energy to counteract that manipulation. I also believe this to be a big factor in the decrease in trust in media. Since the stuff that is meant to inform you is always surrounded by stuff trying to manipulate you, how could you ever build trust to it? Are reviews an attempt at manipulation? Maybe you think they are better because they are a third party... but at the end of the day they are just trying to tell you one product is better than another. If "attempts at manipulation" are bad, then we should get rid of all review sites. If your issue is that the company is saying their thing is best, when maybe it isn't, what company in their right mind would say "hey, our product sucks". Do you have an issue with sales or selling in general? Is the very act of getting someone to try and buy your thing a cause for societal ill? As for people constantly expending energy to counteract this manipulation, this is my least favorite line of argument around advertising. It disrespects people and treats them as weak minded simpletons who have no thoughts other than what they are told to think. At a certain point you have to respect people and their ability to make decisions for themselves.


>resumably the companies with the bigger budgets have that money to spend because they have a better product.

Laughably wrong. Like, parallel universe wrong. Don't even know where to start on that one.

With response number two, there is so much wrong, I don't even know which part to quote:

-Who said people turned in because of advertising? I have literally no idea where you got that from?

-Fake news is a cheap way to produce content that gets a lot of attention. You make something up that riles people up, and then people share it. Without advertising, there would be no direct financial advertising to do so.

-Who cares that advertising companies would prefer not appear next to fake news. Their actions still directly encourage fake news.

And so much more. A real Gish-Gallop you got there.

> Are reviews an attempt at manipulation?

This is the mark of the ultimate dishonest argument or lazy thinking. Do you honestly not see the inherent difference (of kind, not degree) between a review you seek out from a trusted independent source, and an ad that someone paid for to put in front of you against your will, and who's only incentive is to get you to buy the product it is about? If you don't, I genuinely can't help you.

>It disrespects people and treats them as weak minded simpletons who have no thoughts other than what they are told to think. At a certain point you have to respect people and their ability to make decisions for themselves.

I don't like having to constantly spend that energy. I don't like constantly having to be on alert and defend myself from the manipulation attempts.

And this is such a bad argument in general. You could use the same argument against anything designed to make people's life easier and less stressful. Why does advertising get a past.

In conclusion, your entire comment is a collection of the very worst, lazy and dishonest arguments and excuses for advertising.


>In conclusion, your entire comment is a collection of the very worst, lazy and dishonest arguments and excuses for advertising.

And yet you couldn't address any of them without dodging the material part of the argument in favor of faux outrage, generalities, and personal preference topped off with a belittling logically unsound conclusion.

Cool.


I made an effort to address the argumentative core of your argument. It's hard, because there is no core to the argument, just a kitchen sink of bad assumptions and weak arguments.

And let me assure you that there is nothing "faux" about my outrage.


Old man yells at clouds


How old do you think I am?


What happens when everyone makes the same choice in this prisoner's dilemma as you? Are you ready to lose all of the content that is supported by advertising (regardless of whether you view ads or not)?


Content adapts to users that pay. Advertising is not all that lucrative, especially if you are not that big.


Yes. It would be a net gain if we got rid of advertising in the process.


I’m somewhat in your camp. Why I’d like the ad industry to die is because they’ve collectively decided that privacy is a relic of the past.

I’d rather they work with the likes of DuckDuckGo and share context based ads. Context does NOT include my personal details :)


That is just peeing in the pool.

It's fine if only some of us do it (and I do as well) but it just leads to the death of free internet, and subscription models for all news sites.

That might be fine for you, but don't think for a second that's not a privileged position, and if the internet moves behind a paywall that is a significant detriment to a massive class of people.

Sure, your system works for you, but don't pretend like your solution scales.


By default, you don’t see ads; you have to opt-in.

And even if you decide to never see an ad, you’ll still receive grants in BAT from time to time, which you can use to tip content creators.


So you also want the media industry to die as well? Too bad, but most of us don't.


If the only value of media is to make you look in its direction for long enough to show you something else that you might actually spend money on, it actually has no value at all.


And I suppose adding, "...while keeping you informed about what's happening in the world" or "...while entertaining you" wouldn't matter to you, would it?


If it has significant value to people, it can find a way of getting money from the people it provides value to.


That’s why it’s opt in.


>when you compare against the current option

To me the current option is no participation because I see no explicit ads. The web is pull and not push, and my browser renders whatever I want it to. As for the revenue, they can keep it for all I care, why would I want to make money browsing the web? It'd be like making money for talking a walk in the park


> To me the current option is no participation because I see no explicit ads. The web is pull and not push, and my browser renders whatever I want it to.

Yes and Brave's argument is that if everyone acted like you, the web as we know it would collapse. Perhaps it's an argument worth taking seriously. And I say that as someone who acts like you.


That really isn't an argument worth taking seriously. Much of the web would be fine. Another chunk of it would have to shift more toward existing revenue sources. And some would have to develop new revenue sources.

The only thing that would be particularly at risk is stuff funded exclusively with display ads, but where users don't care enough about it to support it. Or, put differently, we'd lose sites that people don't like much, but that survive through manipulating people into buying things. Doesn't sound like much of a loss to me.

When the Tivo was new, it was argued that it would destroy television, because people could now skip ads. 20 years later, TV is doing better than ever as a medium. Why? Because a lot of us are now paying directly for the things we like. I think the same thing would happen with the web.


> That really isn't an argument worth taking seriously.

I think it is. I've used Google search, gmail, youtube, and Google docs since they've existed. I've paid $0 for them. My understanding is that these services are paid for by ads but I've had an ad blocker most of that time. If everyone started using an ad blocker, what would happen to Google/those services? I don't know, but I feel uneasy about the fact that services that I use depend on people not doing certain things that A. seem rational and B. I have been doing for years.

> When the Tivo was new, it was argued that it would destroy television, because people could now skip ads. 20 years later, TV is doing better than ever as a medium. Why? Because a lot of us are now paying directly for the things we like. I think the same thing would happen with the web.

It seems to me that Brave is attempting to make it so that people "pay directly for things they like" and they're attempting to solve that problem generically, in the browser. Maybe it would be better if this problem wasn't solved in the browser. Maybe all the companies providing free services funded by ads should solve this problem individually, by charging a monthly fee. But that solution:

1. Leaves out individuals who make a living providing "free" entertainment who are funded by ads (so-called content creators)

2. Requires people to juggle many monthly subscriptions

3. Will cut out people who cannot afford subscriptions

4. Will never happen unless something forces these companies to change (maybe something like a browser with a built-in ad-blocker gaining market share...)

Brave's approach is interesting. I have no idea if it will pan out but I think they've identified a real problem.


>My understanding is that these services are paid for by ads but I've had an ad blocker most of that time.

Google makes money by collecting behavioral data generated by its users, which it then uses in the form of raw materials to create products for its actual paying customers: advertisers.

Whether you're using an ad-blocker or not, you're still contributing to the advertising machine by using its products, you can't stop Google from crunching your personal behavioral data on their platform.

I have no interest in Brave and I still use Google products (for now), I just wanted to point out that what's really happening is a bit more sophisticated than you may think.


Either way, indirectly or not, Google makes money from people looking at ads. What would happen to "advertisers" if everyone blocked ads? Would the whole industry collapse? It's hard for me to see how that wouldn't affect Google.


I didn't say it wouldn't affect google. If everyone who uses the internet suddenly realized the joy of ad free browsing, then that would be something of a paradigm shift in my opinion.


Yes, Brave's approach is interesting. No, there's no reason to think that Google will have a problem finding other ways to fund services that people like and use. They already charge people for Docs, Gmail, and YouTube. Search is funded by non-display ads, which most ad blockers don't bother with because their relevance means people like them.


The idea that "you know" what would happen if, overnight, everyone started using ublock origin, is silly. What part of Google's revenue comes, indirectly, from "display ads"? I have no idea.

I think it's safe to say that there would be repercussions if everyone started blocking ads. Maybe Google isn't the best example but there are websites that block my access because I have an ad blocker. They aren't doing that for no reason.


Nothing happens overnight, so I'm not seeing the relevance.

What I am sure of is that the economy generally as well as most companies specifically display a long history of being able to adapt to changing business conditions. If you want to claim they will suddenly lose that resilience in the face of continued rise of ad blocking, you have to prove it.

Yes, some places are currently dependent on ads. If ads continue to decline as a revenue source (something they've been doing for years even without ad blocking) then those companies will either find new revenue sources or go out of business.

Since companies do both those things all the time without disaster, and since ad-only companies are a small portion of the total web, I maintain that the notion that "the web as we know it would collapse" is absurd drama. It is not an actual risk.


> TV is doing better than ever as a medium. Why? Because a lot of us are now paying directly for the things we like. I think the same thing would happen with the web.

What are you on about, TV is essentially dead as an over-the-air/cable-bundle medium.

The only reason "TV" survived, is because it was reimagined by streaming services who charge a monthly fee. That model has certainly been going through a golden age, but the story is far from finished there and things are about to get very very bad with dozens of streaming services on the horizon, all wanting 5-10$/month.

We have yet to see what's going to happen when consumers rebel against their content needing 100s of $/month to access. The Tivo of the 2020s will involve VPN, or Piracy with a new face, or some form of account sharing, and will be resisted just the same.


That's an interesting fantasy, but I see no evidence that people will go from paying happily for content to refusing to pay for anything. People have been paying for video for a hundred years, and there's no reason to think the business will die now that technology has drastically decreased distribution costs, lowered production costs, and increased quality.


The only thing that would collapse are the parasitical entities that feed off of tracking data from ads. I think this is a good thing.


> "if everyone acted like you, the web as we know it would collapse. "

So blocking ads is an effective way to enact social change? Great!


>Yes and Brave's argument is that if everyone acted like you, the web as we know it would collapse.

Maybe the people that rely on the ad supported, user data selling model that primarily destroys the privacy of technologically less advanced users should have thought about that before they started the invasive ad arms race?

So fewer people will make money unethically on the web. If we adopted Brave's point of view then making money from cryptolocker ransomware would be okay because only ignorant users would not have anti-virus and backups in place, so it's really the users fault.


Good riddance. The web was a finer place before this ad boom.


What gives you the right to say I don't deserve to see ads if I want to,?


That's an argument against using Brave.


> As for the revenue, they can keep it for all I care, why would I want to make money browsing the web? It'd be like making money for talking a walk in the park

?? I don't understand this logic or analogy even remotely. I would love to make money by doing things I already do for free


It'd be like taking a walk in the park and paying/supporting the park if you feel the need to.


> It'd be like taking a walk in the park and paying/supporting the park if you feel the need to.

It'd be like taking a walk in the park and paying/supporting the park - by having a salesperson walking beside you trying to pitch some product - if you feel the need to.


It'd be like taking a walk in the park and paying/supporting the park utilizing a corporate currency - by having a salesperson walking beside you trying to pitch some product - if you feel the need to


Like it or not, revenue is required to keep sites online.

Hosting costs money. Design costs money. Maintenance costs money.

If the internet is to stay as alive and as open/accessible as it currently is for the public at large (despite increases in censorship), there needs to be more effort put into high availability and accessibility by more people than the enthusiasts who run revenue free sites/businesses that have other revenue streams.

People have been trained not to accept paywalls. But they do tip, as we see with patreon, superchats, etc, and and they do accept some modicum of ads and freemium services.

Brave provides options for all of those things; what I like most about brave is not its ad model, but its site donation model. It’s a very direct form of person to site donations that is built to be extremely convenient. I don’t know how it’s implemented, but if it's sufficiently decentralized (which I think it is, unless the BAT crypto currency is just a distraction from some centralized mechanism required for donations), that’s a potentially very valuable/difficult to censor/easy means of direct value exchange. Plus you don’t have the privacy concerns you do with ads.

My hope is that it becomes so convenient and popular to send money to sites via Brave and potential future competitors that the ad revenue model can be mostly replaced. That might be pie in the sky, but it seems plausible to me.

I also think it’s great that users get a big chunk of ad revenue. That percentage may change in the future, but for low income people who can get a few extra bucks by browsing normally/might be less likely to use ad blockers, something like Brave seems way better than seeing ads and not getting any revenue.


> Like it or not, revenue is required to keep sites online.

> Hosting costs money. Design costs money. Maintenance costs money.

Then maybe we'll get less blogspam and have a higher signal-to-noise ratio of sites run by people who are passionate about things and know what they're doing, instead of crap trying just get clicks to get paid.

Maybe videos would be 1 minute of quality content rather than 10 minutes of "be sure to click subscribe". Etc.


I'd prefer if those people had some sort of income so they could do what they're doing full time. Do you have any sort of idea for how that would work or do you just dislike the current system without any prescription for a better one? (The patreon model still requires people to follow your content, and subscribers help with that)


Recent cross-platform options with surveillance capitalism:

* Google Chrome: mandatory

* Firefox: opt-out [1]

* Brave: blocked

That's the primary issue.

It's great that Brave is pioneering a new opt-in, privacy-respecting funding model for the web - we need innovation here - but it's a secondary issue.

[1] Thanks to Google $, slowly changing presumably thanks to forcing effects of Apple's increasing privacy defaults in Safari


I’m having a hard time trying to decide if people are trying to dirty capitalism with “surveillance” or surveillance with capitalism. Seems like the latter has become a dirty word over night for no apparent reason.


Adjectives modify nouns.

In the case, it's a bit tricky, but "surveillance" is acting as an adjective, more specifically a noun adjunct

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noun_adjunct


Except the adjective in this case is sufficient as a noun on its own. Unless you want to bring capitalism in for ulterior motives.


Surveillance capitalism simply describes the business model of spying on users to build hidden psychological / behavioural / demographic profiles which are then sold through opaque backroom market mechanisms, all with zero regard to consent.

You can have a positive view of each separate word (depending on context) and the term still works perfectly in describing the business model society is beginning to reject, through mechanisms like the GDPR and CCPA.


Notifications:

So if I have a couple of PCs idling, do they show ads? If ads are shown then there is a waste that someone is paying, and publishers will complain.

Can I set 10 raspberry pi to start farming BAT?

At this point Brave should start tracking what the user is doing to see if it is convenient to show an ad and that's is where all the problems start again... user/behavior monitoring.

Is just a bad but noble idea followed by a terrible implementation. Just let it pass by...


Do these notifications fire only when the browser is focused, or do they fire when the browser doesn't have focus too? Either way, the full range of 1-5/hour seems way too frequent. Maybe one a day would be tolerable (though I have no motive for tolerating even that.)


And they make money by you having to buy BAT to give it. Either with the information gathered from which ads you view or by having to buy it to begin in the first place.


Actually, they don't make money on sales of BAT. Like most cryptocurrencies, its price is determined by supply and demand.

Sure, they’ll benefit if BAT goes to the moon because part of the team’s compensation is in BAT, but that’s no different than a startup and their stock.


So, can you only "mine" bat by watching ads?


Brave distributes grants from time to time.

When I updated to the latest iOS version, I got 20 BAT, for supporting content creators.

If you’re a content creator and you register your site or YouTube channel, you can be tipped in BAT.

Brave also allows you to tip folks on Twitter and GitHub.

And of course, you can buy BAT on various exchanges like Coinbase, etc.


They started popping up for me without any opt-in.


GP is on track to become my highest rated comment on HN, which suggests more people agree with me about this than anything else I've said here.

There are some of us that think the distraction economy is making the world a worse place.

OS notifications have a higher participation rate than side-bar ads because 1) nobody has learned to tune them out, and 2) theoretically speaking, these are the things we opted not to filter out, so we are more inclined to peek.

I know people who will stop mid sentence of an interesting conversation with you to figure out why their phone is chirping at them. I'm sure you do, too. It's painful to watch even when it's not you.

My reaction to "it's opt-in" is a little bit like my reaction to "tobacco is opt-in". It's not reassuring, maybe even a little troubling. The best reaction you can expect is, "And?"


That your comment was highly upvoted doesn't necessarily mean what you think it does. I often upvote items I disagree with only because they bring up something worthy of discussion. I'm curious how many other HNers do the same.


> I often upvote items I disagree with only because they bring up something worthy of discussion. I'm curious how many other HNers do the same.

I do, though it's rare. I've done it for comments a few times, but mostly just for low-karma threads that don't have any comments yet, where I want to see what other people have to say.


Yeah I could have done without that comment. My point was fine before I added it.

Still getting quite a few me too responses.


On tired old political debates like this, most votes are just cheers for one team or the other.


As far as I understand it, using the browser with the default settings is basically like using Chrome with ad blocking (and tracking protection and all of that) already built in.

The only opt in part is allowing ads, which you get paid for viewing.


You don't get paid. You get tokens which you can then provide to creators.


You do get paid, considering you can sell the tokens. I expect the tokens I've earned across all my devices to be worth a nice few hundred USD some day.


It seems like the transaction is more akin to 'rewarded' than 'paid', but I'm not sure that detracts from your point.


Try it first -- it is optional. We're working on other channels than OS notifications, but so far the people who have opted in are happy enough (14% CTR).


Is Google the default search engine for Brave?


In most regions where users would bounce off a different default and manually override it to Google (thus denying us an ethical defaulting opportunity), yes. Mozilla found out the hard way in 2014 December when they reset default from Google to Yahoo! in the USA, and most Firefox users Whisky Tango Foxtrotted back to manual Google setting. (Verizon and Mozilla bailed on that deal and Mozilla is back with Google.)

The good news is that we are partnered with DuckDuckGo already on private tabs, and as a promoted alternative engine -- and now we are switching default search in key European countries to DDG. We feel DDG's quality has risen enough, and certain countries are privacy-focused enough, that we won't lose too many users via default search override setting back to Google.


That's really cool to hear your defaulting (in some countries) to something other then Google and DDG even better! Just downloaded Brave.

Thanks for Firefox! It along with Google at the time (2003) inspired me to try my hand at being a maker.


There are things you don’t have to try to know you don’t want it. Like poop, for instance.

I already have an uncomfortable detente with notifications on my devices. Upsetting that delicate balance is so obviously a bad idea that I don’t need to try it to tell you “no, not even a little”


That's cool -- are you willing to fund your own tokens to tip and give back regularly? Just asking, not required either. The baseline mode for Brave is shielded (so fast/private/battery-saving/dataplan-friendly) browsing.


I would not call opt-in ads that you receive money for viewing "hostile". It's not an insignificant amount of either, especially if the price of BAT appreciates.


100% agree. I tried the program but the ads are incredibly obnoxious. I really wanted to like it, but I just didn't.


I think the good thing about your statement - is it tells me it's simply a product iteration or user experience modification. Those can be simple


I'd happily take plain old web banner ads over push notification spam. Are people nuts?


Actually, it’s a reduction because the ads are in categories you are interested in, which is done on your machine via machine learning.

Right now, you don’t have to interact with ads to get paid, though that may change in the future.

It’s way less intrusive than pop-ups and full screen interstitials, which I hate.

Disclaimer: I’ve been a Brave user/tester for a while.

Edit: if you decide to opt-in, you decide how many ads per hour you see. That seems like a reasonable trade-off.


But I don’t need to buy more stuff. I’ve already got that handled.


Okay, so maybe don't opt in to them in the first place then?


I thought so at first, but they're so infrequent, it's really not a big deal. Mac OS bothers me about app store updates more often than I get ads. Plus, you get paid for the ads being delivered in BAT, which you can then contribute to sites (or trade on a crypto exchange).


This is a fair sentiment, but under a model where the user decides where ad revenue goes, who would want to host the ads? It has to either be the browser (like an extension that pushes toasts) or your desktop (same thing, different context).


this ultimately gives you more control though, assuming your OS's notification system is reasonably configurable


That depends. At least your whole page layout can be dedicated to what you actually provide.

Though I suspect popup system ads would become old soon too.


yeah i kind of wish they had a way to replace the ads in-page. as a publisher i want some control of how intrusive to be to the user's attention.

Also, their ads must be by definition content-unaware


They are working on ... interstitial or browser chrome ads IIRC.


I would personally much rather allocate actual dollars instead of CryptoBuckOfTheDay backed by ads I have no desire to ever watch. Say, $20/month that gets allocated to sites I visit. The whole "reward people for watching ads" model just seems... wrong.


But the ecosystem around dollars is so parasite-riddled that if you tried to move cents for each ad you didn't see, you'd end up paying more in transaction fees than would make it to the content creators that you're trying to support. The dollar has a scalability problem that BAT doesn't.

Is trading dollars for BAT on an exchange and then loading those BAT into your browser's wallet such a bad alternative?


> But the ecosystem around dollars is so parasite-riddled that if you tried to move cents for each ad you didn't see, you'd end up paying more in transaction fees than would make it to the content creators that you're trying to support

This is flat out incorrect. Brave as a company can easily consolidate payments such that fees are minimal.


BAT is divisible to 18 decimal places, which means you can truly have micropayments that cannot (easily and cheaply) be done with dollars.

How do you tip $.0035 for a tweet?


Brave's internal ledger for micro-payments can measure dollars to however many decimal places they wish. Sure, when you actually transfer money out of the system there will have to be some rounding, but those transfers are minimal as Brave can batch them.

You only need one transfer for each user and one transfer for each content producer. You don't need and/or want the O(n^2) cross product transfers.


Does anyone care if they don’t get paid until they earn a full dollar?

Saying I earned 0.00045 BAT is fun, but doesn’t actually help me with anything until I convert it to dollars anyway.


The point is it’s not possible to send such small quantities with fiat currencies. If something becomes popular, those small contributions add up.

BAT can also be used for paywalls, VPN payments, pay-per-view streaming and other smallish transactions. As the BAT ecosystem grows, there will be more incentive to transact in BAT, so there’s not so much of a need to convert to fiat.

BTW, BAT is up nearly 8% as I write this, presumably on the news of the Brave 1.0 release. There’s a decent chance that BAT is worth significantly more 2 or 3 years now; we’re still in the early days.

Finally, because BAT uses the Ethereum ERC-20 token standard, it automatically interoperates with the Ethereum ecosystem, including being able to be converted to other ERC-20 tokens, including stablecoins like PAX and GUSD, which are designed to always be valued at $1 per share, kinda like a money market fund.


Easily?

They don't currently integrate with a payment provider, and if they did they'd have to deal with that provider shutting off payments due to pressure from governments looking to censor content. They'd also have to generate income tax documents in a wide variety of jurisdictions.

Doing the kind of business worldwide where you pay people in fiat (rather than just get paid) is a tremendous undertaking. Even Google hasn't managed to pull it off worldwide just yet:

https://support.google.com/googleplay/android-developer/answ...


Would you be upset if you did so in, say, June, then proceeded to lose double-digit percent of $ value placed in the wallet?

How about if you're a content creator who got paid in these ever-volatile digital currency units...instead of dollars? If those same creators instantly traded out for $, what was their trading fees? Is all of this something to consider when singing the praises of saving a few pennies on transaction costs?


Brave hasn't rounded this corner yet, but I have to imagine that a future feature addition will be trading access to content for payments in BAT. When that happens, whether I care about the volatility will depend on the implementation. If content prices are in dollars, then yes, I suppose I have to accept some of the uncertainty that goes with the fluctuating exchange rate. If it's BAT that I trade for my content, then no--I already got _n_ tokens, they're redeemable for the same amount of content, their market value is meaningless to me. But whatever the case, I'll take it or leave it as a whole, depending on whether it's worth it to me.

> saving a few pennies on transaction costs

The transactions we're talking about (one per ad viewed) are probably in the fractions of a cent. The "few pennies" you refer to is going to be the vast majority of the overall cost of each one (supposing you use traditional payment rails). So yes, an exchange fee on the way in, and another one on the way out, would be far better.

As far as how the content creators feel about bearing the brunt of the volatility... I hate to sound callous, but as a consumer it's not my problem to consider such things. Either the industry finds a way to provide a product that's worth it to me, or it doesn't. I don't buy any other product based on how difficult it was to manufacture, I buy it based on how much it's worth to me. Why should content be any different?

The hassle of keeping track of whether I'm logged into my Washington Post account, my New York times account, etc... and on which device... will never be worth more to me than the content that those sites provide, so the only pay-for-content model I'll patronize is one that distributes my money based on how my attention is allocated without requiring me to guess today where my attention will be tomorrow--and Brave is shaping up to be exactly that.


>If it's BAT that I trade for my content..

This is just pushing the problem one step removed.

Is it not only relevant what you trade for your groceries?

If you can find someone to take BAT for that, in stable exchange rates, then your point stands.

If you have to acquire $ then what the exchange rate is for $ to BAT comes back into relevance.

Again, perpetually trading BAT back and forth for showing ads/watching ads is restating my premise about holding BAT.

Whether people will be willing to do so greatly depends on exchange rates and volatility.


Once you can have a single BAT wallet that is used by all your devices (another feature that I assume is in the works), it will make a bit more sense to buy BAT with dollars (instead of with ad views).

If you're making that purchase, you might as well time it with a down-swing in the price (or away from an up-swing). Some users will spend more cycles on timing their buys than others, and those users will have a stabilizing effect on the price.

Also, the price of BAT in USD over the last 60 days has stayed between 0.12 and 0.24... it's not exactly as crazy as you're making it out to be.


Apparently you can use BAT for groceries: https://www.reddit.com/r/BATProject/comments/dvfpig/i_bought...


Getting BAT on an exchange is needlessly complex and painful (and actually impossible for a lot of people without handing the exchange all their personal details up to and including passport).

I would much prefer to just give brave my CC details, regardless of what internal currency they’re using for rewarding content.


The creators end up getting a crapto token at the end of it and then have to wait a long time to accumulate enough to justify the time, hassle and transaction fees to turn it back into actual money they can spend on beer/rent/etc. All for some tiny fraction of the browser market.

Meanwhile people are living off Patreon and other services like it.


> The creators end up getting a crapto token at the end of it and then have to wait a long time to accumulate enough to justify the time, hassle and transaction fees to turn it back into actual money they can spend on beer/rent/etc. All for some tiny fraction of the browser market.

The same would be true for actual dollars... you would have to wait for it to get high enough to justify the transaction fees but also the service time. Most service won't let you take it out until your cash reach an high limit. With a concurrency, at worse you can keep using it in other alternative ways (at a bare minimum, on your web browsing in this case).


I'm reasonably sure USD (or EUR) will still exist, have some reasonably similar value, and be usable in five years. There are quite a lot of crypto tokens I do not have anywhere near that level of confidence in.


I'm reasonably sure USD (or EUR) will still exist, have some reasonably similar value, and be usable in five years.

Sure, but even with an inflation rate of 2%, if you hold USD for 10 years, its purchasing power is cut in half.

Every BAT token that’s ever going to exist has already been minted, so it can’t be inflated by creating more of it. There will be no quantitive easing, “too big to fail” or bailouts in the BAT ecosystem.

That almost certainly will not be the case for either the dollar or the Euro.


> Sure, but even with an inflation rate of 2%, if you hold USD for 10 years, its purchasing power is cut in half.

So what will be the purchasing power of BAT in 10 years?


As currently constructed, BAT is designed to be used quickly. Nobody should hodl BAT at this point unless we see it gain value and become fully fleshed out.

Given that there’s no doubt there will be at least one financial crash with the dollar and other fiat currencies, there’s a more than decent chance BAT will outperform the dollar in the next 10 years, which frankly, wouldn't be too difficult.


> I'm reasonably sure USD (or EUR) will still exist, have some reasonably similar value, and be usable in five years. There are quite a lot of crypto tokens I do not have anywhere near that level of confidence in.

Nothing stop you from exchanging it as soon as you can.

If the website would be offering USD instead of BAT, you would still not be able to retrieve it until it reach a amount big enough to take out (Google Ads is at 100$, 25$ for international user on Patreon). Until it's actual USD in your bank account, it's not better than BAT and depends on the existence of the service. The difference is that BAT, you can still use it if you decide to, right now.


Try using USD or EUR at 5 or more decimal points.


A creator would be far better served with coming up with a monetisation model that means they can make USD/EUR/whatever from Patreon (or their own PayPal/Stripe subscription etc.), than hoping for tiny nano-payments of cryptodosh from a niche interest web browser.


Ok, but the difference with waiting to accumulate dollars vs waiting to accumulate crypto currency is that with crypto you are subject to massive currency fluctuations while you wait to cash out.

Just look at BAT price volatility and decline over last year.


> Ok, but the difference with waiting to accumulate dollars vs waiting to accumulate crypto currency is that with crypto you are subject to massive currency fluctuations while you wait to cash out.

Most exchange won't let you cash out over small amounts, but you can still exchange it. You aren't subject to fluctuation if it's already exchanged.

It's so weird the amount of misinformation here... I know that people here may hate cryptocurrencies, but it's the same thing as having it stored somewhere in a DB. The only difference is that you can actually do something with it.


Nowhere near as bad as the ecosystem around crypto, which is absolutely filled with scammers and criminals.

Give me real money every day, I'm happy to pay a small fee in order to not have to deal with the hive of scum and villainy that is the cryptocurrency market.


Google had something that did this, where it would show you pictures of cats instead of ads, but still allowed you to pay the website a couple pennies:

https://contributor.google.com/v/beta

Unfortunately, it only worked on Google ads, which is something like 40-55% coverage, so you would still see some ads from other networks. Not sure what they're doing with it now, but it was nicer than dealing with funbucks.


Me too, and I’m sure so would Brave. But it’s not really possible with dollars.

Flattr tried it a while back where you could set aside 5 euro per month, or whatever, and they would distribute it to the stuff you liked the most. But the transaction fees were high for them and it was hard to do super small payouts.

This is a crypto case that makes sense. I’m not quite sure how they will keep an exchange rate with the dollar as the only thing you can buy with it is cash to content. So you can buy BAT from Brave.


The transaction fee hits two places. Once when money goes into the system and once when money goes out. If I spend $5/month and split it 50 ways there is no reason to pay a transaction fee on each 5cent transfer because it’s within the system.

Twitch’s bits are a great example of this system.


I think the point was a low participation system relative to the web as a whole has meant systems where many bloggers accumulatad less than a withdraw transaction fee each. Aside from that, they need all the bother of registration.

I'm not really sure how I feel about the idea that everyone should be accumulating money on all these things. It kind of devalues things to have people trying to make a lot from micropayments mixed with a more hobby web. I think I've eventually turned away from everything that had some get rich quick schemers show up.


Why not? How do the ad buyers buy the ads which Brave are selling you?

So yeah, all they have to do is to peg their currency to the dollar and it makes the whole discussion trivial. You get your content, content creators get paid, Brave get paid.


I haven’t done it, but based on the configs I saw when setting up Brave, I believe that is an option as well.


You can, though requires jumping through all the usual KYC hoops for buying a cryptocurrency, since that's what they use for micropayments. All managed through Uphold.


BAT is etherium based. If you happen to own some Ether it should be possible to buy BAt without (additional) KYC striptease.


BAT is in all major (and minor) exchanges so it should be easy to/from any cryptocurrency


Why does it seem wrong? Internet ads use your internet connection and time. Why should I watch them for free?


Presumably you are viewing ads on a website that is giving you some sort of value so you aren't doing it for free.


In my experience the most valuable websites have few ads and the most trashy websites have the most.


So why are you frequenting these 'trashy' sites? If you are, it must be because they offer some value, right? If you're not... then you don't see any ads from them. Someone else will, because they find value in the site.


Not really, sometimes you search for some information (camera review, headphones review, medical information, toys, whatever) and instead of landing on some site that has good information you end up on some crap site with crap content and tons of ads.

Why? Because owner of that site had resources to do SEO (if one has money, one can trick Google algorithms without much trouble). How they earned that money? Through ads, obviously.

The more ads such site has, the more revenue comes in and more money can be spend on SEO to increase revenue. And so one.

Who pays for that? Those who landed on such site, they wasted time, read some potentially infomercial content.

This ads -> money -> SEO -> more ads -> money is not particularly beneficial for the economy. This looks like one more incarnation of Gresham-Copernicus law - bad content is pushing away good content. If you spend money on content, you don't spend them on SEO, so you earn less money from ads and finally you end up on 5th Google results page and that's the end.


Because the trashy sites are also the best at SEO (and google isn't properly incentivized to punish them for their ads) so you end up seeing them by accident.


Maybe trashy is the wrong word, but rather "low-effort" or "repetitive".

A whole lot of news articles are just regurgitated Reuters or AP. There's nothing wrong with that and it is a valuable service. But I am completely indifferent to these sites existence.

The sites that I would really care about if they went under, like HN, Wikipedia, NYT, etc, either use subscriptions or are donation funded. HN has job ads but they are super low key.


The real question is: Why should you watch them at all?


Because you're probably not paying for 99% of the contents that your web browser loads.


But that's exactly what the ancestor comment was suggesting

>I would personally much rather allocate actual dollars instead of CryptoBuckOfTheDay backed by ads I have no desire to ever watch. Say, $20/month that gets allocated to sites I visit. The whole "reward people for watching ads" model just seems... wrong.


If you don't want to provide free content then stop publishing on the web, a free medium.


You're confusing what is technically possible with what is ethical.


Advertising isn't ethical. It is lies and manipulation.


Hey, remember OTA television? That is also a free medium. Where did this notion come from?


And you have the freedom to block/skip ads from your TV, too.


Or course you do, but you also seem to think no one should be using the web if they want to make ad revenue.

>If you don't want to provide free content then stop publishing on the web, a free medium.

How would that not also apply to television?


If you want to provide TV content, go for it. But if your content has ads, don't be surprised when people skip all the ads, because ads are offensive, and they're free to skip them. So that's an awkward business model to rely on. The consumers aren't the ones being unethical; you chose to put yourself in an aggressive and dubious position in the first place. I prefer public and collectively-funded broadcasting.


I was only commenting on the "...then don't publish on the web" bit, which you seem to be back peddling on.


Ah I see what you're getting at now. Sure, ads are unethical and they shouldn't publish them, but since they will anyway, and it would be too heavyhanded to prevent them (by making it illegal, say), we should look at ways to defend ourselves against them.


They're not paying me for the compute resources their suspicious unnecessary JavaScript payload consumes. If they were good actors respecting my property, I would respect theirs.


> The whole "reward people for watching ads" model just seems... wrong.

And it's not new either. Tried many times in the past, and ends up not being enough for 'real' users to care, but people will try to exploit it.


If you're interested in this model, we're looking for early beta users: https://www.intertimes.org


I think it's possible to do that with the Brave Rewards program, as long as one verifies the rewards wallet with Upheld and then deposits money from a bank account to the wallet.


It's so sad that Xanadu never took off.

It was envisioned exactly like that


It's impossible to transact in actual dollars online. Dollars are made of cloth. When you use a checking account or credit card online, it's using crypto.

You can buy BAT and send it to a site owner.


Can someone explain to me this, as i could not find any real answers from my few minutes of searching. Lets say i have a blog and suddenly people start sending me BAT.

1. How does this impact my taxes? Wouldn't this be considered an income?

2. If i don't collect it where does it go?

3. If my content is being hosted on something like youtube or github do i get it or does the site hosting it get it?

4. How do i go about claiming that i own this, and how is this even verified?

After reading their FAQ, basically to collect any money you need to sign up for an uphold account. In order to become verified on Uphold i need to provide a random company a copy of my passport/drivers license/etc to verify my identity. On top of this they also take 1.95% conversion fee for working with BAT. Ontop of the 5% that Brave already takes by default.

On top of this if you are lets say a Twitch streamer sign up for Brave Rewards, but Twitch doesn't sign up as a publisher on Brave. According to the documentation you apparently get nothing? Where do those tokens go if someone donates?


The tokens get set aside (tracked only in the user's browser) but nothing happens until you verify on https://creators.brave.com/

Once you verify, the tokens will leave the user's wallet and are put into a wallet (called a card) with Brave partner Uphold. If you want to convert the tokens to your local currency and put into your account, there's a "Know Your Customer" process that the government makes sure is enforced

Tax-wise, I'm not sure how that works (great question). Besides manually converting to your currency and depositing to your bank, Uphold has a debit card that will automatically do the conversion if you use it when shopping


> there's a "Know Your Customer" process that the government makes sure is enforced

Which government, the US one? Who is the customer here, the person being paid?


All first world countries and many others with developed financial systems put laws in-place on their financial institutions (like banks) and all money transmitters. They are required to get specific licenses and one of the key parts of these various licenses is "Knowing Your Customer". The intent is to prevent money laundering. Essentially, governments regulate these financial institutions and require them to know who exactly they are dealing with (sometimes there is a minimum amount that is interesting for them, other governments require it for everyone regardless of value).


According to Wikipedia: Australia, Canada, India, Italy, South Korea, Namibia, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States, Luxembourg, Singapore, and Japan

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_your_customer#Laws_by_cou...


I don't think that's supposed to be a comprehensive list


People can't suddenly start sending you BAT.

They can attempt to send you BAT in the browser, but it shows that you're an unverified creator, so the browser essentially 'holds' the BAT and attempts to send to you for a period of time (I think 90 days).

You sign up at https://creators.brave.com/ for your website / reddit / github / twitter / soundcloud / etc and verification happens depending on the platform, then you're shown as a registered creator in the browser when someone visits.

You get the BAT donation and just like any income would have to consider tax implications.


How might multiple owners of content / distribution work? Some example scenarios:

1. Github.com wants X% of BAT for hosting the FOSS project.

2. A set of core contributors want X%s of BAT, with the owner getting Y%.

3. #1 and #2 combined.


> rather than intrusive in-page ads, Brave ads show up as a notification in your operating system

I'm sorry, how is that not orders of magnitudes MORE intrusive?


One of my biggest gripes with modern software is using notifications for things that shouldn't actually be notifications. IMO, marketing/advertising NEVER should be a notification. Notifications are for things where you find value in being interrupted such as receiving a message from someone you know or letting you know you have an appointment upcoming so you don't miss it. They're not there to tell you about some arbitrarily made up sale or discount. Any app that abuses notifications is instantly uninstalled from my phone which is why I have so few apps.


Brave ads don't track you around the web and sell your data to other advertisers. Brave ads don't slow down the pages your browsing, or get in the way of the content you're trying to view. And, Brave ads are optional; you only view them if you want to support the pages/news sites/YouTube channels you're viewing.


Total propaganda war here. No they are not opt in for a site, you opt in and then they always show, you only share tokens if you choose to do so.

And who tells me brave is not tracking me? If anything they have even better data than eg Google.


>No they are not opt in for a site

The parent never claimed that. And since the ads aren't tied to specific sites I'm not even sure how that would make sense.

>And who tells me brave is not tracking me? If anything they have even better data than eg Google.

Feel free to examine their privacy policy and their source code. If you find they are doing something contrary to what they claim please be kind enough to share your findings. Just as you would for Firefox, Linux, or any other open-source software.

Until then, it's fine to be sceptical but can you please dial back the inflammatory "propaganda war" rhetoric. It's unnecessary.


Nope; Brave uses zero knowledge proofs to show you ads based on your browsing history without needing identifying information: https://news.bitcoin.com/zero-knowledge-proofs-tech-behind-b...

>A Zero-knowledge proof or Zero-knowledge protocol (ZKP) is a cryptographic method wherein the identity of the proof bearer is separated from the authenticity or truth of the proof – the cryptographic proof requires no extra trust or knowledge to be verified by its recipient. The system used by Brave is based on Anonize.


It is a lot more intrusive in my experience. I'd get notifications about random blockchain conferences all the time before I figured I had to disable brave rewards to get rid of them.


This seems like a great alternative funding model for the web. Modern online advertising has a lot of issues (privacy, intrusiveness) but most users don't want to directly pay for the sites they browse either (i.e. the subscription model). By displaying ads controlled by the browser rather than the website, the user gets a lot more control over the ads they see (solving the privacy and intrusiveness problem), while still supporting the websites they visit without paying for them directly.

The only major problem with this funding model that I can see is that it provides no incentive for users to contribute to the websites they visit at all. They can just as easily block ads and not replace that revenue with anything, which is actually the default behavior. It's essentially moving from a web funded by advertising to a web funded by donations; and based on past experience in using donations to fund open source projects I can't really see that model working out well for anyone but large, popular websites with minimal operational costs.

Though on the other hand, Brave does eliminate a lot of the friction associated with the typical donations model. Maybe they'll be more effective at soliciting donations on behalf of websites than previous efforts have been. It's hard to know for sure.


> They can just as easily block ads and not replace that revenue with anything, which is actually the default behavior.

This is important. I’m already blocking ads. Brave at least let’s me give something back.

There is no world where I don’t run the strictest ad blocker available.


Just curious, what is your opinion on Ethical Ads (no tracking, cookies, selling data)?


I’m fine with them. My issue with ads is the data/cpu use and the malware. I ignored ads for 15 years or so before getting my first ad blocker.

I’m not against ads that aren’t intrusive and don’t mine my data and try to target me.

I’m not against targeted ads because I think the ads are bad. I’m against the data necessary to target ads because it can be misused (law enforcement, politics, mental health, etc).


Alright, so now instead of mining for bitcoin, everyone is going to be making money directly from advertisers by running virtual machines where they simulate a human interacting with the internet for BAT?

Do I have to solve captchas to qualify for brave rewards?

Can I make more money from being advertised to by being wealthy, and thus more valuable to advertise to or does brave capture all of that? Does no one capture that? Do I still get paid if I don't click through stuff? Do I get paid more if I do? How does brave verify that an ad has even been rendered? I doubt that it's terribly difficult to fool brave into believing that it has successfully rendered an ad at the maximum rate. Is it merely a violation of the ToS and if they "catch you" your bitcoins are forfeit? Is BAT a currency? When they confiscate your BAT, what is the legal process involved?

What if I want to launder a tremendous amount of money? Is brave going to suddenly make that a lot easier?

What if I have a massive botnet on the home computers of the elderly and I want to monetize it, does Brave help me do that?


You disable competitors ads to show your own. Something is wrong with it.


I think this largely ignores "how" ads are distributed. The website you are looking at did not select _any_ of the ads you see. They chose a network who is delegating that placement to someone else. Depending on which ad network, this could delegated by several different ad networks until an advertiser is finally selected by the final intermediary.

In principle this may not be a very important distinction. However, I often think that I would stop blocking ads _IF_ the website I was looking at had actually vetted the ad I was seeing. I do not want to see so much garbage just for visiting a website. For example: I block all ads from theverge.com, not because their content is bad, but because I find the outbrain ads at the bottom of the page so asinine and tasteless that I'd rather not see any ads.

To continue on with theverge example, If they actually had selected the individual ads they were placing, I'd be totally fine with that. But I am not fine with them delegating that responsibility to another company that clearly is not up to handling the task.


> The website you are looking at did not select _any_ of the ads you see.

That's irrelevant. In general the content creator gets to choose how their content gets monetized. They own the copyright after all.

That ads blocking isn't considered yet a copyright violation in the court of law probably has to do with the upsides, like protecting against malware and privacy.

But blocking ads for commercial reasons, like Brave is doing, only to replace those ads with their own, that's just racketeering and I hope to see them lose in a court of law.

---

> I do not want to see so much garbage just for visiting a website

Then stop vising that website and go to alternative websites that treat you better. Voting with your wallet works.

Also a lot of websites these days offer subscriptions. I bet for example that 99.9% of HN visitors don't pay for subscriptions to their favorite publications.

Which would just go to show how self entitled we feel to getting other people's work for free.

---

Note that I am using browser extensions, like uBlock Origin or Privacy Badger, but I'm only doing so for privacy reasons.

And I'll never trust Brave with my privacy, sorry.


The final point you made, where you stated:

> Note that I am using browser extensions, like uBlock Origin or Privacy Badger, but I'm only doing so for privacy reasons.

is, I think, very relevant to the entire discussion. With the way browsers work, and the way the web works, blocking ads is well "within" the allowed scope of the internet. I, you, we never explicitly consented to browser tracking. It was created when there were no rules. After it had been happening for a very long time, it was added to large TOS & Privacy agreements, and by then, was so ubiquitous that we had no where else to go.

Publishers have power over you to put ads in their pages and track you across the internet. I have a problem with both the quality of those ads and the method in which they are delivered. I still have some power over whether or not I see ads, so I chose to exercise it.


I’m not sure how you can use the internet to distribute your content and claim copyright over how the user consumes the content. You’re distributing code to a user. The user can interact with that code however they see fit via their browser. That is the nature of the internet. Anything else (I’m looking at you Washington Post Subscription Runtime) is trying to have things both ways.

Just because a content owner copyrights the content does not mean they can control the user’s environment once the content has been provided to the user - unless of course you own that too (cough Kindle cough). Thank God we still have options for web browsers.


> Voting with your wallet works.

But it doesn't, not in this case. Very few people want to manage a separate payment stream, and a separate login, for each content provider on the off chance that they might stumble across that provider's content. And those that do don't want to pay a flat rate for access to content that they might never stumble across in a given payment period.

My uncle used to give me a lot of grief for getting my music via bittorrent--but it was never about avoiding having to pay for content, it was about objecting to a monetization model (DRM) that was less convenient than its free alternatives. I started paying for music just as soon as Spotify made it easier to pay than it was to pirate.

Ads are the same way. I don't mind paying for my content, but blocking ads and circumventing paywalls is currently less work than the hassle of managing a fleet of flat rate subscriptions. Brave offers an alternative where you only have to move dollars once (buying BAT and funding your browser's wallet), and the money is thereafter distributed according to which content you spend more time viewing.

It solves a problem that no other "voting with your wallet" way currently does.

I'll confess that I'm not currently using brave that way, but it's only because they don't currently support a unified wallet across browsers. Once I have to manage just a single BAT balance, though, I intend to keep the shields up and the contributions flowing, and set up recurring transfers into the BAT wallet from my bank account.


Brave isn't replacing ads with their own, and you have to opt-in to see any of Brave's ads in the first place.

As far as privacy, that's your prerogative. But I trust Brave more than I trust Chrome.


Don't really see your point.


They don't choose the brave ads either.

In return you get shown ads - and they get nothing unless they give in and sign up for another service that may or may not actually pay them something.


Showing ads is something users have to opt-in to see (using Brave Rewards). Users can turn off ad-blocking globally if they missed the ads, but blocking them (ads/trackers) is one of the main draws to downloading Brave, IMO


10 (5?) years ago, that used to be called malware.


It's not malware if it's done at the users request. And the user is free to display the web pages it downloads in any way they want.


Users willingly installed toolbars too.


And if it was truly willing, and the toolbar only did what it claimed it would do, then it wasn't malware.


It is nice analogy. Sophisticated malware disabled competitor's malware to be the one and only, acting like antivirus software.


About fifteen years ago, this was called Gator:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claria_Corporation


You don't have a right to show ads to users. (The CFAA actually works in consumers' favor here: circumventing a user's adblocker is just as much of a crime as hacking into a server.) You do have a right to refuse service to users with adblockers, but to my knowledge Brave doesn't interfere with sites that do this - I still can't get past the paywalls on WSJ/NYTimes/Bloomberg.


I preferred the Flattr model, of just paying the content creators directly without the ad middle ground. I don't really see why I should use Brave over something like Firefox with uBlock Origin.

I actually drop people on Patreon when they start adding ads or sponsors into their podcasts or videos. I would rather people be fully supported by their fans instead of double dipping into both fan support and adverts.


I don't really see why I should use Brave over something like Firefox with uBlock Origin.

Because ad blockers are just add-ons, they can be circumvented. Also, many ad blockers allow advertisers to pay them to allow their ads to get through: https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:G3lu90...


many do, but uBlock Origin does not. Ad Block, Ad Block Plus and uBlock all allow advertisers who pay them. uBlock Origin so far has not sold out, and should be the only one people suggest.

Although Mozilla has had it's own questionable stuff going on, I still believe in the Mozilla organization. We need browser engine diversity, and with Microsoft Titan/Edge engine going away, the only alternative to Blink/Webkit variants is Gecko (I wish Microsoft would just open source their Edge engine).

I honestly don't want all that shit in the core of the browser. They should be extensions, so you can take the things you want. It's why Jenkins seems like crap when you first use it compared to other build tools, until you leverage the ecosystem of Jenkins plugins.


What makes an extension easier to circumvent?

Your second sentence is true for adblock plus, but not ublock origin


Also, built-in support for Tor, WebTorrent, MetaMask and IPFS.


In some ways, this looks promising: Maybe in a few years, they'll be supporting many more countries and payment providers. I'm not overly skeptical about Brave being able to become a viable alternative to my current go-to browsers either — though I hope Safari and Firefox will keep ramping up privacy-protecting features, and I think for the purpose of getting Brave Rewards to critical mass, it would be best to provide plug-ins for integrating that functionality with other browsers as well.

But I see one big problem: For a significant amount of media, a browser isn't the most desirable content delivery mechanism. Take Youtube, for example. The web site is great on PC, but on mobile, the native apps are much better. There's no way those will add support for Brave Rewards, and the chances of the browser-based version catching up don't look so good either. Similarly, there's music streaming, podcasts, F2P games …

I don't want to be in a situation where I have to choose between accessing content in the way I prefer and jumping though hoops for the sake of shuffling those precious BATs around.

Equating the value I'd assign to a creator's work with the time I spend on perusing it seems quite iffy, too.

Meanwhile, Patreon already has most of these issues solved; in a super simple way.

I used to be interested in Brave because of their pro-privacy stance. The more I think about that BAT stuff, the less attractive I find the entire project. I can give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they're idealists striving to build an ecosystem where everyone can help to create valuable on-line content, rather than entrepreneurs trying to syphon a portion of existing revenue streams into their accounts. But then I'm inclined to question their competence.


Sorry, this must be very basic but I've never been able to make sense of one thing about Brave's model. You say that users can get paid in BAT to watch ads. But Brave is open-source. So is there anything preventing me to fork the browser to pretend to display the ads and reap the rewards without actually displaying them? Doesn't this break the whole system?


> So is there anything preventing me to fork the browser to pretend to display the ads and reap the rewards without actually displaying them? Doesn't this break the whole system?

Even if it were closed-source, technically there's nothing stopping you from binary patching your browser to do the same thing. But then again, there's nothing stopping you from putting an ad-blocker in your normal browser; and faking clicks on your own website to "milk" advertisers is already a thing that has to be dealt with.

I don't think either Brave's model, or its being open-source fundamentally changes the issues facing ad-supported systems.


But calling BAT a "token", and running it as a blockchain, would seem to imply that it has some kind of value... If I can just receive it by running a headless patched version of Brave that pretends to show ads, then how could one expect it to have any value?

Note that, with the current ad system, there is some fraud detection in place for fake clicks. But if users receive tokens when the browser "shows" an ad, which kind of abuse detection could there be if the browser or OS or whatever just filters out the ad?


I ran an information site for an Ethereum project[1] and was pleased to see that our first revenue came from visitors' BAT donations. It wasn't a lot of money. But, it was fully automatic and easy to use. Our site earned BAT before we even signed up as a publisher. I signed up to claim the money.

[1] https://predictions.global/


And if you don't sign up, does Brave just keep the money for themselves?


No, it stays in the user's wallet (set aside) until you sign up


Can the user un-set it aside and spend it on something else?


I wonder why they chose to use (yet another) crypto currency for this.


It's also critical that it be a currency not used for any purpose other than advertising. The point of BAT is to price attention: users have the option of opting out of ads, if they do so it means less BAT available for purchase, which raises the price of BAT, which increases the rewards for opting into ads, which means more people opt in, which leads to an equilibrium price. If they had used say Monero for this, they'd really be pricing drugs and then piggybacking on that with an ad system, which would destroy any market pricing mechanism that they get.


> which raises the price of BAT

Why would the price of BAT raise when uses opt out of ads?


Two mechanisms:

1.) Less inventory. Advertisers bid for spots on the platform, which means that if there're fewer users accepting advertisers, the remaining spots will require more BAT, which requires purchasing more BAT on the open market. Higher demand + constant supply = higher price.

2.) Fewer user rewards. Users receive BAT when browsing, which they can either tip to creators or sell on an exchange (I'm not sure the latter option is available right now). Unless the users or creators are themselves advertisers, there's no use for BAT though, other than selling it to an advertiser. So when fewer users are receiving BAT, there's less available for purchase on exchanges. Constant demand + reduced supply = higher price.


> Less inventory. Advertisers bid for spots on the platform, which means that if there're fewer users accepting advertisers, the remaining spots will require more BAT, which requires purchasing more BAT on the open market.

Doesn't this assume that advertisers would be willing to pay more for fewer eyeballs? That seems like a pretty big assumption.


If they aren't, then the price remains unchanged, advertisers drop out of the market for BAT, and fewer ads are served. Again, you reach equilibrium, except that people who do not feel the current price of BAT is worth their attention don't have to put up with ads, marginal advertisers who get little value out of the advertising don't run them, and Brave makes less money. This also creates incentives on Brave to ensure that their advertisements are targeted effectively (so advertisers are willing to pay more), that they're unobtrusive (so users are willing to put up with more), and that the market for BAT is efficient (so value isn't lost in transaction costs).

Markets and negative feedback mechanisms are extremely powerful things. Most of the things wrong with the modern corporate economy can be traced back to markets being replaced by hierarchical organizations with positive feedback mechanisms (eg. corporations having more money with which to buy up competitors, which leads to increased pricing power, which leads to more money to buy up more competitors; or increased lobbying spending leading to favorable regulations, which keeps competitors out, which raises prices, which leads to more money for lobbyists).


You need some sort of cryptocurrency for this as microtransactions don't really work in the legacy system. Also by using their own token they can boot strap the ecosystem cheaply as they can mint the tokens themselves with the value accruing later after network participants are onboarded and transacting.


I spend a lot of time studying blockchain and Ethereum and wanted to clarify your remarks.

  You need some sort of cryptocurrency for this as
  microtransactions don't really work in the legacy
  system.
Yes, you're right: Ethereum has lower transaction costs, lower non-monetary transaction costs, and ERC20 tokens are interoperable with other Ethereum-based services.

  Also by using their own token they can boot strap
  the ecosystem cheaply as they can mint the tokens
  themselves with the value accruing later after
  network participants are onboarded and transacting.
This is a common sentiment that I believe is incorrect: if a project could use ETH or USDC instead of its own token, but still function correctly, then that token is malpractice. Such tokens are a blight on the blockchain industry.

Projects like Augur and MakerDAO must have their own token or they wouldn't work at all. Augur and MakerDAO have healthy token economics.

I'm not an expert on BAT token economics, but I believe Brave would have been much better off using ETH itself or a stablecoin. afaik Brave's microtransactions don't require BAT to work and that makes BAT a bad token.


> Projects like Augur and MakerDAO must have their own token or they wouldn't work at all

Why?


For MakerDAO, there is basically the "DAO shareholders" who profit from fees, but are the ones who will lose if the peg is not resolved. And for the other token, DAI, it needs a $1 peg and not pegged to etheruem.


microtransactions don't work on cryptocurrency...


I disagree, there are many out there that are good at micro-transactions.

My personal favorite example is:

https://www.stellar.org/papers/stellar-consensus-protocol.pd...

Transactions take a few seconds, 10000 transactions per $.01 as well as no mining for coins so it is not a bad coin for climate change compared to say Bitcoin and the mining farms.

Just my $0.02


Perhaps what is meant by "don't work" relates more to the value/price/volatility vs actual transaction functionality.

What you describe above has to be weighed against loss of value for holding until accumulating enough to trade for $ no, as well as general fees associated with trading for $ generally?

Else what really is the point, if maintaining the value transferred isn't possible?


Stellar also supports the creation of stablecoins [1], which tend to have a consistent price relative to some other asset (Often USD).

The way stellar works is pretty smart, if I have some currency on the stellar network and you only accept some other currency, it automatically looks for people willing to exchange them to find you a good rate. So even if few people use your favorite stablecoin you can still accept payments in it.

[1]: https://cointelegraph.com/news/ibm-backs-new-us-dollar-pegge...


This only used to be true. The state of the art of Ethereum has very effective microtransactions. This will improve again by orders of magnitude within the next three years.

For example, see https://comingsoon.idex.io/ which is state of the art.


Not true.

The Lightning Network allows microtransactions on the bitcoin blockchain quickly and cheaply; since it went into production last year, over 10,000 nodes have joined and there's over $7 million in network liquidity: https://1ml.com


There are now three topics you can't discuss in polite company. Politics, Religion, and Blockchain. Just smile and change the subject.


> Politics, Religion, and Blockchain

but you repeat yourself?


I'm constantly shocked by how any mention of blockchains is enough make masses of HNers look like absolute luddites. It's just another datastructure that happens to have an above-average level of hype surrounding it.


Hi, I maintained code with a Merkle tree before Satoshi picked his pen name. I’m just not impressed by the consensus algorithm. It’s not that I’m a Luddite, it’s that I understand some things about it that others don’t and will be tricked by.

In short, I see you all as a little nefarious, with a heap of woo to rival some other boondoggles we’ve recently gotten over.


Blockchain is not just a data structure. It has an associated political philosophy (ancap) and get rich quick schemes (ICOs/currencies).

When NoSQL was big a decade ago nobody thought it would upend society or make everyone millionaires.


It’s also one of the dumbest consensus protocols in use. It’s a compromise to get what they wanted out of blockchain but nobody will admit it. Which makes me wonder about the rest of their claims. It’s intellectually dishonest and money is involved. No thank you.


Anonymity. You can use the system without ever having to type your mail address or credit card.


Identity is much more than a name, a mail address or a credit card. Blockchain transparency means anyone can trace all your transactions.


So that they can't control who gives money to whom? Unlike google/patreon who can take away your ad/tips revenue stream with flimsy excuses.


people will provide all kinds of reasons but let's be real... it's so they can get rich. they own an enormous amount of BAT just like any stakeholders in a newly created cryptocurrency.


I'd assume to limit how much transaction costs for microtransactions from many users. Credit cards are awful for small transactions, so you buy a bulk of BAT every month to reduce transactional overhead and then let creators cash out when they have some threshould of BAT. They could have done it way simpler than a cryptocurrency, though, by just using a floating point number in a database somewhere, but I'm assuming they assume a distributed ledger is more secure somehow.


>so you buy a bulk of BAT every month

Why is nobody considering the exchange rate volatility here? Endless comments about saving a few pennies, while massive depreciation from holding large quantities in volatile crypto blow away any benefit of not using dollars.


volatility is just a risk, a possibilty to loose money/value. Or even to gain. Transaction costs, on the other hand, are a certainty.


Measures of volatility greatly impact perceived value of whatever it is you are holding/investing in. Don't try to make the claim to me that high volatility will have no effect on both sides of this market demanding BAT. That's silly talk.

If you want to try to tell me risk and volatility don't enter into decisions on which assets the market values, then you expose yourself as being as naive as I presume many buying into this idea are.


As I mentioned further up in the thread (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21532097), BAT is an ERC-20 token and can be easily converted to a stablecoin, which is pegged to $1 USD per token. So if you can avoid that if you want to.


I'm aware of so-called stable coins. The risk with them is you must trust they have the backing & will make good on your claim. Now, since Brave is a company dealing with customers and content creators who actually have to get paid by them, they already must be trusted...so I do think this would have a been a better way to go.

I understand that crypto can be converted "easily". But how does that square with storing BAT in your wallet for long periods of time to frictionlessly use it to pay content-creators? Is "eaily converting" (presumably quickly with very small "hodl" periods) consistent with how the token is supposed to be used: stored on a wallet, collected by content creators periodically?


The short answer: for many Brave and BAT users are just going to do the standard thing of using the BAT they earn to support content creators. These folks aren’t concerned with volatility.

Users who are interested in building a business in the BAT ecosystem requires a different use case.

Now, if the BAT ecosystem takes off and it becomes possible to build a business using BAT, there will be all kinds of services to help content creators deal with the gobs of BAT they may collect.

Uphold, who is Brave’s partner that provides wallet services already has a bunch of useful services if someone has a non-trivial amount of BAT: https://uphold.com/


Not another.. BAT is Ethereum ERC20 token: https://etherscan.io/token/0x0d8775f648430679a709e98d2b0cb62...


>(yet another)

That part's simple: why wouldn't you want to create money from thin air?


Its about economics, with creating their own currency they have full control over the system and also get all the transaction/service/etc fees.


Presumably, they want BAT to be publicly tradeable. Hard to do with a central currency.


What central currency isnt publicly tradable? Thats the whole point. US currency even says "for all debts, public and private" on it.


Brave "rewards" started appearing in my Android's notification center without my consent. Seems pretty intrusive to me, and I defiitely did not opt in...


doesn't Brave have to track your browsing history in order to accurately award sites "you visit the most"? Isn't that exactly the issue a lot of people have with ads in the first place?


Nope—Brave uses zero knowledge proofs and other fancy technology so they don’t know anything: https://www.reddit.com/r/BATProject/comments/8v11fr/how_will...


The decisions are all done locally by your browser on your computer.


I'm sure there are no attack targets for malware here.


(employee here) We do take security very seriously and have been able to deliver a 24 hour turn-around when there are Chromium updates (like the recent zero-day bugs which were patched in C78). We also have a bounty program open via hackerone that we take seriously which has helped us improve: https://hackerone.com/brave


Can't you make the exact same argument for people using Firefox or Chrome? That malware on your computer might be able to get at your browsing history is a risk with all browsers, not just Brave.


don't worry, something something blockchain


All the data about you (history, etc) is on your computer (and not shared in any way) :)


I sort of like this concept and was playing with Brave but I still can't explain to you how it works. I wish there were a page where I could see an ad, or something, a page that fully demos what is going on. The wallet page is a little confusing (I need to verify a wallet or something, which seems like it is a laborious process, etc). Seems very cool, but I hope they can keep simplifying it.


if you care about privacy you’d be better off with Mozilla Firefox. Brave is just a Trojan horse for Eich’s ambition to replace google as an ad broker. With a meaningless market share it’s not likely but still, it’s important to know what Brave is about, and it’s not about the users.


Can I just buy BAT with cash and never ever see ads?


Yes, absolutely.


You could skip some steps and install a proper ad blocker. IDK, call me old fashioned.


> Brave ads show up as a notification in your operating system outside of the page

LOL WTF, no!


100% show stopper and most people are glossing right over it.


> if you watch a particular YouTube channel 30% of your browsing time, it will send 30% of 10 BAT each month to that content creator.

But does YouTube get anything? To support their business


Yeah YouTube is really struggling to make ends meet, we need to remember the little guy here.


Whether they're struggling or not under their current revenue system (advertising) is irrelevant when you're talking about destroying their current revenue system (blocking ads) and replacing it with a new one (Brave rewards).


YouTube channel


Sounds awfully close to flattr which didn't fly.


Give me an ad-free option. I'd rather pay a monthly fee to fund the BAT that gets distributed to content creators than to view ads.


You already have that option. BAT can be purchased on Coinbase and other exchanges without viewing any ads.


>You set a budget (e.g. 10 BAT/month)

What if a user doesn't earn 10 BAT a month browsing?

It seems like that system would break down over time.


You aren't really meant to have a "system" of earning and spending BAT that balances each month.

The budget of BAT you set each month comes from your wallet, and is essentially your personal donation to the various websites you use, it's not related to ads. This wallet can run out in the same way any wallet can run out, and you'd have to refill it.

The BAT you can earn from seeing ads is separate and unrelated to that. Maybe it goes into the same wallet but that's not important.

You can do none of them, one of them, the other, or both, but they aren't really two related features. They both just happen to use BAT as their money mechanism.


> The BAT you can earn from seeing ads is separate and unrelated to that. Maybe it goes into the same wallet but that's not important.

I would guess that the vast majority of people would prefer to see their BAT go up when they viewed ads, and down when they paid content creators, and have no more interaction than that. To the viewer, it would be monopoly money, but they'd be happy because advertisers would essentially be paying creators.

The idea that I'd have to actually put my credit card number in somewhere, and think of it as my donations, and advertisers paying me... that's a whole different mindset and has a lot more friction.


Fair enough, but I personally use my credit card to pay several content creators monthly on Patreon, I don't see this as being that different.


Maybe my misunderstanding was more fundamental?

It sounds like you're saying that people can purchase BAT for their wallets? I was thinking along the lines of the only method of acquisition being basically "view the brave ads".

Can users purchase BAT outright for their wallets?


BAT is a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, so yeah, you spend dollars to buy BAT, and put it your brave browser wallet, and decide your monthly donation budget. This is so that you can choose to support web and content creators online without the needs of ads. Think of it as automatic micro-donations based on your browsing.

The ads are a completely separate feature, you enable voluntary ads to be shown to you, and in exchange you get paid a portion of what the advertisers paid to display those ads. This is in contrast to the most common model we have online today, where you view ads in exchange for using free services like gmail or youtube.

It's likely that these two features both use the same BAT wallet tied to your brave browser, but that's the only thing they have in common.


Why would either end users want to put $ into BAT, or content creators accept BAT in lieu of dollar given the massive volatility of BAT relative to $?

If I had stocked up my wallet with $ over the summer, those $'s I exchanged could be up to about 35% less now. We're discussing saving pennies on transaction costs while we lost massive amounts on exchange rate slippage and volatility. This is ridiculously silly, why would creators or users go for this? If you want to say creators will immediately exchange for $, then we must consider trading fees & effort/friction to doing so.

But for users, storing any significant value in a wallet for a more than a day or so is a non starter.


These are common criticisms against cryptocurrency in general, and the answer is pretty much this:

Normally, to accept digital donations, I'd need to have something like a Paypal account, and follow their terms of service (or that of another company like Patreon). If I do anything that company doesn't like, like produce and sell fireworks or draw porn, they will forbid me from using their service and users will be unable to donate to me. Or if I'm in Venezuela and the US embargo the country, the company might block donations to me because they have to by US law.

Cryptocurrencies try to solve this problem by being "neutral" in a way, nobody central truly owns it, and nobody can based on preference, policy or political reasons forbid users from using the system.


Absolutely, and so we're back to (in my opinion) the main valid arguments for cryptocurrency: censorship resistant transactions, and store of value through absolute scarcity immune to political desire to debauch fiat money.

The second case arguably devolves, game-theory wise to the market never valuing subsequent new currencies with much significance compared to Bitcoin. It's the same argument I made above, just replace Bitcoin for $. Why hold BAT if some new crypto might come along and be better. Opening oneself up to appeals to new, "better" currencies based on features means there's never any trust, incentive to, or faith in holding current ones. Those that take this to logical conclusion will only/mostly value Bitcoin.

There will always be some floor on many of these currencies based on censorship resistance, but again that's niche relative to addressable market... and those who in their own minds won't get kicked off payment processors won't have use for a less censorable one. Of course, BAT is less decentralized than Bitcoin so not sure it's immune to political influence (we know who runs Brave).

Donations generally can be achieved with Bitcoin of course. Micro-payment currencies being stable relative to alternatives is the point of contention here. I don't see stability coming anytime soon, therefore I don't see large adoption either. I'll happy to be surprised though.


Important to note that the Brave browser + BAT are also achieving a more private browsing experience compared to a corporate browser and 3rd party ads allowing the tech to be abused to gather as much data on you as possible.


Yes you can but and sell BAT on coinbase for example

https://blog.coinbase.com/buy-and-sell-bat-on-coinbase-454a7...


my issue with brave is the false pretense of caring about our privacy and being better than what's out there they started with then at some point they did a u-turn and went on selling ads... i just can't shake the feeling of that nothing good is coming out of this.


So Brave is tracking all of the content I consume? That will be a hard pass from me, thanks.


Purely client-side. The data never leaves your device so I believe your concern here is misplaced.



Ah there you go. That's exactly why I deleted brave. Make it more annoying, splendid! And in the process demonetise websites and claim it's all for the greater good.


What are you talking about?

If you saw ads, you chose to see ads. And if you're worried about websites losing their monitization, you can disable the ad blocking too.


so instead of spying on the level of websites, it is moving to the level of a browser? And not only aggregated clicks, but detailed statistics of browsing time per user?

Meh.


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