Built on top of the Ethereum blockchain, Basic Attention Token
(BAT) is a utility token used by digital marketers to pay for ads on the Brave browser
, a privacy-focused competitor of Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox. Unlike many web browsers, Brave blocks ads and tracking by default; however, users who wish to see ads can choose to join a program that pays them in BAT for viewing them.
Ads served up by Brave are from trusted partners, and a user’s browsing history or preferences are never made available publicly.
BAT launched in 2017 to remedy problems it saw with digital advertising, namely the privacy violations of users, the declining revenue of traditional publishers and the inability of advertisers to assess the effectiveness of their ads.
Unlike most other cryptocurrencies that gradually release new tokens into circulation over time, all 1.5 billion BAT tokens (its entire supply) were created during its launch. One billion BAT tokens were sold in an initial coin offering (ICO
) that sold out in under 30 seconds and raised $35 million (156,250 ETH, at the time). Some 200 million BAT tokens were set aside for Brave’s staff, and the remaining 300 million BAT were allocated to a “user growth pool.” This pool provides tokens for “BAT grants;” free tokens given to new users when they download the Brave browser so they can get started without having to part with their own money.
BAT serves as the exclusive payment token for the Brave browser. Advertisers are required to purchase ad space using BAT, users receive BAT for viewing adverts and can also tip their favorite content creators using the token.
On April 9, 2021, BAT price hit an all-time high of $1.65 after Grayscale Investments (a sister company to CoinDesk) announced the launch of its new Basic Attention Token Trust
. Between May and June, however, prices tanked by more than 70% as news of the China crackdown
and concerns of Bitcoin’s energy consumption
plagued the markets.
How does BAT work?
Basic Attention Token is associated with the Brave browser. A feature called Brave Rewards allows people who use Brave to contribute BAT to the sites they visit. When someone turns on Brave Rewards, their browser tallies the time they spend on each site, and divides up that person’s monthly BAT contribution among the sites they visit. Brave Ads will allow people to opt in to earn BAT based on their time, or “attention” (hence the name of the token).
When someone turns Brave Ads on, their browser begins learning their preferences to show occasional relevant ads. Brave Rewards uses an anonymous contribution system so no one can see what websites each user chooses to support.
In its white paper
, BAT said no new tokens would be created once the user growth pool is exhausted, which it now is.
Key events and management
Fundamental Labs, ICONIUM, Genesis One Capital, All Blue Capital, Henok Tekle and Alexis Berthoud as key investors in BAT.
In February 2021, Brave unveiled a fresh roadmap
for BAT development that includes plans for a Brave Wallet, a new decentralized exchange aggregator to enable token swaps and reducing dependency on the Brave ad confirmation reporting protocol and transition to anonymously validating ad confirmation events on the blockchain.
In June 2021, Brave launched
a privacy-preserving search engine in beta, called “Brave Search.”