Brave Payments Uses Bitcoin Micropayments to Block Ads

There’s a war on in digital advertising. Facebook, whose ads are its lifeblood, is fighting ad blockers, while other services continue to find innovative ways to help users skip the marketing.

Another such way was announced yesterday: Brave, a web browser designed to eliminate ads co-founded by former Mozilla executive Brendan Eich, who has launched a micropayments service called Brave Payments. The system works in conjunction with BitGo’s technology, enabling users to set which sites they visit receive payment and which do not.

“A lot of the modernization on the Internet depends on ads or payments, but there’s little to no transparency,” said Brave CEO and co-founder Brendan Eich. “You have to rely on third parties and trust them, to rely on these feudal cloud lords who make money off your data. We want you to trust math, not us.”

As displayed in the image, users of the Brave browser—whose ledger technology is currently available on desktop only, with mobile soon to come—switch on payments after creating a Brave Wallet, and the amount of bitcoins they pay to their selected sites is determined by time on page and number of page views.

The micropayments could be measured in one-millionth of a bitcoin, although as bitcoin’s value fluctuates there is no standard rate of payment. Bitcoins are divisible down to eight decimal places, according to the Bitcoin wiki. (1 satoshi = 0.00000001 BTC)

The private and anonymous nature of the payments is another attraction for users of Brave’s browser, where two of the three keys for a user’s wallet live, while BitGo has the third. Brave’s browser is personalized to each user because it lives entirely on that user’s device. According to Eich, Brave is not tracking user behavior in any way “and it never will.”

“We want to support user-generated content,” said Eich. “We put the user first, the publisher second, and the platform last. Brave and the publishers also can’t link payments to users; we don’t have the keys to your wallet and neither do they.”

While Brave currently has payments blocked on sites such as YouTube, the service could eventually be used to directly pay content creators—such as individual YouTubers—rather than sending money to “cloud lords” (Eich’s term) such as Google.

To learn more about micropayments and other fintech trends, join us at Bank Innovation Israel, November 1-3.Register here

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