Gab's Brave Browser Fork Uses Bitcoin’s Lightning Network Instead of BAT

Gab, a purportedly uncensored social media microblogging platform, is reportedly looking to fork the Brave browser to create a “free-speech browser” and, in the future, a “free-speech marketplace and app store,” both powered by bitcoin.

Bitcoin, as covered, has been promoted by the microblogging platform as “free speech money” to its then over 850,000 users. The company, headed by Andrew Torba, has recently launched a browser plug-in called Dissenter, meant to be the “comment section of the internet.”

Gab has been under fire after reports revealed the shooter behind the Pittsburg synagogue massacre was a Gab user. The platform first started accepting cryptocurrency payments in December of last year, after seeing payment processors like Square, PayPal, and Stripe turn their backs on it. The company has even seen crypto-friendly processors like Coinbase and Cash App refuse to work with it.

Its browser extension was recently booted from the Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox web stores, which prompted Gab to fork the Brave browser, and launch its own “free speech” browser.

Gab’s fork of the Brave browser – which was created by former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich – isn’t going to use Brave’s Basic Attention Token (BAT), but will instead use bitcoin’s layer-two scaling solution, the Lightning Network.

Interestingly, Brave’s token is set to be used to create an entirely new digital revenue model, in which users are rewarded for seeing ads with a percentage of the revenue from them, while their privacy is preserved. By default, Brave blocks ads and trackers.

The browser has recently launched its own advertising network, meaning it is now rewarding users for seeing ads on the browser. These, so far, are only small notifications.

Dissenter: A Brave Browser Fork

Gab’s fork of the Brave browser, the Dissenter browser, is reportedly keeping the Brave parts it finds useful, like the default ad and tracker blocker, as well as access to Tor. It is, however, removing Brave’s ERC-20 based BAT token, which Gab has been bashing on social media.

The browser, Torba told Decrypt Media, has been created to help cut off access to “user data and ad revenue” for Silicon Valley companies like Google. This, per his words, includes Brave, which he claims built a model more beneficial for advertisers than users.

Brendan Eich himself has had a few clashes with Gab on social media, and doesn’t appear to be pleased with Gab forking his browser and removing BAT from the equation. To Eich, Gab’s goal appears to be to increase the reach of its extension.

Torba, on the other end, claims to not understand the controversy, as he claims the “point of open source is to allow others to build upon an existing codebase and add more value.” Brave itself, he added, “is a fork of the Google Chromium project.”

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Analytics Firm Tradeblock Predicts Bitcoin Mining Costs Over $12,500 Following Halving

Michael LaVere
  • Analytics firm Tradeblock estimates the cost of mining a single bitcoin to be over $12,500 following May's halving.
  • Increasing hash rate and reduced block reward will force miners to sell at higher break-even costs. 

Blockchain analytics firm Tradeblock estimates that the cost to mine bitcoin will rise to over $12,500 following May’s halving event. 

According to the report , May’s halving event, which will reduce the supply of newly minted bitcoin by 50%, will significantly increase the breakeven cost for miners. Tradeblock researchers estimate that commercial mining operators were able to achieve a healthy profit margin throughout most of 2019, with the rising competition in hash rate corresponding to an increase in bitcoin’s price. 

The report reads, 

Network hash rate has continued on a record run, making new highs nearly each week [...] As resources dedicated to mining rise over time, efficiency gains and/or mining costs rise. As such, in order to maintain healthy profit margins for miners, a rising hash rate is typically needed to correspond with a rising bitcoin price.

Tradeblock reports the current breakeven cost for bitcoin miners to be around $6800 using Bitmain’s Antminer series. However, the analytics firm claims that cost will increase to over $12,500 following May’s halving from a combination of rising hash rate and reduced mining reward.  

Tradeblock says miners are anticipating bitcoin’s price to increase in order to cover their operating costs, 

Our estimated breakeven costs indicate that miners are continuing to increase resources towards the network despite what is set to become a cost (per mined btc) increase following the halving. This suggests that miners are likely expecting the price of bitcoin to rise to higher levels (above ~$12,000-15,000 per BTC) around the halving allowing them to continue to generate a profit.

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