Brave, a Bitcoin Browser focused on privacy, speed, and micropayments for content, has recently secured an initial seed fund worth $4.5 million from Propel Ventures, a $250 million venture fund started by BBVA.
The funds this round are marked for platform growth and development; we may see even faster speeds when browsing or more power efficient battery consumption when using Brave, with a 40-60 percent increase in the browser speed according to metrics from the company.
Brave, being the product of the combined efforts of Mozilla’s former CEO as well as the creator of Java, Brave not only promises a faster user experience but a safer one as well. With an integrated ad blocker, encryption of all web traffic with HTTPS everywhere, fingerprinting shields, phishing protection, malware filtering, and script blocking all standard with installation, security when browsing the internet has never been easier.
Brave has a plan to replace the ads you see on a website with Brave’s own advertisements, placed after the web page is done loading, however. The ads will be unobtrusive and few, and will use anonymous targeting for respect of user privacy. Brendan Eich, CEO and President of Brave Software, stated,
“Online advertisers have been exploiting user data for years without consent, sometimes even infecting devices with malware. It’s no wonder that 200 million users worldwide have adopted ad-blocking to defend themselves. Viewing content on the Internet should not come at the expense of one’s safety.”
Another potential venue for Brave to utilize these funds is in regards to their Bitcoin support and integration which they call Brave Ledger, a micropayment system that uses Bitcoin to support and fund user’s favorite websites. BitGo and Coinbase have partnered with the browser to provide wallets, and a means to purchase Bitcoin; many users of the browser will be new to Bitcoin, and this is an excellent way to introduce the concept of an “internet money.”
Brave is not actively advertising the Bitcoin support, however, rather preferring that the users see it as an incredibly convenient way to send small amounts of money. In the future, this may be in exchange for access to a viral online article, a month of ad-free browsing on a website, or just as a donation for a site the user wishes to support, as elaborated by Brendan Eich,
“We’re really only using bitcoin under the hood. We’re trying not to make users care about it or learn about it if they don’t want to… The main idea with Brave is that you don’t have to think about Bitcoin, you just have this frictionless payment system.”
While it is possible to turn these off and block all ads and tracking the default settings for the browser will be to replace ads. However, I expect most people not to mind the unobtrusive ads, as Brave will be splitting the ad revenue with publishers at 55/45, growing to a 70/30 split as the user base increases with a long-term end goal to funnel back some of the revenue into the user’s wallets.
A lot of money is riding on two potential game changers: a Bitcoin micropayment system as well as an unprecedented way of handling ads, both with the intention of supporting publishers. Version 1.0 of the browser is expected to release in September, with developer versions for both desktop and mobile platforms available now.