In my previous article on why I switched to the Brave browser, I started to talk a bit about the relationship between it and the Basic Attention Token.
However, I was quite vague on what this token is, and what it brings to the browser. It’s time to fix this.
BAT does not belong to Brave
The Basic Attention Token is an ERC-20 token. Behind this barbaric denomination hides in fact a very simple system, generally linked to ICOs. It is in fact a contract on a blockchain (in this case Ethereum) which will produce at once a certain number of tokens with characteristics. A name, a quantity, their breakability, can the users transfer them, etc…
The characteristics of the contract that governs the BAT are simple:
- 1.5 billion tokens
- Can be split to 18 decimal places
And that’s all ! No need for more!
In fact, since the contract was issued in 2017 by Brave, it has become autonomous. Tokens cannot be reissued, deleted, or Brave interferes with its operation. Unlike many other systems today where the creators keep control, the proof is over and can no longer be modified. This notably avoids the interference that a project may have, even if that means that in the event of a bug it cannot be corrected.
Except that in the case of BAT its operation is so simple that it cannot happen. BAT on the blockchain is onlyan exchangeable token representative of an attention value. Send / receive being the basis of blockchain operations, if there is a bug, it will impact the blockchain as a whole, not just the BAT (and we will clearly have to be concerned). But it won’t happen tomorrow.
Why the BAT?
BAT is above all an indicator, an enhancement of the attention we pay to advertising on the Internet. Its creation stems from the idea that on the Internet we are constantly exposed to advertising, constantly used to generate money, but never rewarded for it. We are taken a lot, our data, our lifestyle, our attention, but we never have anything in return.
BAT was born precisely so that we have a form of return. It represents the attention that we pay to advertisements on the Internet, or more precisely those which pass through the Brave advertising system, while waiting for it to be democratized elsewhere.
Broadcasting advertising via Brave is more efficient than traditional advertising (see the previous article on Brave), costs a little more, but above all, part of the money invested by the advertiser is redistributed to viewers via tokens, making them all the more concerned and putting in place a more equitable functioning.
You can then transform these BATs into fiat currency at the current rate, but the best is still to use it in the BAT economic system.
What can be done with BAT?
More and more imitation currencies are browsing the web today. Not to mention cryptocurrencies, you can find alternative currencies everywhere. In video games like LoL’s Riot Points, on streaming sites like Twitch Bits, everywhere. Except that these currencies are specific to a particular site or game, belong to companies and these limit their use. BAT doesn’t belong to anyone and that’s a big plus.
BAT was created so that it can be used anywhere on the Internet, without limitations and in multiple ways. Its potential is practically endless.
However, as of this writing, not much is possible with BAT.
Apart from earning BAT through Brave Rewards and buying direct from the marketplaces, the main use that exists is the donation system through Brave. On sites, YouTube channels, Twitch, Github accounts or even Twitter accounts verified by Brave as creators, you can donate a quantity of your own BAT. It works very easily, takes about ten seconds and does not require any additional data from you.
And this is where it is very strong. No need to register on X different sites, to enter bank details or homes, you just need to have Brave and some BAT in your browser. A great idea that works very well.
Especially since it is accessible to all. To be a content creator, it doesn’t cost anything, you just have to apply on https://creators.brave.com/sign-up and register your sites or accounts. Today a million creators are registered, and it continues to climb slowly
For now, this is the only viable option available, but the release of BAT’s Development Kit (SDK) in late 2021 / early 2022 should be a game-changer, especially in everything related to unit payments online.
You’ve probably all come across sites with paywalls, pop-ups that say things like “This article is for subscribers only. Buy a subscription at X € per month… ”. It is usually particularly annoying. You rarely want to pay a 10-bullet subscription just to be able to read a poor article on a website. Registering takes time, costs money and you are not even sure to come back to the site several times.
One use of the BAT would be to be able to instantly pay these paywalls and bypass them. For example, the site could consider that reading the article costs 10 cents, and via the SDK could make it possible to pay directly in BAT the amount agreed during the paywall. The sum would be lower and therefore more accessible, easier to use than a traditional registration, and faster. Very clearly with such a system everyone would be a winner.
In fact, being able to pay anything and everything online with proofs would be really great. Quick, no need to get out your bank details, it adapts particularly well to small sums that are often lazy to pay.
Brave chose blockchain support for several reasons.
Already to avoid system maintenance costs. It is the Ethereum blockchain that takes care of it, and with the imminent arrival of ETH 2.0, the processing speed should drastically increase while greatly reducing the ecological footprint.
Then for a question of security and decentralization. The blockchain is literally an (almost) perfectly secure register. If a transaction takes place it is visible and searchable at any time, so there is little risk of external users doing anything with BAT on-chain. In addition, it prevents other companies from doing anything with the BAT in the shadows.
Then for a question of private life. Anyone can use BAT without going through an outside organization and having to enter their contact details, which makes it an ideal method to avoid Brave asking for the identity documents of each new user. This is to dodge all the legal paperwork when exchanging money online, everything related to KYC (Know Your Customer).
So in fact, if you want to transform BAT into fiat currency, you will have to give a bank account and identity card at some point. But it will undoubtedly be on a crypto exchange, therefore more suitable than a web browser. You can really only use BAT as a donor, and never have to report anything to the tax authorities.
What value will the BAT reach?
This is THE fateful question that everyone asks themselves when a new cryptocurrency arrives: can I get rich with it?
Let’s be clear right away: it is impossible to predict the value that an asset will take in X years, whatever. On the other hand, we can try to estimate its potential.
The BAT intends to replace part of the operating system of Internet advertising. It weighed $ 319 billion in 2019, and would exceed $ 1 trillion during this decade. The Covid pandemic having only accelerated things, it would even be before 2025. Even if the BAT replaces only a fraction, it will quickly represent a significant amount of money.
Then, beyond the pub equivalent, there are all the possible use cases with the BAT. The more the BAT will be used, for example for donations or paywalls, the more its value will increase. Today only one use case is available, and it only works for a fraction of Brave users. It’s limited, but it’s just begging to expand.
More and more advertisers are using Brave. Over the past year, the number of advertising campaigns has more than tripled, a sign of very strong growth. The Brave Rewards model works, but it’s just getting started.
On the other hand, be careful, in all cases we are sure of nothing. The crypto market is very volatile, nothing says that tomorrow it will not collapse, taking the BAT with it.
However personally I find that the BAT is particularly underestimated. A cryptocurrency with real use cases for the general public, and in addition functional it is clearly not something common. There is potential.
Invest in BAT, yes but …
After this article, it may be tempting to invest in BAT. It’s a good idea in itself, but I prefer to warn on several points:
- Read other articles on Brave and BAT, test beforehand, do nothing on a whim
- Never invest more than what you can afford to lose, this is the basics but it’s good to remember that.
- BAT does not stake not. It has leaning options, but it is much more dangerous since you are lending your tokens to a third party.
- Investing takes technical skills, especially if you want to secure your investments. We do not easily enter the world of cryptocurrency, and we can very quickly be fooled. However BAT is listed on most exchange platforms, securing your funds is difficult.
- Don’t just invest, use BAT!
BAT is one of the very few cryptocurrencies that not only has a real use case that isn’t just a promise in a roadmap, but it’s a very down-to-earth use that anyone can understand. The BAT is earned a little by watching ads, and it is given to others via tips as a reward.
And it is this operation that is important! You can invest if you want, but this token will only gain value if it is used in the intended use cases, because that’s where it shines the most!
My advice: buy BAT in markets if you want, but uUse the BATs you receive from Brave Rewards to donate to content creators. In any case, you will hardly exceed the 10 dollars a month, it’s still pocket money. And as for the moment the only possible use is the donation, it is the only and best way to keep the BAT alive.
At a time when one of the most well-known and overpriced cryptocurrencies in the world is literally a crypto troll, it’s good to see that there are still serious plans for this technology.
BAT clearly has potential. It is one of the few cryptocurrencies that really has a functional use case today. Others should arrive in the years that follow, and personally I am very curious to see what will result from this project which I find particularly underestimated.