Coin Insights: What are Basic Attention Tokens?

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The Basic Attention Token was created by the co-founder of Mozilla and Firefox in partnership with the creator of JavaScript. It is designed to improve advertising performance in the digital environment, by only encouraging users who want or are interested in ads to see them. 

If you’ve ever looked for Ad-Blockers, or have wondered why brands don’t pay you for the time you spend seeing ads, you’ll feel right at home with the Basic Attention Token and the Brave browser. Let’s take a look at why it’s become one of the key players in the cryptocurrency space.

What are Basic Attention Tokens? 

Basic Attention Token (BAT) is an Ethereum-based token that can be used to access various advertising services on a special browser called Brave. Brave can be considered a blockchain-based, privacy-centered browser that focuses on digital advertising. Users of this browser are rewarded in BAT for paying attention to ads. Therefore, sustained attention translates to more token rewards. 

The BAT token is used on the Brave platform as a currency of exchange between users, advertisers, and content publishers. You can simply think of publishers as content creators (with content published on their pages).  

Advertisers pay BAT into the Brave platform, and this BAT is paid to users for paying attention to ads. Publishers are equally rewarded based on how long users spend on their content (or what is known as the efficiency of their content). 

The idea is that everyone (advertisers, publishers, and users) wins with the BAT system. 

Before we go into intricate details about how the BAT system works, let’s take a look at why the conventional advertising method is not very effective and why BAT was created. 

Digital Advertising Challenges

The digital advertising space is oversaturated with fraudulent organizations, trackers, and malware or maladvertisement that disguise as normal ads. As a quick example, trackers follow you around the web, as you browse from website to website. They’re used to send information back to the original advertising platform or brand, so that the advertising platform or brand can sell to your exact wants and needs.

Maladvertisements on the other hand are far worse. They allow hackers to gain access to your device and gain access to sensitive and personal information.

The advertising space is fraught with these challenges.

Meanwhile, publishers (or websites who offer space for brands to advertise on) not only sell this advertising space on their websites to marketers, but they also look to keep track of what you consume on their site (usually by using a cookie). Publishers then market your unique profile to advertising exchanges, along with your computer’s IP address, so they can give you better-tailored adverts across all the websites you visit. 

This is scary from the perspective of you who wants to browse the web privately, but fantastic information for advertisers who are looking to target you for their products or services.

We can sum up the inefficiency of digital advertising with a few mind-blowing statistics below:

  • Up to 50% of normal mobile user’s data is spent on downloading advertisements and trackers.
  • On average mobile devices take about 5 seconds to view an ad costing users tens of thousands of hours per year in lost time.
  • Ads can reduce phone battery life by as much as 21%.
  • And those large media sites? They can accommodate up to 70 trackers on a single page, leading to many privacy concerns.

All of these issues boil down to a single element: cost. 

The cost of your privacy. The cost of your time. The cost of your safety. The cost to advertisers and publishers.

Cost then, is at the core of what the Brave browser and BAT aim to solve. 

How do Brave and BAT come into the equation?

At the heart of the ecosystem are the two parts: the Basic Attention Token (BAT) itself and the Brave browser.

Let’s look at the Brave Browser first, as this is the core component that BAT is built on.

The Brave browser:

Brave blocks mal-advertisements and trackers by default, ensuring that your browsing experience is secure, private, and fast. It also prevents ads from popping up when you visit any publisher’s site. 

All these are offered for free with the Brave browser.

But it also helps publishers and advertisers at the same time. This is where BAT enters the ecosystem.

The Basic Attention Token (BAT):

The Basic Attention Token is a unit of exchange that is used between publishers, advertisers, and users. The token is a quantitative representation of the user’s attention. Attention can be defined as “focused mental interaction.” 

If users decide they want to see ads, they are rewarded with BAT tokens and only see ads that are generated based on their browser activity level (not on studied activity by sites malware/tracker). Note that users can choose to be shown ads or not, or simply use Brave as a browser (like you would with Chrome or Edge). 

If you (the user) decide that you’d like to be paid in BAT to view ads, this means the more time you spend focusing on ads, the more BAT token is paid to you. This explains the ‘attention token’ aspect of Basic Attention Tokens (BAT).

Thus the ecosystem works as follows. Publishers offer advertising space on their sites if they’re part of the Brave ecosystem. Advertisers pay in fiat to advertise to the Brave users. Brave converts a portion of that fiat currency to BAT tokens and will pay users for their attention to see the ads. 

This entire ecosystem is contained within the Brave browser.

Is BAT really helpful? 

Here are the benefits for each of the three parties that make up the digital advertising ecosystem: 

  • Users:  receive BAT if they opt to pay attention to ads. The user’s attention is monitored confidentially on the device using the “Brave” browser, and the user’s personal data never leaves their device.
  • Advertisers:  Advertisers achieve higher ROI, better targeting, and less fraud than they might otherwise get on different platforms. 
  • Publishers: Publishers receive BAT based on user attention. As inefficiencies decrease, revenues increase.

In theory yes, Brave and the BAT ecosystem help every party involved. However every system is not without its challenges, as quick research will show. Brave is continually developing their ecosystem to improve and looks to gain momentum moving forward.

Brave and BAT Today

The BAT cryptocurrency provides a completely unique approach to digital advertising, and despite its infancy, the Brave platform is supported by an experienced team. While it is unlikely for Brave to entirely replace social networking sites and browsers such as Google, it has the potential to revolutionize the advertising sector. 

The idea that you, publishers, and advertisers can all benefit in a secure, private, and mutually beneficial environment – is a different take on the current web experience that is often one-sided.

With a current marke cap of $885-million USD, the Brave ecosystem has grown tremendously over the past few years. 

At the end of the day, even if you’re not interested in getting paid for looking at ads, you can still get an excellent browsing experience with Brave for the web. 

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