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What is Brave Browser? Jonathan Sampson of Brave. – Love Your Work, Episode 139

August 20 2018 – 07:30am

why brave browserJust when you think the browser wars are over, you hear everyone talking about yet another browser. So, what is Brave browser? After settling into whatever your browser of preference is – most likely Chrome, according to the latest stats – why bother switching to Brave?

In this podcast conversation with Brave’s Senior Developer Relations Specialist, Jonathan Sampson, we learn what makes Brave browser so revolutionary that you would go through the trouble of switching browsers again.

Listen to Jonathan Sampson describe what is Brave browser

Here’s some of what I learned.

Brave browser blocks ads at the source

Most ad blockers are an afterthought. Brave blocks ads – and all associated tracking scripts – before they even get to your browser.

Brave browser is faster

Since Brave blocks ads and tracking scripts, you don’t have to wait for them to load. This saves you time. In fact, Brave’s home screen will even count for you just how much time you’ve saved. Here’s what mine looks like after using Brave as my primary browser for a few weeks.

Why Brave Browser? Look at the time I've saved.

Depending on the website, Brave can be as much as 8.7x faster than Chrome.

Why Brave Browser? Look at how much faster it is.

Brave browser saves you money

Those tracking scripts can really add up in your bandwidth charges, especially if you pay for mobile data.

The average mobile user pays as much as $23 a month just to transfer the ad tracking scripts loaded on sites as they browse the web.

Some sites load as many as 70 tracking scripts. This can make up about half of all of the data you use to browse the web. That’s right, tracking scripts can take up just as much bandwidth as the content that you’re actually reading!

Brave browser is more secure

You might think that some tracking scripts help serve you better and more relevant ads. This is true, and in a bit you’ll learn Brave’s plan for keeping the ads you do see relevant.

But along with useful tracking scripts, you get a whole lot of bad scripts. There’s a thriving ecosystem of advertising “middlemen” who collect data on you around the web, and sell that data amongst each other. They can produce a “fingerprint” that personally identifies you as you browse the web, and can contain sensitive information.

Even if you’re okay with that, there are also more malicious scripts loaded along with your tracking scripts. They can execute phishing attacks by redirecting you to “dummy” login screens. They can use your computer’s processing power to mine cryptocurrency. “Cryptojackers,” as they’re called, have even successfully used Google’s DoubleClick network to compromise YouTube.

Additionally, Brave comes stocked with HTTPS Everywhere. This ensures that you always have a secure connection, meaning some script-kiddie monitoring the cafe wifi can’t see exactly what you’re browsing, and capture sensitive data in the process. Even data that you might not think of as sensitive can be used to add to your “fingerprint,” thus personally identifying you. Additionally, an ISP or hotel can exploit an unsecure connection to inject ads into sites as you browse, and further compromise your security in the process.

What does Brave browser do? Brave will lead to less fake news, and less click bait

As we’ve talked about many times on this podcast, the economics of attention shape media on the web. If a site relies upon ads to monetize, it needs eyeballs on those ads to make money. If it needs eyeballs, then the quality of the content on their site isn’t as important as merely having the eyeballs on the site.

This leads to phenomena such as “fake news” or “click bait.” If the more sensational story or the more juicy headline will attract the eyeballs, that’s all that really matters in the ad-supported model.

Brave is trying to change the economics of the web with their cryptocurrency, aptly named the Basic Attention Token (BAT).

Right now, when you sign up for Brave, you get some BAT to distribute to site owners.

Why Brave browser? You can pay site owners according to attention.

Brave will automatically distribute BAT to site owners based upon the percentage of the attention each site gets from a particular user. With this model, it’s not all about getting eyeballs, it’s about producing quality content that people engage with for a long time.

If there’s a site you don’t spend a ton of time on, but which you still want to support, you can manually change how your BAT is allocated.

Brave browser will pay you to browse

Brave is planning to pay you to browse. Now, how does that work?

The way the people at Brave see it, a great deal of value on the web is being sucked up by third-party middlemen who track users around the web, collecting personal data, and selling that data.

The web gets slower, and these middlemen aren’t even incentivized to provide accurate data to the advertisers. Ad fraud is estimated to cost advertisers, globally, around $7 billion a year. That’s bot traffic, or “click farms” of humans making fraudulent clicks.

Attention is the currency of the web. So why don’t those who are providing that attention – the ones viewing the ads – get a piece of the pie?

Brave is working on a way to still serve relevant ads to you, without all of those tracking scripts. They want to use the browser itself to create a private encrypted profile of your browsing preferences, then allow ads in the browser itself. You’ll get relevant ads without compromising your privacy, without risking your security to malicious scripts, and without slowing down your browsing experience. At the same time, you’ll be able to earn BAT tokens for viewing ads. You could then convert that BAT to the currency of your choice, or distribute it to site owners.

Brave browser supports creators

Creators have been getting a raw deal on the web for the past couple decades. As a blogger myself, I’ve felt the pressure to either try to get as many page views as possible with click bait, or try to funnel some small percentage of my audience into a $1,000 course.

With Brave’s vision for the web, creators will start getting paid for the valuable entertainment and education they provide, making the web the great place it is.

I talked long ago about the need for a behavioral revolution, and with how the economics are changing, so to will the web. You can already support creators on Patreon, self publishing is easier than ever, and sites like Steemit are distributing cryptocurrency to creators.

Supporting individual creators and site owners could get overwhelming. Brave allows you to treat the web a little like Netflix or Spotify. You can load up your account with a certain amount of BAT each month, and Brave will distribute that to creators according to your browsing behavior.

Download Brave browser, and you’ll be supporting my work

Brave is kick-starting their growth by incentivizing creators like me to get people to try Brave. If you download Brave at my link (, I’ll be rewarded with $5 worth of BAT if you’re still using it in a month.

I’m personally very excited about the prospects of Brave to change the way the web is monetized, while providing a great browsing experience.

Download Brave browser here »

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Theme music: Dorena “At Sea”, from the album About Everything And More. By Arrangement with Deep Elm Records. Listen on Spotify »

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This post is filed under Love Your Work Podcast.