There’s a new ad network on the internet which could change the face of digital advertising. Brave Ads, a Web 3.0 ad network, is pursuing the ambitious idea of connecting advertisers and publishers directly. If that sounds familiar, it should. Efficiently connecting advertisers and publishers is the timeless problem in advertising, re-emerging itself once again. The dilemma is almost identical to that in 2004 on Web 2.0. Yet somehow since the early 2000s, intermediaries stepped in to facilitate, creating a market ripe for fraud and wasteful fees. Ultimately, this means less money for publishers; a problem the Brave Ads network wants to solve with its Brave browser and Basic Attention Token.
What is the Basic Attention Token?
The Basic Attention Token (BATs) is a digitally-native coin on Brave Ads network, which represents the value of a unit of someone’s attention.
“Direct Deals” on Web 3.0
Direct deals are back on Web 3.0 via the Brave Ads network. Unique attention has an actual value to an advertiser, and they can buy user attention directly from publishers. The advertiser simply sends BATs to the publisher’s wallet with, no middleman. They’ve gained traction and have significant relevance on Web 3.0, because of all the waste in the current ecosystem.
Ad Tech Intermediaries Cause Waste
In an attempt to connect advertisers and publishers on Web 2.0, intermediaries like SSPs, DSPs, and exchanges have saturated the market. And there are many inefficiencies and risks that come with a market where supply and demand are not directly transacting, like:
- Oligopoly risk – Google and Facebook accounts for 73% of the market, and 99% of growth.
- Fraud – billions get lost every year due to ad fraud.
- Lower Profits – with newspaper deals, the fee charged to the publisher was 15%. Today, it’s over 70% at times. When you hide the ball through numerous layers of tech, it’s easy to overcharge customers.
- Vendor risk – the blind run times for ad tech are not only slow, but totally beholden to the powers at be (look at the market confusion and scrambling to be iOS 14 compliant!)
- Poor Browsing UX – given all the unique ad tech scripts that load, page load time is insanely slower than it should be.
- Poor Alternatives – the paywall system is cool, but how many subscription services can one sign up for? Micro-payments never gained traction in the US, either.
Brave Ads is attempting to solve all this with a private, open-sourced, decentralized browser, and BATs, each of which represents the most precious commodity of all: someone’s unique, actual attention.
How Brave Ads and The Basic Attention Token Work
Like any other digital coin, advertisers buy BATs with fiat money. Next, they send the BATs directly to the publisher of their choice (i.e. Target sends BATs to the LA Times wallet via the Brave Browser). Meanwhile, when a Brave browser user on latimes.com chooses to see a Target ad, they get a piece of the BATs paid to the LA Times, in exchange for their unique attention. Advertisers achieve higher ROI based on super targeted advertising (user opted to see it). Brave uses a geo-based machine learning algorithm to serve up relevant ads, before the user chooses to view it. There’s no opportunity for fraud, and no wasteful intermediaries.
And yes, you can now get paid to view ads on Web 3.0 (sound familiar?).
- The open source of Mozilla’s Firefox
- With the privacy of DuckDuckGo
- And a crypto wallet extension attached
- It loads 2-8X faster because of the lack of tracking
- While fully iOS 14 compliant, by default and design
The network has the highest adoption of any Ethereum-based network in the world because it’s largely a proven technology (compared to other speculative altcoins). And it’s observing widespread adoption.
Brave and its BATs: Changing the Landscape?
Brave Ads network is gaining serious traction. In Q1 2020, BATs token had the highest user adoption and utility of any ERC-20 token in the world. Why? Because it’s a proven technology already being used (vs. many altcoin technologies, still have yet to be proven).
As of May 2021, the BATS network looks like this:
- 32.4M active users on Brave browser
- 12M connected wallets
- 400 advertisers in 190 countries
- 1M+ publishers (including Cheddar, WaPo and LA Times)
We believe this will continue to grow, because the underlying asset is only going t go up over time: attention.
Time Is Not Money, Attention is Precious
In the market for attention, there is supply (user –> publisher) and demand (advertisers –> media buyer). And although we hear “time is money” all the time, that is a platitude that is simply not true. Time is not money, because one thing we cannot get back is lost time. Lose money, you can make up for it later. But if you lose time, you never get that back. We all have 24 hours in a day, and that makes time the great equalizer among humanity: we are all given the same daily allotment.
So when it comes to someones attention, that is the most precious of commodities. Advertisers value unique attention. And in a society that is cranking out more information per hour than centuries past, someones unique attention becomes that much more valuable. More information over time means the value of attention should go up over time.
The Future of the Basic Attention Token
That said, we believe Brave Ads – which creates for the advertiser, publisher and user a win-win-win scenario – is on to something. Users get privacy and get paid to see ads; advertisers actually get someones relevant and unique attention; and most importantly, publishers earn the lions share of ad dollars, without having to be tech savvy. Brave ads isn’t necessarily a different model than what was contemplated on Web 2.0 (except for user rewards, of course). They just seem to have found a way to efficiently connect advertiser and publisher. And their name is quite fitting, given their model poses an existential threat to Google and Facebook. It’s a very brave model.
Are you a publisher accepting BATs? We’d love to chat with you. Also check out our industry insights in digital advertising for more commentary and perspectives.