Web Browser Lets You Give Bitcoin Micropayments Instead Of Having To View Ads
The startup balances the publisher-user relationship through a shared revenue program built on digital currency
Web browsers play an important role in the future of digital advertising precisely because they are the lens through which we experience the online world. As more advertisers and publishers face the daunting reality of ad-blockers’ growth, more intermediaries are approaching the tension between web users and paying clients. Brave, a browser/payment platform innovated by Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich, wants to replace standard ads with ads paid for by Brave’s partners and clients. He is quoted in Techcrunch, saying that “If there is a role for ads, they have to be fewer and more effective.”
Eich’s vision sees ad-replacement as the solution to ad-blocking, particularly for the growing audiences already using ad-blocking (ad-blocking cost publishers a good $22bn last year according to PageFair).
From a user perspective, once the browser is launched, users fill their bitcoin wallet or create a new one. They then indicate a monthly amount to pay websites; the browser’s role in this relationship is to distribute the money across websites visited. While users would technically be able to abstain from making micropayments, that is a fairly important behavior in order for Brave to work the way it wants to. This is because the software company’s business model is driven by a revenue share program for both publishers and users. The idea is advertisers pay for impressions, users get paid in bitcoin, and publishers are rewarded for their content as well. (And Brave takes home a 15 percent cut).
“Under this plan, advertisers pay for a certain number of impressions, and Brave aggregates those payments into one sum. Websites that participate in the scheme get 55 percent of the money, weighted by how many impressions are served on their sites. Brave then divvies up the remaining bitcoin between itself, its ad-matching partner, and the users, each getting a 15 percent share.”
At this stage, Brave has raised some $2.5m in private investments but not without causing a big stir with numerous publishers in the United States including key players like Gannett Co. Also, some 1,200 members from the Newspaper Association of America have issued a collective cease-and-desist letter addressing publishers and companies who have bought into Brendan Eich’s vision.
On the other hand, Brave is something to be very excited about. Users will be given the power to reward websites in micropayments and help them establish best practices for their content. As CoinDesk puts it:
“Brave is building a tool that gives power to people who are already blocking ads to voluntarily turn some ads back on in exchange for increased power over their personal information, and what the CEO describes as a higher-quality advertising experience.”