What is Basic Attention Token (BAT)? Beginner's Guide
Most internet users go out of their way to avoid online advertisements, but what if they had a monetary incentive to view them?
Basic Attention Token (BAT) is a cryptocurrency intending to create a virtuous cycle around digital advertising that is equitable for creators and consumers.
Running on Ethereum (ETH) and integrated natively on a custom web browser called Brave, BAT can be exchanged between advertisers, publishers and internet users based on their web activity, and is intended to streamline commerce between all three groups.
Users are rewarded with BAT for viewing ad content, publishers can deliver higher-impact ads and advertisers can be assured their messaging is being viewed by a willing audience.
The end result is a new kind of digital advertising platform powered by BAT.
Users can either hold the BAT, exchange it for fiat or other cryptocurrency, or pay it to support their favorite content creators.
How does BAT work?
All BAT transactions settle on Ethereum, a public blockchain that allows developers to create and deploy custom cryptocurrencies and applications.
BAT operates on a web browser called Brave, developed by the team that created the token. Brave is a free browser, which claims to load 3-6 times faster than competing offerings, as it only serves advertisements if users opt-in to seeing them.
Brave browser users can sign up for the Brave Rewards program, which allows them to be paid in BAT for viewing ads or to send BAT to content creators whose work they want to support.
Brave’s default setting is to block trackers and ads. It only turns on ads if the user opts in. Brave then serves up native ads from trusted partners, which users are rewarded in BAT for viewing.
Brave Micropayments Ledger
To track the movement of BAT, Brave uses the Brave Micropayments Ledger. The idea is that the Brave Micropayments Ledger will allow advertisers, publishers and readers to enter into smart contracts to move payments between each other. Brave is exploring the use of zero-knowledge proofs for its blockchain, with the goal of providing anonymity to stakeholders in online media transactions.
Why use BAT?
To keep the information flowing on the Internet, content creators need to generate revenue.
In an early blog post, Eich acknowledged the importance of a free internet, but said the trade-off is that commercial websites need ad revenue to exist. He said this fundamental “conflict of interest” is to blame for the current cat-and-mouse state of the advertiser-user relationship.
Brave and BAT seek to turn that tug-of-war into a handshake. Advertisers can then be sure they’re reaching an engaged audience who they know they’re not annoying, and users can reap some of the ad revenue for themselves.
BAT seeks to break that cycle of avoidance and mistrust by creating an ad platform that is equally beneficial to advertisers, publishers, and viewers.
Who created BAT?
In 2017, Brave completed an initial coin offering (ICO) for BAT, raising $35 million in 30 seconds by selling 1 billion BAT. At the time, 500 million BAT was reserved by Brave Software.
Of that total, 200 million BAT was set aside for the Brave team, with 300 million BAT reserved to be sold at a later date to promote the platform.