Why Brave Browser Uses Basic Attention Token (BAT) Instead of Bitcoin (BTC)

On Monday (3 September 2018), Brendan Eich, co-founder and CEO of Brave Software explained on Twitter why the Brave web browser uses the Basic Attention Token (BAT) instead of Bitcoin (BTC) for rewarding publishers.

As covered by CryptoGlobe, Eich recently reported that Brave had over four million active monthly users:

When you use the Brave web browser, by default, it blocks ads, trackers, and "fingerprinting" -- which is great for users, but obviously hurts publishers because it deprives them of ad revenue. However, users can choose to anonymously support their favorite websites using a mechanism called "Brave Payments." This is how the FAQ section on the Brave website explains this feature:

"Brave Payments is a system that allows you to anonymously donate to content producers that you like. All you need to do is create a BAT wallet and add an amount. Then, when you visit websites, Brave Payments automatically distributes microdonations based on the time you devote. You can customize your list of favorite websites. You can even 'pin' specific sites to receive a certain amount every month. It’s like becoming a patron."

So, what made Brave's CEO talk about BTC and BAT on a U.S. public holiday (Labor Day)?

It all started when Francis Pouliot, a Bitcoin maximalist, suggested that Brave Software had made a mistake by using the Basic Attention Token instead of just using Bitcoin.

Eich replied that the Brave browser (which got launched in 2016) had initially used Bitcoin:

Pouliot then recommended to Eich to use Bitcoin and the Lightning Network for its micro-payments in order to make the Brave browser future-proof:

Eich replied that most publishers are not really interested in getting paid in bitcoin:

Eich then gave some of the reasons why his company had decided to abandon the idea of using Bitcoin for payments in Q4 2017:

Eich noted that, in general, businesses (especially advertisers and publishers) were not interested in buying, holding, or selling crypto (because crypto is still "bleeding edge stuff"), and that is why they "do not require any publisher to accept crypto of any kind"; instead, they "partner with Uphold for exchange from and to many fiats and cryptos."

He did, however, add that they are working on a "crypto out" wallet:

With regard to the question of Bitcoin vs Ethereum, he said that they had decided for the time being to stay with the Ethereum platform (BAT is an ERC-20 token):

When asked why not use the Lighning Network for scalable, instant Bitcoin transactions, Eich replied that he was not ruling out this option at some point in future:

Eich added they are also keeping their eyes on EOS:

Finally, it is worth remembering that on 13 July 2018, Coinbase announced that it was exploring the idea of supporting the Basic Attention Token (BAT) on its trading platforms.