Brave, a chromium-based web browser that boasts an ad-free browsing experience, will now pay users to watch ads. That’s right — the ad-blocking browser will now be running ads, but in a more thoughtful way than we’re accustomed to.
While it runs on the same tech and looks like Google Chrome, Brave doesn’t share its distant relative’s problematic data tracking. Brave is stripped of any data collecting processes, and actively blocks the activity tracking that many ads and websites use to collect user information. Brave’s new advertising model maintains this level of user privacy, but also seeks to “fix the Web and its funding model.”
Ads are annoying and data tracking is alarming, but most of the websites we visit each day run on ad revenue, and blocking those ads makes it harder for these websites to operate. Brave’s solution? Paying you to watch ads and sharing that money with your favourite websites.
How the Brave Rewards ad model works
Brave creates ad “catalogues,” and uses machine learning to tailor your ad experience based on which ads you view and interact with, thus cutting out the middleman between advertisers and users. The model is entirely opt-in, meaning these ads will be disabled by default.
The ads you view will be converted into Brave’s cryptocurrency, Basic Attention Tokens (BAT), paid out to your Brave wallet monthly. Users get a 70 per cent cut of the revenue they generate, and Brave and advertiser split the rest.
BAT cannot currently be converted into local currency, but Brave will be adding this option in the near future. In the meantime, BAT can be used to purchase gift cards, and vouchers from online retailers, hotels, and restaurants. You can read more about Brave’s BAT wallet and revenue model here
All ad information is stored locally, and never shared with the advertisers nor the domains you visit (though you can choose to share the revenue you’ve generated with websites you frequent).
Best of all, Brave will still give you an ad-free browsing experience; rather than Brave’s ads being displayed on web pages, they instead show up as desktop notifications (the feature is currently only on desktop versions of Brave but planned for iOS and Android in the future).
How to enable and customise Brave Rewards
Download and install the latest version of Brave.
Open a new Brave browser window.
You can enable Brave rewards when you first run the browser. Click through the welcome screen’s setup cards. The final card contains an explanation of the ad model and opt-in settings.
You can also enable, disable, and customise Brave Rewards in the browser’s settings. To find these, click the Menu icon in the browser’s upper-right corner, then click the “Brave Rewards” tab in the Settings menu. Alternatively, you can type “brave://settings/” into your URL bar to jump directly to the menu.
The Brave Rewards tab displays how much BAT currency you’ve earned and other metrics. You’ll also be able to change various settings related to your ad experience. Here’s an explanation of the most important options:
Turn on Brave Rewards: this will enable and disable all Brave Rewards options, including ads, BAT generation, and auto-contribution.
Turn on ads: turns ad notifications on or off. You won’t earn BAT from ads if this is off. There are other ways for earning BAT, however, including frequent complimentary offers from Brave, or adding to the wallet from your own bank accounts.
Ad settings: this option lets users set the number of ads they see per hour, anywhere from 1-5 (default is two). More ads viewed means more BAT generated.
Auto-contribute: These settings let users share the BAT ad revenue they’ve generated with the sites they visit—the idea being that you’re paying them directly, instead of participating in their ad model.
You set an amount from your wallet to be given to the websites you browse. There is a sub-menu where you can define how long to be on a site, and how many visits, before a site receives your contribution.