Blog Opinion

Brave Browser: A Review

March 6, 2019

Brave Browser: A Review

Recently on our podcast (The Coin Boys, a cryptocurrency podcast) we had the opportunity to speak with the Sr. Developer Relations Specialist at Brave, Jonathan Sampson. He was gracious enough to give us some great insight to the Brave Browser and BAT which you can listen to right here.

I had heard of Brave a few months ago and it was a project I was immediately intrigued by. A browser that helps eliminate trackers but can also pay the sites for the content they create. This is what I’ve been waiting for! The question is, does it live up to it’s own promises, and what’s the catch?

As with all things there are pros and cons to everything, although ultimately I see far more pros than cons with Brave. So let’s break things down so you can see if this is something that is right for you. First off, for those of you who do not know…

What is Brave?

Brave is a browser, very similar to Chrome, but with a few extras. The primary difference that you see right away is it has a built in ad blocker. This is the basis for the browser because their goal is to protect the users privacy.

Advertisements themselves are not inherently bad for the consumer or the economy in general. In fact if it wasn’t for advertisements we wouldn’t have a lot of TV shows we love today. On the other hand, the trackers attached to those advertisements are the real problem. They follow every move we do, every decision we make, and see everything we’re remotely interested in. Clearly this is very powerful information to have about anyone, and I can’t think of a single company I would trust that information with. On the podcast Sampson actually went into the history of the cookie why it was necessary for us to navigate the internet.

Still, companies need to make money and one of the primary ways many websites make money is through advertising. Otherwise it could potentially be an a la carte internet, where we would have to pay for access to individual sites. Brave feels blockchain technology could help solve this problem.

Enter the BAT

Also installed in the browser is a wallet that can hold their Basic Attention Token, or BAT for short. Users of the browser can load their Wallet with BAT and put up a certain amount every month, chosen by the user, that’ll be divided between all the sites the user visited based on how much time the user spent at each site. For example, lets say you wish to spend 100 BAT a month for your internet use and you spend 50% of that time right here on At the end of the month we’d get 50 of that BAT.

This is great but there are two problems with this, first not everyone would give a high amount of BAT per month, and secondly not everyone can afford to spare any extra income. The solution for that is, Brave wants to pay you!

This hasn’t been implemented yet, but very soon you will be able to opt-in to their advertisement reward program. Through this program you can allow Brave to show you ads on the browser and you get a percentage of the profits. As for how much you could potentially make, that’s up for debate, but it’s better than nothing. You will be paid in BAT though, and with the high volatility in the crypto market right now it’s still not certain how much your BAT will be worth on a daily basis, but again this is a start.

Individual websites can verify themselves through Brave right now, in fact this website is verified with them, and those sites can start receiving BAT from Brave users. The process is easy, and fairly quick, and eventually those sites can also opt-in to put up advertisements on their site through the browser and split profits.

My First Hand Experience

I am proud to say that I really like the browser, as a USER, not so much a business as of right now, but allow me to break it down.

The browser works very well but there are still a few glitches here and there, especially with smaller niche sites. I love that you can even see exactly how many trackers they’re blocking on each site. I do notice a difference in the loading speed and cleanliness of the different sites thanks to the blocker, but I can’t tell you if it is better or worse than any other ad blocker because this is also the first one I have used. Although after asking a few fellow Redditors, they seem to say it is faster because it is built in vs being used as an extension you downloaded.

One cool thing they have offered for now, is they give new users some BAT to play with. It is not a lot, but its free and lets you test out the process. It is also a good way to learn how to use your wallet, which I have to say is a little confusing but can be learned.

A major criticism that a lot of people have is the whitelist their built in ad blocker has. As of now Facebook, Twitter, and a few other sites are not blocked the same way as other sites are. Although if you look at the code it shows they are looking for a solution to that. Brave has said that in order for the user to have a browsing experience they are used to, they can’t block these sites yet.

As a business my experience hasn’t been as pleasant. The verification process was smooth, but where I have an issue is cashing out. Brave requires you to sign up with Uphold. That’s the only way you can get paid through Brave. Uphold is pretty much an online exchange that also deals with Fiat money. So you’re stuck to their fees and policies, one of which is to give them your personal information, which I understand why it’s necessary but it’s annoying. I feel I can’t harp on giving up your info as a business too much because no matter what you do or where you go, this will probably be the case.

As for the fees, the whole point of crypto is to take out the middle man, and this is a HUGE middle man. So why did they do it? Well Uphold is connected to Brave, so it’s another way for them to gain a profit. It also is not a very good wallet, but again you have no choice.

Being forced to use Uphold with Brave is a lot like finding the most delicious ice cream stand located next to the porta-potties that were just used by construction workers after a chili eating contest. I’m gonna buy the ice cream, but there’s a bad smell invading my space. So my hope is that this changes and we end up having a choice on how to cash out.

In Summary

I still love this as an idea to help the average consumer regain control of their personal information while allowing businesses to still profit. This is absolutely needed, because if we do not stop this collection of information now, it will never end. In fact Sampson blew our minds with this bit of info.

It’s even off of the web too… Google has access to, I think, 67% of credit card transactions. The receipts from your brick and mortar store purchases. This was done for them to basically determine the efficacy their online advertisements. They wanted to know, if we show a luggage advertisement to somebody, and they don’t click the ad but… they go down to the store on the corner and purchase some luggage, they want to know if it is because of their ad…
… It’s mind blowing. Two out of three credit card transactions were acquired by Google at one point in the past through partnerships with credit card companies. This is hopping the air gap, this is getting off of the internet and out into other domains. That’s when it starts to get really creepy, really scary.

Jonathan Sampson, Sr. Developer Relations Specialist with Brave on The Coin Boys Podcast

That is absolutely inexcusable, and we have no way of stopping it, until now. So I wish this technology luck and I encourage all of you to give it a shot as well. If you do want to give it a shot here is our reference link if you care to try it, and you would be supporting us!

We are keeping an open communication with Brave so we want to ask you, what questions do you have? What has your experience been? Let us know and feel free to leave a comment below.

If you wish to support our independent community here feel free to subscribe to our podcast and leave a review, sign up for our email list, or donate! We always appreciate it. See you soon on The Coin Boys!

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