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Brave (web browser)

Brave browser is a free and open-source web browser based on the Chromium web browser created by Brave Software, Inc. Brave is a privacy-conscious browser that, by default, bans online ads and website trackers. 

It also gives users the option to enable optional adverts that reward them for their attention in the form of the cryptocurrency Basic Attention Tokens (BAT). Users may then give tips to websites and content providers who use BAT in exchange for the option to keep the bitcoin they earned.

The headquarters of Brave Software is in San Francisco, California.

Brave has around 50 million monthly active users, 15.5 million daily active users, and a network of over 1.3 million content providers as of December 2021.

Brave History

Brendan Eich, CEO, and CTO Brian Bondy created Brave Software on May 28, 2015. Brave Software unveiled the first version of Brave with ad-blocking features on January 20, 2016, and revealed ambitions for a privacy-respecting ad ecosystem.

Brave announced a pay-to-surf beta version of the browser in June 2018. This version of Brave came preloaded with roughly 250 adverts and sends a thorough log of the user’s browsing activities to Brave for the aim of testing this capability in the near term. Brave announced that more trials will be conducted. Later that month, Brave added Tor compatibility to its private browsing mode in its desktop browser.

Brave operated on a fork of Electron called Muon until December 2018, which they touted as a “more secure fork.” Nonetheless, Brave developers switched to Chromium, claiming a desire to reduce maintenance costs. Brave Software issued the final Muon-based version with the purpose of it ceasing to function and advised users to update as its end-of-life neared.

Brave began testing a new ad-blocking rule-matching algorithm written in Rust in June 2019, replacing the existing C++ one. The new reasoning was influenced by the uBlock Origin and Ghostery algorithms, which Brave says are 69 times quicker on average than the prior method.

Brave’s stable release, version 1.0, was released on November 13, 2019, with 8.7 million monthly active users. It had roughly 3 million daily active users at the time. According to Engadget, Brave 1.0, which is available for Android, iOS, Windows 10, macOS, and Linux, integrates “virtually all of Brave’s hallmark features across all platforms.”

Brave announced 20 million monthly users in November 2020, and 36 million monthly active users in September 2021.

Brave launched its search engine in March 2021 using Tailcoat, which it purchased earlier that year from Cliqz, a German subsidiary of Hubert Burda Media. Tailcoat was created with the intention of delivering search results without monitoring user behavior or generating profiles.

Brave was the first browser to be added to the Epic Games Store in April 2021.

Brave Search, Brave Software’s search engine, launched in public beta in June 2021. It is presently being worked on.

Brave business model

Brave generates money through the use of its Basic Attention Token (BAT). Founded in Delaware in 2015 as Hyperware Labs, Inc., the firm then changed its name to Brave Software, Inc. and registered in California, where it is now based.

By August 2016, the startup has raised at least $7 million in angel funding from venture capital companies such as Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Propel Venture Partners, Pantera Capital, Foundation Capital, and the Digital Currency Group.

Brave Ads, an ad network, was established in November 2019. Brave Software keeps 30% of ad money, while the rest is returned to users. Advertisements are displayed to customers as they browse.

Brave Search

Brave Search is a search engine built by Brave that was introduced in Beta form in March 2021 as a result of Cliqz’s acquisition of Tailcat, a privacy-focused search engine. Brave Search has been the default search engine for Brave browser users in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany since October 2021.

Brave Wallet

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BravEVM-ce Wallet is a native crypto wallet that does not require any extensions. It works withompatibletible chains (Polygon, xDai, Avalanche, and so on) as well as L2 chains. Brave Wallet support is now confined to desktop browsers, but it is expected to expand to mobile devices in the future. Brave Wallet may also be used to hold non-fungible tokens.

Brave with your privacy

All user data is kept private on the device and is not accessible to third parties. Because the browsing data is not transferred to Brave’s servers, the browsing data is solely visible to the device’s user. 

According to Professor Douglas J. Leith of the University of Dublin’s research study assessing browser privacy, Brave has the best level of privacy of the browsers evaluated. Brave did not employ “any identifiers allowing monitoring of IP address over time, and no exchange of web page visit information with backend services.”

To combat browser fingerprinting, Brave employs fingerprint randomization, which causes the browser to seem different from websites after a browser restart, to ensure that Brave’s users cannot be uniquely recognized or monitored on a regular basis via browser fingerprinting.

Brave unveiled a new privacy feature named “debouncing” on October 15, 2021. The new functionality is intended to disable bounce tracking, a technique of Internet monitoring that uses intermediate sites that load when visitors click on a link. Debouncing detects when users are going to visit a known tracking website and redirects them to their intended destination, bypassing the tracking domain entirely.

Digital Trends tests revealed that Brave was the only major browser to pass the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Cover Your Tracks test.

Brave released a de-AMP function in April 2022 that avoids Google’s AMP technology, instead of redirecting users to the original page. This was mentioned as a privacy feature by the firm, which called AMP “damaging to users and the Web at large.”

Brave Rewards

Users of the Brave browser may opt into the Brave Rewards feature since April 2019, which allows them to earn BAT as a reward for seeing privacy-preserving adverts and utilize earned BAT in a variety of ways.

Users can earn BAT by seeing adverts delivered as alerts by their computer or device’s operating system or as a native pop-up window. Advertising campaigns are targeted to users based on their browsing history; this targeting is done locally, with no personal data transmitted outside the browser.

Users can make BAT micropayments to the ecosystem’s websites and content providers. Site owners and producers must first register as publishers with Brave. Users may either enable auto-contribute, which splits a predetermined monthly payment in proportion to the time spent, or give a specific amount (referred to as a tip) when visiting the site or author. Alternatively, consumers may withdraw their BAT to a validated Uphold or Gemini wallet.

The initial iteration of the micropayments functionality, called “Brave Payments,” was released in 2016 and utilized Bitcoin. Advertisements were displayed in a different browser tab.

Brave Tokenomics

The tokenomics of Basic Attention Token are built on a cycle between the user, creator, and advertiser. Advertisers must purchase BAT in order for their advertisements to appear on the Brave Rewards platform (Brave facilitates USD-based ad purchases, but will then buy BAT on behalf of the advertiser). 

These adverts are then presented to the user, who receives the BAT spent on the ad less a 30% charge paid to Brave. Users may then tip creators via the “Brave Creators” network (creators being hosts of websites visited by the user or real creators on platforms like YouTube), or withdraw their BAT to a confirmed Gemini or Uphold wallet.

In addition to conventional trading on cryptocurrency exchanges, the token’s price is sustained by advertisers purchasing ad campaigns and users or producers selling their BAT.

Brave Reception

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In response to Brave Software’s original statement in January 2016, Sebastian Anthony of Ars Technica called it a “cash grab” and a “double-dip.” “Brave is a fascinating notion,” Anthony said, “but normally, placing your own adverts in front of someone else’s is frowned upon.” In 2016, TechCrunch, Computerworld, and Engadget called Brave’s ad substitution ideas “controversial.”

Andy Patrizio of Network World examined a pre-release version of Brave in February 2016. Patrizio condemned the browser’s feature set as being inadequate and “very rudimentary,” but praised its speed: “Pages load fast.” Page loads are impossible to benchmark since they occur faster than I can start/stop the stopwatch.

David Chavern, CEO of the Newspaper Association of America, stated in April 2016 that Brave’s plan to substitute for advertising “should be considered as unlawful and fraudulent by the courts, consumers, and those who value the development of content.”

In April 2017, TechWorld lauded Brave’s “excellent performance and advanced ad-tracking settings,” but noted that its “extension capabilities are still lacking.”

CNET evaluated the freshly available 1.0 version of Brave in November 2019. “Brave is hands-down the quickest browser I’ve tested this year on any operating system, for both mobile and desktop,” they said. 

The browser uses significantly less memory than most others, and website loading is far faster.” They also stated that using the browser might save energy use – “With less demand on resources comes less strain on your device’s battery life as well.”

However, they expressed concern that the user base is still far below that of Chrome, and thus it may not be able to fully build out its ad system, stating – “The browser will need more users, however, to truly build out its new ad system: while 8 million people is a good start, it will still need to compete with Google Chrome’s billion-plus users.”

The New York Times researched internet browsers in March 2021 and suggested Brave as the top privacy browser. “My favorite websites loaded smoothly, and I loved the clean design of ad-free sites, as well as the freedom of opting in to see advertising whenever I felt like it,” concluded writer Brian X. Chen.

Donations are being collected on behalf of content providers by the brave browser.

In December 2018, British YouTube video producer Tom Scott stated that he has not received any donations collected on his behalf by Brave. In a tweet, he claimed “So, if you thought you’d given to me through Brave, the money (or their pseudo-money) will not reach me, and Brave’s conditions stipulate that they may choose to retain it for themselves. It appears that they are ‘offering this service’ to every creature on every platform. No opt-in, no consent.”

In response, Brave changed the UI to include a notice for each creator who hasn’t joined up with Brave and vowed to think about introducing “an opt-out option for creators who do not desire to accept contributions” and “setting the default so users cannot tip or give to unverified producers.”

Critics said that the method should be opt-in rather than opt-out, that the disclaimer did not explicitly explain the lack of any link with the artists, and that the creator initiated the process of joining up with Brave. 

Brave released an update two days after the complaint to “clearly show which publications and artists have not yet joined Brave Rewards so users can better select how they give and tip,” followed by another update in January 2020 to modify the behavior of donations and tips.

They are now retained in the browser and transferred if the author joins up within 90 days; otherwise, they are returned to the user. In response, the original complainant, Tom Scott, tweeted, “These are good adjustments, and they answer the problems I had!”

Referral code insertion

On 6 June 2020, a Twitter user pointed out that when users visit to Binance, Brave inserts affiliate referral links. According to additional research, Brave also redirected the URLs of other cryptocurrency exchange websites. In response to user outrage, Brave’s CEO apologized, calling it an “error” that “we’re fixing.”

Two days later, Brave published a new version that, according to them, removed auto-completion for partner URLs, followed by a blog post explaining and apologizing for the incident.

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