Brave Browser Review: Can it Topple Chrome and Safari?
Wikipedia is announcing a partnership with blockchain-base browser Brave, which means there’s no better time to bring cryptocurrency users a Brave browser review. The review will cover everything users want to know about a new browser. Why? Well… many reasons. Number one, the privacy rights of the individual are becoming a mainstream issue (Facebook Libra anyone?). Secondly, most people are so comfortable using their existing browsers (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari), they won’t switch without understanding all the features, advantages and benefits of a cool blockchain-based, cryptocurrency integrated browser.
Whether or not this review inspires readers enough to make the move, the reality is millions of other people are switching. Considering that Brave is only entering its third year in existence, having 5.5 million users onboard is nothing to sneeze at. Yes, that pales in comparison to Google Chrome’s more than two billion browsers in use, but Google’s user base stems from the company’s position as the world’s top search engine. Google monetizes the personal data of its users.
Brave is positioning itself to help the individual win back their privacy. The browser is part of a broader movement to democratize wealth and give people their freedom back.
Can Brave really overtake Chrome, Safari, and Firefox to become the world’s leading web browser? Only time will tell. For now, an in depth look at what Brave has to offer will at least get a few people to consider trying it out. We promise.
The Brave Development Team
The project currently lists 74 people on staff handling the product management and software engineering side of the business. Brave also boasts several notable advisors on its executive team, including one of the founders of the cryptocurrency project Zcash and an Angel investor whose resume includes an investment in Facebook. Many other projects in the crypto space overpromise and under deliver. Brave possesses enough credibility and expertise on staff to accomplish the mission of making browsing online private.
An Overview of the Brave Ecosystem
The whitepaper discussing the inner workings of the Basic Attention Token details all the technical aspects of the project. While the browser protects user data and allows people to decide when and where within the browser they wish to see advertising, the token is what rewards users for participating in the ecosystem. The project itself makes four main promises to users:
- To be an open source platform run by the community and for the community.
- To be transparent with regard to the way the platform both stores and blocks data.
- To build a truly decentralized web browser and ecosystem.
- To be efficient in the way it uses processing power and information.
The ecosystem is driven by three key constituents including users, content publishers and advertisers. Those three groups of people will always be linked together on platforms that follow an advertising based business model and don’t charge users a subscription or download fee. However, where traditional centralized platforms like Google and Apple act as a middleman and determine who gets to monetize what, Brave puts the power back into the hands of users. Putting power back into the hands of the people is a common mantra in crypto, but that doesn’t mean advertisers get left hanging. After all, the money has to come from somewhere.
Each of the three stakeholders in Brave’s triad stand to gain from the increased focus on privacy that the browser provides.
Brave Users Unite
Anybody who downloads Brave likely has some basic knowledge of the blockchain and cryptocurrency space. They also understand that a public blockchain provides a certain amount of anonymity seldom provided to users who interact with traditionally centralized platforms. That’s why Brave allows the user to customize everything related to the browsing experience. A user can allow all tracking cookies, deny all of them, or accept some and not others. The browser itself uses Tor as a model for maintaining privacy. Advertisers can only get in front of a user’s eyes if the user agrees to allow advertising. Even then, the advertiser receives a limited amount of data relating to the user’s interaction with the browser.
Being able to control the degree of tracking and advertising a browser collects on a user truly breaks the mould. It empowers people to surf the web safely without having to look over their shoulders. It also means users who do choose to look at advertising are more likely to be interested in the advertiser’s product or services. It’s a win-win for everybody.
Users can also support content publishers by giving them a tip in the form of BAT tokens any time they view or consume content they enjoy. The BAT ecosystem earns its revenue by charging advertisers for exposure and charging users small transaction fees on the token’s blockchain. This means the cost to the end-user is minimal. On top of that, when a tip is sent to a content creator, the creator keeps the majority of the reward. This totally turns the tables for users, making them active participants in determining what provides value on the Internet and how much the providers of that valuable content should be earning for their efforts.
Middleman aren’t the only reason users benefit from Brave. According to statistics on the browser’s official website:
- Up to 50% of the average mobile users data goes to ads and trackers, costing users up to $23 a month.
- Malware attacks have more than doubled over the last year.
- Ads use about five seconds of mobile loading time on average.
- Ads decrease phone battery life by more than 20%.
- Privacy is typically violated when a large media site is hosting 70 or more trackers.
Knowing stats like that it’s easy to see why Brave’s user base is steadily growing. Hopefully more users continue to try out the platform after working their way through this Brave browser review.
Content Publishers Profit
Windows founder and billionaire Bill Gates famously one set that “content is king” on the internet. Even in the early 1990s before everybody in the Western world was connected to the web, Gates was right. However, thanks to the big five tech companies that control much of the world’s data (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google), content publishers routinely get the short end of the stick when it comes to monetizing their hard work.
Brave’s website breaks down the numbers here again:
- Google and Facebook keeps 73% of ad revenues and capitalize on 99% of all the growth.
- Revenue among content publishers is recently down 66%.
- $7.2 billion in damages were inflicted by bots last year.
- Over 600 million phones and desktop computers use ad blockers now.
If everybody using a particular platform is so sick of advertising they’ll do anything to block it and big companies like Google and Facebook are reaping three quarters of the benefits, content producers are doomed under the current framework of the Internet. Brave provides those people with digital courage and a different way to earn revenue.
Advertisers Earn a Return
Advertising is a great way to make money. As long as a business is making more than they are spending, the advertising budget can be increased infinitely. The idea that it takes money to make money is as old as time, but the problem for advertisers is that large tech platforms can’t always deliver the value they promise. Here are some more facts to consider.
- Advertisers don’t get the best information available when it comes to figuring out what they’re paying for.
- Marketers lose out to fake sites and bots.
- Ad targeting is not as effective as it used to be, so the wrong people are seeing the ads.
Sure, global platforms like Facebook and Google make their name off of making money for advertisers and aggregating content from users. At a certain point, platforms get too popular for the small time marketer to succceed. More competition means advertising gets more expensive and the targeting gets tougher to track. That means smaller advertisers lose out.
Brave allows advertisers to show their ads only to people who willingly want to take a look at what they have to offer. Since Brave is still in its early days, advertisers know they’re targeting the right audience. Crypto enthusiasts.
Small time advertisers are much more likely to succeed acting as big fish in a small pond. Brave is currently still a small pond. It operates on principles more conducive to fostering a mutually inviting community where everyone benefits equally.
Two Areas of Improvement for Brave
This wouldn’t be a true Brave browser review without mentioning some of parts of the project that are lacking. There are two main glaring challenges Brave needs to work on in order to truly be a candidate for taking over as the world’s most used and trusted web browser anytime soon.
The first issue with Brave is the fact that very few plug-ins are available for it. People surfing the web nowadays have a plethora of options to choose from for enhancing their browsing experience thanks to Google Chrome extensions and Firefox plugins. Users can download anything developers can create, whether it’s a plug-in that makes downloading videos easier, or one that makes it easier to compare prices when shopping online, there is a plug-in for nearly everything users wish to do.
The second challenge Brave is currently facing is that users can’t sync their browsing experience with other devices. Downloading Google Chrome both to a tablet, laptop and phone means being able to log into the same browser settings on all three platforms, bookmarks included. The same can’t be said for Brave, which means every time a user switches devices, they either need to manually update their settings or settle for doing most of their important browsing on the device they use the most. In this day and age where big tech companies build product-based ecosystems that make interacting with multiple devices seamless, Brave must find a way to catch up.
Will People Keep Switching to Brave?
In considering this Brave browser review, readers might be asking themselves, “Will people keep switching to Brave?” The truth is that long-term adoption of anything new takes a lot of time, so nobody knows the answer to that. Especially when it comes to switching being quantified in numbers. What does one consider to be a mass switch or shift in society’s views on a new web browser becoming the industry leader? Is it 100 million users? How about a billion? What about Firefox and Google Chrome becoming completely discontinued?
The main point in all of this has nothing to do with the numbers at all. It’s more about a change in philosophy. Users who want power back in their hands and want to be able to control how many ads they see, how much money they make and who can show them advertising will definitely want to conduct their own impromptu Brave browser review. On the other hand, people who take the status quo for granted will stay put with the browser they are currently using and only switch when some kind of big controversy related to data exposes itself to the world.
Depending on who asks, it may only be a matter of time before society reaches a tipping point and changes the way we browse the Internet. Perhaps it’s time to be Brave and give something new a try.