The contradiction that is Brave Rewards
Direct from the desk of Dane Williams.
A look at Brave Rewards, the company’s data collection process and contradictory policy of forcing users to do KYC in order to withdraw BAT.
I've finally bitten the bullet and made the switch to Brave Browser.
Drawn in by the fact that it runs on the exact same code as Google Chrome, but with privacy features like ad blockers, TOR and without all of the Google trackers.
At first I was super excited about the fact I could earn BAT crypto by doing so.
But after delving a bit deeper into what's really happening, I can’t help but shake my head.
Let’s take a look at Brave Rewards and talk about why I think the system completely defeats the purpose of using a privacy focused browser in the first place.
What are Brave Rewards?
Brave Rewards is a program developed by the company Brave Software, Inc. that rewards users of the Brave web browser for viewing advertisements.
The rewards program is designed to incentivise users to view what they call privacy-respecting ads, shown to users as notifications.
Users can earn rewards in the form of Basic Attention Tokens (BAT), a cryptocurrency, for viewing these ads.
The rewards program is intended to provide a new revenue stream for content creators and to give users a way to support them financially without having to share their personal data with advertisers.
But there is more to the story here.
Do I need to give Brave my data to earn BAT?
According to Brave Software, the rewards program does not require users to share any personal data in order to earn Basic Attention Tokens (BAT).
However, the entire premise of opening yourself up to advertisers on a privacy focused browser is still at best, super contradictory.
Brave Rewards selects private ads to display to you based on your browsing activity, but this matching occurs only on your device and no personal data is sent to Brave's servers.
An anonymous accounting process is used to confirm ad event activity and protect your personal details, while also ensuring that you receive rewards for your attention.
This means that both Brave and the advertisers are unaware of your identity and what you are viewing online.
However, the entire premise of opening yourself up to advertisers on a self-proclaimed privacy focused browser is contradictory at best.
And downright dodgy at worst.
Do I have to do KYC to withdraw BAT from Brave Rewards?
Brave makes themselves out to be different from Google.
To be all about privacy and not intrude on your private life.
But the reality is that Brave Software Inc are nothing more than a registered company like Google, also with regulators and governments to appease.
In order to withdraw the BAT tokens that you’ve earned, supposedly from viewing privacy-respecting ads... Yes, you have to do KYC.
Thus defeating the entire purpose of using the Brave browser itself in the first place.
So Brave’s ethos of being privacy focused is all good and well.
But they’re a company and a company still has to make money in order to survive.
They obviously aren’t paying you 100% of what they’re receiving from advertisers and they’re selling out their users by doing it in a completely traceable manner.
Into KYC only accounts and using a shitty pre-mined token that they remain in full control of distributing.
Final thoughts on the contradiction that is Brave Rewards
Put simply, if you’re using Brave for its privacy focused ethos, but happy to KYC in order for Brave Software Inc to pay you pennies for viewing what they spin as privacy-respecting ads…
…then you’re an idiot.
In saying that, I certainly have nothing against them or anyone who chooses to go down this path.
But just don't pretend you haven't sold out your ethos of permissionless money for a few bucks.
Best of probabilities to you.
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