According to a Reddit post, the Washington Post is now a Brave-verified publisher that can accept Basic Attention Tokens (BAT) from users browsing the website in the Brave web browser with ad blocking. Jeff Bezos controls the Washington Post and Amazon, suggesting that the introduction of BAT cryptocurrency contributions on WaPo has officially put this token onto Bezos’s radar. Should he decide to test out cryptocurrency payments on Amazon at scale, it could a profound effect on the digital currency market, as Amazon is responsible for 44% of ecommerce sales in the US alone.
The Brave browser brings a new dimension to ad blocking. Most people are using some version of Google Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge to browse the web. According to Brave, most websites have ads, cookies and other tracking software that can take up to 50% of page load times. In addition to capturing your information and then reselling it to advertisers, the added overhead consumes more power, meaning that mobile users will have to recharge their devices more often. Brave seeks to solve this problem by building an ad blocker into their browser. As publishers lose valuable advertising dollars with such a model, Brave users are encouraged to make monthly contributions to the websites they visit most often, using BAT coins deposited to their wallets.
The challenge with this use case is that most people are unlikely to voluntarily pay a large sum of money every month for the privilege of browsing their favorite websites, ad-free. However, some people do buy into the system, and its adoption by websites like the Washington Post suggests that there is potential for further adoption.
The BAT audience is divided into three segments: users, advertisers and publishers. Unlike other ad blocking software, the Brave browser does not take payments from advertisers to bypass their filters. Some ads do show, such as sponsored listings on Amazon, and items that pop up above the standard search results that drive people to Google Product Search.
BAT is an ERC-20 token, built on the Ethereum blockchain. In addition to optional monthly donations, the token may be used for a number of advertising and attention-based services. Its status as a utility token is tied to user attention, meaning that there are behavioral algorithms built into the Brave browser that determine user engagement levels across webpages and websites.
BAT is currently traded on 27 digital currency exchanges, including Binance and Bittrex, according to a list on CoinMarketCap. It is one of the few tokens that has a fully developed product, namely the Brave browser, associated with it. According to the website, the Mercury stage of the product roadmap is completed, and the project is in the Gemini stage, with features slotted for development including KYC (Know Your Customer) and additional machine learning algorithms. The final advertised stage of the product roadmap, “Bat Apollo” is slotted for the end of 2018.
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