For the past few years, Firefox and Chrome have been the browsers to beat. They get regular updates, they run on multiple platforms and they work (for the most part).
There are other competitors in the game however, such as Microsoft's Edge browser or Opera's Neon Browser. And they offer their own unique take on the web browsing experience. Edge allows you to take notes directly on the browser and, if you are running it on Windows 10, there is a potential benefit in improved battery life as well.
This post is about Brave though. Brave is a Chromium based browser that puts privacy at the forefront. That means less ads being served and less tracking cookies in general watching your every move. And it does so through its built-in Brave Shield technology.
I'm not against ads in general. As far as I know, they are the quickest way to ensure that content creators online make revenue without it costing the users a penny. Which is why I keep the shields for websites that I like off typically.
If you make good content that helps me out, then the least I could do is to watch an ad or two. And if I really like your content, then I might even click on an ad, as a thank you.
But ads can be intrusive sometimes. Some websites abuse the system and serve far too many ads per page, or even worse the serve resource heavy video ads with full audio, and overall that slows down the web surfing experience. And if you are on a metered connection, it's going to cost you bandwidth and data.
The main reason that I use Brave as my default browser though is not just for the privacy.
Brave is the only browser that I know, that pays you to watch ads at your own time. And it does so through its own internal ad marketplace, ensuring higher quality ads. Currently that marketplace is mainly in the crypto community so you will encounter ads for digital wallets and coin exchanges and such. But they aren't intrusive and they actually look pretty good.
How does it work? Well. Essentially, as you surf the web using Brave, on occasion you will receive a notification on your device. If you are on Windows, then this happens through the Windows notification panel, and if you are on a mobile device, such as an Android phone, then the notification tray will let you know that there's an ad for you to watch.
The best part? You don't have to watch the ad. Brave will at most keep up to 3 ads queued up ready for you click on and watch. But you can ignore those notifications if you'd like.
Just in writing this article, 2 notifications have appeared for me to click on (which I will, because support).
If you go into the settings, you can also specify just how many ads you want served per hour as well. You might think that the more ads the merrier, but truthfully we all have a number that we are comfortable with for the most part.
Before I continue on, I will say now that in general ads don't pay a tremendous amount of finance. Watching one ad might generate a few cents or even just 1 cent.
Which is probably why Brave does not pay you in your currency of choice. But instead, it pays you in cryto tokens.
What is BAT?
Brave uses the Basic Attention Token (or BAT) in lieu of a dollar amount. Essentially, BAT is a crypto currency that rewards, well, attention.
In a growing age of digital currency, Brave is technically at the forefront with this approach.
This means overall a decentralized, transparent digital ad exchange based on Blockchain. That mans more privacy for you the viewer and a more fair marketplace for companies that are looking to serve ads. Because as I mentioned above, ads are not bad. It's how companies spread the word about their products.
The issue that we face today is the outdated ad ecosystem in which everyone loses. Users do not make any money and publishers are thrown into a pool of random, chaotic and usually unrelated banners.
While not necessarily trading at the level of Bitcoin, BAT is still relatively new and the more people jump on board the more you are bound to see its value go up.
You have a few options when it comes to storing your BAT. You can either let it collect in the browser, as a sort of wallet, or you can sync your Brave account with Uphold, a website used to trade cryptocurrencies.
You can then cash out if you wish on Uphold.com at whatever value the BAT token is in.
The initial setup does take some time, but once you do have it configured you will receive BAT payouts automatically without having to do anything.
And it works with multiple browsers and devices. I currently have Brave installed on my Android device, laptop and tablet and receive BAT payments in each.
And lastly, Brave is also home to a community of online creators, such as myself.
If you so wish, you can opt on a per verified website basis to share your BAT tokens with the websites that you like.
Or you can send them a tip directly using the accrued BAT tokens that you have gathered on your browser to that point.
So if you are using the Brave browser, and you see that checkmark in the top right corner when on my website, feel free to send a BAT or two my way, but only if you like the work.
The future is definitely moving a more digital economy. And getting paid for your attention was long overdue, particularly with ad networks generating billions of dollars in revenue yearly.
Now you too can be a part of that exchange.