Ads are viewed as negative almost always by the public, except during the Super Bowl. People are trying to sell you something you’re not interested in and all it does is take away from your time. You don’t get anything from it. Well all of that is about to change thanks to Basic Attention Token (BAT) and the Brave browser. This project that we’re looking at today is changing how the advertising game works by protecting user privacy, showing users ads that are actually relevant to them via machine learning and even paying users for watching ads. Yes actually paying people for watching ads. I’ll be taking a look at the current issues with advertising, the BAT solution, how BAT works, and the BAT token in this article.
Advertising has grown and changed over the past couple of decades with the rise of the internet. The shotgun style approach of advertising has been superseded by the individualized ad targeted a specific user demographic. That approach is made possible by the data giants Google and Facebook which are able to offer advertisers a vast array of metadata and gigantic audiences to boot. This style is of course beneficial for many involved in the space the advertiser is able to market to those more willing to want their product, the consumer is able to receive ads for products they may want or need, and the publisher receives revenue for connecting the two. From a monetary and consumerist standpoint this model is a large success. There are however issues that arise from this style.
The primary concern nowadays when it comes to advertising and metadata is how data is gathered and the associated privacy breaches that may occur. Companies are now dependent on the gathering of user data and that gathering is most often occurring by tracking the habits of the consumer while they’re online. Users may not be giving permission to Google or Facebook for collecting this information and when it boils down to it the user isn’t aware of the data being gathered and isn’t in control of it either.
Other concerns are related to the advertisements themselves. The metrics received by an advertiser from their ads is simply how many people clicked on an ad vs how many viewed it. That really doesn’t say much in terms of actual conversions. Furthermore, advertisements themselves are seen has links to avoid on the web due to the vast amount of ads that are actually some form of malware. There goes your click to view ratio if people think clicking on your ad will give them a virus.That last bit of course begs the question of what are advertisers really after if they don’t just want you to click their flashy ads. What an advertiser wants is a consumer’s attention.
BAT and the Brave browser aim to solve the issues of internet advertising by tokenizing attention. BAT uses the Brave browser and the BAT token as a means to put a price on a user’s attention. With BAT an advertiser is able to pay BAT to a publisher of their advertisements for putting the ad on their website. A user is then able to earn BAT by viewing that ad. In brief, a user is rewarded for viewing an ad and a publisher is rewarded for providing it to them.
With this system BAT will be providing solutions to users, publishers, and advertisers. User’s will be getting a piece of the advertising pie. Why shouldn’t people be rewarded for their attention if that’s the currency? In addition, they will also be getting better privacy and security features with this system. Moving along, publishers will be earning increased revenue and will have better metrics for reporting views. Lastly, advertisers are going to be gaining customer attention with better returns on their investments and better metrics in which to measure that return. Now let’s look at how that all comes to fruition.
What the BAT system does is it uses the Brave browser and a built-in ledger system in order to measure a user’s attention without giving away any of their privacy. That attention is then used to figure out how much attention an ad is actually capturing. The system is able to figure that out by seeing what a user’s active tab is and the user engagement within that tab. The Brave browser and the integration between it and BAT are really what makes this system possible.
Based on browsing and attention given (figured out from the active tab) the Brave browser and BAT system can use machine learning to choose pertinent ads to show to the user. The important feature of this system and collection is that it operates based on a user opt-in. As I type this article in the Brave browser I have the ad system turned off and nothing is being collected as I bounce between Google Docs, Twitter, the BAT website, and their whitepaper.
That being said, when the system is enabled my data would still be secured since any data regarding what I’m looking is stored on my computer and any identifiable data is also concealed. Now, when the system is on and working there are zero-knowledge proofs that are occurring and rewarding the user for their attention and behavior. The rewards of this are carried out via micropayments with the Brave Ledger system.
That’s pretty much how the entire system works. Users can opt into the advertising system built into the Brave browser for rewarding those and who give their attention to advertisements. This system essentially tokenizes attention as that’s what advertisers and the system is tracking. User data is controlled by the user themselves and their privacy is maintained at all times. Then through this ledger system publishers and advertisers can have better metrics about how their ads are being viewed and machine learning is utilized to make sure those ads are going to the correct people.
The BAT token itself is an ERC20 token that is used to tokenize attention and is used as a transfer of value within this advertising system. User’s are able to anonymously donate earned rewards to those of their choosing to support them if they wish. On top of that tokens can be used in a variety of other ways including selling them on an exchange, buying goods online if the retailer accepts BAT, or even using the tokens for creating their own ads.
At the moment the advertising system is only working with the Brave browser, but when the system is fully functional it will be working on other platforms. Those other platforms include messaging apps like Telegram. A key plugin that was released for the system was BAT extending to the popular online streaming site Twitch.TV. Other major milestones on the BAT timeline include Brave reaching 2 million monthly active users back in March too and many key indicators of growth for BAT being seen across the board as announced in this article. Oh and I actually almost forgot this. Coinbase is currently exploring the option of adding BAT to its platform.
More recently, Brave launched a trial for their system that would reward viewers for viewing ads. That was announced back in June so its likely we will begin to see more progress with that portion of the BAT platform in the coming months. That development also makes sense as it was planned to have extensions and upgrades begin to roll out more and more during the June and July period of this year.
To learn more about the BAT project please see the following links.
Website — https://basicattentiontoken.org/
Twitter — https://twitter.com/AttentionToken
Thanks for reading today’s article. The BAT system is very interesting and with the growth of the browser and opt-ins for the advertising system increasing I can’t wait to see where this project is by the end of 2018. I am not associated in any way with the Brave of BAT teams and I am a holder of the token. I will be releasing articles on Wednesday and Friday of this week covering Ark and Cobinhood respectively. As always follow me on here or on Twitter @thant1194 or on InvestFeed @thant11 in order to stay up to date on all my articles as they are released. Thank you again! I have to return some video tapes.