Value proposition: an alternative to the internet’s current advertising model
The “free content” model that has come to dominate the online environment shapes the way most of us interact with the internet and it has wide-ranging consequences. Most obviously perhaps is that we constantly encounter advertising, which permeates almost all corners of the internet. This has led to ad fatigue, which has resulted in a kind of advertising arms race. As more and more space is dedicated to advertising, individual advertisements become less effective. This has resulted in a dramatic rise of the “cost per click” in advertising in recent years. That has in-turn spawned the need for more aggressive advertising techniques, leading to increasing page load times and more ad fatigue. Consequently, user-frustration has led to more and more people using ad blockers, which – in a vicious cycle – has resulted in less revenue for content creators and online publications. In an attempt to counteract that revenue loss, an increasing number of content creators and publications are moving their content behind pay walls. This has resulted in a fragmentation of the internet and a poorer user experience.
Another consequence of the “free content” model is that traditionally respected publications, unable to compete, have been replaced by lower quality content produces. This has left many consumers unable to determine what content can be trusted, and many more have been sucked into eco-chambers. As demonstrated by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, people are increasingly susceptible to manipulation by bad actors.
The Brave Browser and Basic Attention Token (BAT) duo attempt to offer an alternative to the “free by default” content model by creating a seamless payment experience which occurs invisibly in the background.
Brave browser, which claims to load for example, Time Magazine’s site 8.7x faster than Chrome, has seen its monthly active user base rise from 1.4 million in February 2018 to over 5 million as of the start of 2019.
According to batgrowth.com Brave has over 20,000 publishers, including well-known sites like the Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch and Barron’s.
As Brave browser is adopted, there has been parallel growth in usage of BAT. EtherScan presently shows about 140,000 holders with a million transfers, which is twice as much as six months ago. “Adoption is happening, and it’s happening faster than we had expected,” wrote Jonathan Sampson, Senior Developer at Brave, in an Oct 31 Reddit “Ask me Anything.”
Brave as a way to bring more users into the Crypto-Ecosystem
Sampson also wrote: “I think you have to see Brave as a vanguard project, meaning we are blazing the path for blockchain, crypto, DApps, etc. We bring people in an environment they are familiar with and normalize concepts for people so they get used to them. Certainly, we will get the crypto-heads, but as we popularize the browser (already have millions of users) then people will see the functioning of blockchain and crypto in the background.”
The BAT token ICO raised US$35 million in 30 seconds in May 2017 with just 130 participants. The BAT team reserved 500 million tokens for themselves and the remaining billion were sold at US$0.03 each. The total supply of BAT will, according to the white paper, never exceed 1.5 billion tokens.
In 2019, BAT appears to have emerged from the 2018 bear market. With sustained high levels of trading volume, the USD valuation of BAT has been rising steadily in 2019:
The rising price of BAT has coincided with a rise in interest as measured by Google Trends. One catalyst for this was the announcement in December 2018 that Brave would be the default web browser for the recently released HTC Exodus1 blockchain phone.
Google Trends data for the term “Basic Attention Token”:
Based on rising monthly active users, publisher numbers, and on-chain trading volume of BAT, the project has strong fundamentals. The price of BAT should continue to rise gradually so long as active Brave users, addresses, and daily transactions continue to increase.