5 min read

Basic Attention Token, A Decent Attempt to Fix the Web

Basic Attention Token, A Decent Attempt to Fix the Web
Photo by Sam Dan Truong / Unsplash

Although this article features a crypto token (BAT), it is not about cryptography. This article is about how monetization on the Internet is broken and one company's attempt to fix it by offering an alternative that rewards creators. That said,  you can check out this article for a quick introduction to cryptocurrency.

There is no denying that the Internet has benefited us all by providing easy access to infinite amount of information. It has brought convenience to our lives, all the while providing a platform for communication and self expression. However, the Internet is not free and the cost go beyond the fees collected by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Those who create the content of the Internet often shoulder the burden of monetizing it. Content is created by writers, bloggers, editors, designers, journalist, photographs, camera operators and a myriade of other professions. Like all people, they need to eat, sleep, have shelter and earn a meaningful salary. This is especially important for people transitioning to the Internet because their traditional media has been eroded (i.e. magazines, newspapers). BAT proposes a system that shift the burden of monetization away from content creators, allowing them to focus on creation while empowering their followers to encourage their favorite creators.

What are traditional monetization strategies?

Most existing content on the Internet is monetized through ads or sponsorship. Depending on the media, ads can be presented through banners, popup, video spots or even sponsored content. Unless you have a high volume of viewership, the payouts from ad platforms are usually minimal. Sponsorship deals are often reserved to the most successful creators, and they are often skewed for the sponsors. If your popularity ever drops, you can expect a sharp decline in this type of revenue.

Photo by Fox / Unsplash

The second most common monetization strategy is to hide content behind subscription services. This provides a constant and predictable revenue stream. However, convincing fans to subscribe to your content can be very challenging, especially since so much content is already available free. In this case, the value provided by the subscription service must be particularly high.

Content creator wanting to monetize their most loyal fans often turn to membership platforms, such as Patreon, which allows them to run a subscription donation service. Fans can decide how much they want to contribute, and receive rewards based on their subscription tier. A content creator can then generate a revenue stream from a smaller audience, but it requires them to create additional content to reward subscribers.

The Solution starts with Brave

Brave is an open-source web browser developed by Brave Software. It is free to download and is available for most popular operating systems including Windows, MacOs, Linux, Android and iOS. Like many browsers on the market, it based on the Chromium web browser. This means most plugins available for Chrome will work with Brave.

The Brave Browser

Brave differentiates itself from other browsers with many features, including the following  :

  • Brave Shields : Protect your privacy by blocking ads and cookies
  • Brave Rewards : Earn rewards for viewing ads
  • Brave VPN : Hide your browsing from your ISP by using the built-in VPN service.
  • Brave Wallet : A built-in replacement for Metamask
  • Brave Talk : Allows private video calls directly from the browser
  • Brave Swap : Swap Etherium tokens directly from the browser
  • Brave Search : A privacy focused search browser

For the purpose of this article, Brave Rewards are particularly interesting.

What does BAT change?

When using the Brave browser, viewers earn BAT (Basic Attention Token)  for viewing ads while browsing the Internet. That viewer can then decide to "tip" content creators with the BAT coins they earned. Although the funds still originate from ads, the content creators do not need to negotiate sponsorships or setup an ad platform. All of this is handle by the Brave Ads network.

Those already using Brave can see the current catalog of ads available in their browser and their corresponding payouts by visiting the following site.

Technodabbler is a proud verified creator.

Content creators only need to sign up to the Brave Creator program and create a crypto wallet with Uphold.  Once verified, visitors of the site can notice the blue check in the triangular BAT icon in the URL bar. They can click on that icon and decide if they would like to reward that particular content creator.

Does it work?

This is actually difficult questions to answer. In the State of the BAT 2022, it was reported that 8 million viewers were earning BAT and over 1.3 million verified creators were accepting BAT tips. However, no mention is given to how much BAT was distributed to content creator. That information appears to be very difficult to find. This could indicate that it more popular to hold the currency, hoping that it will increase in value. The creation of liquidity pools would reinforce this fact.

Despite this, some very promenant publishers have signed up to the creator program. With names like LA Times and ArsTechnica as verified creators, it is difficult to deny that the program has potential.

It remains that the tipping model proposed by Brave depends on the altruism of the Internet community. I use the Brave browser and have found that I rarely distribute my hard earned BAT. However, this might be a good opportunity to finally contribute to pivotal sites like Wikipedia and alleviate my guilt of not contributing to their regular fundraising efforts.

How can you help?

The first step in joining this revolution in Internet monetization is to download and install the Brave browser. Please note that at the time of writing, because of AppStore restriction, the iOS version does not support the Brave Rewards or Wallet feature.

Download the Brave Browser

Those who opt into the Brave Rewards program will have a difficult decision: hold their BAT for greater rewards or gift them to their favorite content creator. At the end of the day, what will you do with your BAT tokens? Feel free to share in the comment section bellow. And don't forget to subscribe ( see bellow ) to receive new publications directly in your inbox, often before they are announced on social platforms.