Brendan Eich, creator of the Brave browser and the Basic Attention Token (BAT), has dropped hints that a major content publishing website is in talks to adopt BAT usage and payments, during a recent interview with the well-known cryptocurrency-related podcast What Bitcoin Did.
The Brave browser is designed both to block the vast majority of “abusive and dangerous” advertisements and trackers, while simultaneously providing a platform for direct advertising and payments to users, as well as direct funding of content creators from users and advertisers via BAT.
The mention came as Eich was discussing the potential of BAT to provide two revenue streams to online publishing platforms; both from ad revenue, and from “a lightweight, low-friction, user-pays model” - micropayments for individual pieces of content (payments “by the yard”) instead of paying for general access, so as to avoid “cross subsidization” (overpaying for too much content that will never be viewed).
Such micropayments constitute a “found-money effect,” a revenue source that was not previously possible or viable with fiat money. On the potential partnership, Eich consciously hinted:
I’m going to tell a story about a site, and you can guess which it is. It has 80 million adblocking unique visitors per month - it has [...] many more non-adblocking, but it’s a high adblocking incidence. And they are ready to try something with us that would convert those adblocker users [...] to Brave.
Eich said that such adblocking demographics represent big opportunities for both the Brave platform in terms of general growth; but especially for the publishing entities entering the system, because they have the opportunity to immediately benefit from the BAT “grant” payments from users.
These granted tokens are given to users just for using Brave, as a sort of airdrop to quickly prime the payments system. The granted BAT can only be used to fund content creators; it can’t be sold, and the funds expire within 90 days if not used.
The grants are only a temporary measure, in anticipation of the full ad system which is currently being user-tested, according to Eich. This system will eventually pay users for watching ads, with advertisers paying users directly for their time (hence the name: basic attention token).
Well, Who’s The Partner?
This staff writer has done some back-of-the-napkin sleuthing, in an attempt - just for fun, not investment advice! - to narrow down which website Eich could have referred to.
The key piece of evidence is “80 million adblocking unique visitors per month.” According to Statista, a well-known and used web traffic statistics aggregator, 27% of global users on average use adblocking software. A website counting 80 million unique adblocked users should therefore garner about 300 million total unique monthly visitors.
According to another trusted data tracker, SimilarWeb, there are a number of publishing-style content websites hitting in this general range. Wordpress ranks at the top, with 327 million per month; Pinterest falls perfectly in the zone, at 303 million; Quora, Reddit, XHamster and IMDB fill out the bottom of the range, with 270, 245, 241, and 233 million respectively.
Neither Wordpress, nor Pinterest, nor Quora are currently registered under the BAT payment scheme. Of these three, Wordpress has already proved to be a crypto-friendly platform, being registered as a Civic Secure Identity Platform (CVC). In a convenient triangulation, Brave itself is also partnered with Civic for identity and know-your-customer services.
During the podcast, he said that 23,000 entities are now signed up to receive BAT payments through the Brave platform. Dow Jones Media Group, and the Guardian and Washington Post newspapers are already onboard the platform. Eich added that about 90,000 users were consciously funding their BAT wallets, with a total of about 413,000 wallets funded - with "grants [having] made up the bulk of [that funding]."
BAT has had a good month or so, price wise, climbing about 160% from mid-September lows on expectations - now fulfilled - of a Coinbase listing, for a recent high of $0.39.