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Coinbase-explored Basic Attention Token’s (BAT) Brave Browser Attains 10 Million Downloads

Before Coinbase decided to put Basic Attention Token (BAT) among the assets they are exploring, the cryptocurrency has been performing in the space.

Now, the Brave Browser, which rewards users with BAT, has reached a milestone of 10 Million Download on Google Play store. This is a giant milestone for BAT, which appears not so popular until Coinbase mentioned it is exploring it.

The browser is a fast, open source, and privacy-focused. It blocks malvertisements, trackers, and contains a ledger system that anonymously captures user attention to accurately reward publishers. On the browser users are rewarded for their contents.

“The Brave browser knows where users spend their time, making it the perfect tool to calculate and reward publishers with BATs. This service creates a transparent and efficient Blockchain-based digital advertising market.”

Through the browser, publishers are rewarded with more revenue because middlemen and fraud are reduced. Those who use the browser are served with fewer but better targeted ads devoid of malware, while advertisers are receive better data on their spending.

Brave Has 3 Million Monthly Active Users

In July, Brave announced they now has over 3 million monthly active users (over 3.1 million as of July 1st). They added that they are moving to pass the 5 million mark before the end of 2018.

The statement added that, “Brave has also reached the Top 10 category in “free communication apps” for its Android browser in the Google Play Store in the United States as well 20 countries across Europe, Asia, and the Americas”.

“This includes #8 in the U.S., #7 in Canada,  #8 in France, #4 in Portugal, #6 in Spain, #5 in Ireland, as well as #3 in Indonesia, #7 in Singapore, #10 in South Korea, and #5 in Argentina.”

BAT Grants Dishes Out $500,000 BAT Giveaway

That same July, Brave publicized they issued BAT grants to Brave users as part of the monthly $500,000 BAT giveaway. In the same line, the statement stated that Brave had over 18,000 Brave verified publishers (over 4,500 websites and 13,500 YouTube and Twitch streamers).

Basic Attention Token (BAT) has been a growing idea before Coinbase made it known to its users they are adding the cryptocurrency.

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Dow Jones Media Group And Brave Blockchain Platform To Test ‘Consent-Based Ads’

The Dow Jones Media Group and the Blockchain-powered privacy-oriented web browser Brave have formed a partnership to test Blockchain technology in digital advertising, according to a press release published yesterday, April 18.

Brave, which was developed by the Brendan Eich, creator of JavaScript and the co-founder of Mozilla, raised $35 mln in 30 seconds durings its Initial Coin Offering (ICO) for the Basic Attention Token (BAT) held last June.

Through its new partnership with the Dow Jones Media Group, the Brave browser reports it will provide access to either Dow Jones Media Group’s brands Barrons.com or the MarketWatch newsletters to a limited number of users, as the two sites will become “verified publishers” on Brave’s BAT platform. According to AdWeek, Brave browser users earn BAT tokens by engaging with ad content from verified publishers, now including these two Dow Jones Media Group brands. The platform reports that BAT tokens can then be used to pay for premium content.

Eich told Adweek that Brave seeks to cut out the middleman in the ad industry, stating that they are “trying to reconnect the funding that comes in gross payments after the fact from advertisers and gets chopped down by a bunch of middle players—notably Google—and the remnants are given to publishers”:

“We’d like to improve the efficiency of that system by cutting out the middle players and help publishers directly connect to their readers.”

Dow Jones Media Group and Brave will be “test[ing] a number of innovative solutions in the news and information space,” like working with “consent-based” ads that give consumers the chance to affirm their interest in seeing the ad, AdWeek reports.

Senior vice president at Barron’s, Daniel Bernard, said in the press release that the partnership is an “exciting and innovative step for Dow Jones Media Group,” and publisher of Dow Jones Media Group Almar Latour said that the company has a “keen interest in [B]lockchain, privacy, and how digital users interact with content,” according to AdWeek.

Yesterday, IBM and Salon Media announced a similarly-themed partnership for a pilot Proof-of-Concept Blockchain product designed to cut out intermediaries between advertisers, publishers, and consumers. Salon had already experimented with other ways around traditional advertising revenue this year, when they offered users a slightly misleading choice between seeing ads or letting the site use their “unused computing power,” aka crypto mining without saying mining.

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YouTube Adpocalypse Gets Blockchain Solution

There is something curious going on with YouTube; it’s a strange phenomenon that Forbes called ‘Adpocalypse.’ The rampant demonetization of videos by Google on YouTube has heavily hit the earnings of popular content creators. Amos Yee, Singapore’s enfant terrible who is famous for dissing the city-state’s founder Lee Kuan Yew on YouTube, recently stirred up more controversy in his former homeland.

Yee asked his followers to support his videos on Patreon:

“Now more than 50 percent of the current videos on my channel have been demonetized, and because future videos of mine will obviously deal with controversial political subjects and [have] vulgar language, there’s a very high chance that more than 50 percent of my videos will continue to be demonetized and I won’t make money [off] them.”

Yee is not alone; there are others who have also been hit by this wave of YouTube demonetization. Philip DeFranco, a YouTuber with 4.5 mln subscribers called demonetization a “form of censorship” in a Business Insider article.

YouTube alternatives

If income loss is an issue then people can simply choose an alternative platform right? The answer would be, it is not so simple. YouTube has over one bln users and according to them, that is one-third of the Internet.

The second most wellknown video-oriented website is Vimeo, which has 170 mln users worldwide out of which 42 mln are in the United States.

However, Vimeo is seeing phenomenal rise and they claim that they have grown 80 percent over the last year.

The philosophy behind the two platforms is completely different. Vimeo basically charges content creators for putting their content on the platform and offers 500/MB per week of free storage (25 GB/year).

YouTube is fueled by advertisements and sharing that revenue with creators. Some YouTubers though have experimented with Vimeo by making films. These include Joey Graceffa and ComicBookGirl19. CNBC quoted  Kerry Trainor the former CEO of Vimeo as saying,

“When it comes to monetizing that viewing experience, it’s about allowing and empowering creators to actually charge for content instead of relying on a purely mass advertising-based model.”

YouTube claims demonetization strengthens creators

YouTube published a blog this year which claimed that they want creators to ‘express themselves while earning revenue.’ They wrote, “There’s a difference between the free expression that lives on YouTube and the content that brands have told us they want to advertise against. Our advertiser-friendly content policies set the tone for which videos can earn revenue, ensuring that ads only appear where they should. To make sure we apply this process fairly, we also give creators the chance to appeal if they feel any of their videos have been unfairly demonetized. We take these steps because advertiser confidence is critical to the financial success of our creators.” On first sight, this may feel like an effort to balance the needs of sponsors and advertisers and those of creators, but it also appears that YouTube is nudging creators only to make content that is palatable to moneybags or else suffer financially.  This is at the heart of the problem.

Third party revenue streams

San Francisco based Patreon has emerged as an alternative model for raising funds for YouTubers who are unhappy with the current state of affairs. Patreon lets viewers make monthly and ongoing ‘pledges’ that benefit creators directly. The website claims that they have sent over $150 mln so far to creators. They charge a five percent fee from the revenue that is raised for the creators. At the moment they are supporting a wide variety of content creators beyond just video creators like musicians, writers, comic book artists, podcasters etc.

Now Brave too have jumped into the fray with their latest desktop browser. We have already covered how Brave ICO raised  $35 mln through an ICO that issued BAT tokens. Brave users have a choice, they can either distribute contributions based on the time they spend viewing videos or by ‘pinning’ a set amount to their favourite creator. Brendan Eich, CEO of Brave Software Inc. explains why they choose extend the reward system to YouTubers, “We see big platforms exploiting the new generation of content creators who generate so much value for the platform owners, yet increasingly face sudden drops in ad revenues, and even demonetization.” Emphasising the need to connect viewers and YouTube content creators, he adds, “Brave reconnects users directly to content creators; with Brave Payments which we made available in beta using Bitcoin over the last year, and now provide built into Brave for laptops and desktops using the Basic Attention Token (BAT) instead of Bitcoin.”

Space for a decentralized solution

YouTube content creators who were up till now only at the mercy of Google have started to explore options when it comes to monetization of their content.

The arbitrary nature of demonetization, which puts the onus on creators to ensure that they either produce ‘advertiser-friendly content’ or go through a ‘process’ with YouTube.

Brave will help YouTubers avoid the vague rules that they are subject to at the moment, as an example creators with less than 10,000 lifetime views do not receive ad revenue.

While there are alternatives available like Patreon, that also puts creators at the mercy of an intermediary.

Talking to us about how a decentralised platform could play a role here, Brendon tells us, “Patreon is successful because it lets people contribute directly to creators registered there, but we see Brave as a decentralized way for users to go direct, via pinned contributions in Brave Payments.

These pay a percent of the user’s chosen monthly budget in BAT to recipients, without any centralized registration-based website acting as intermediary.”

Everyone can benefit

It is not only the content creators that Brave is focusing on but also the viewers. Brave users enjoy an ad-free experience without having to worry about installing extra plugins. Brendan tells us that YouTube creators who will promote Brave will see a ‘lift in contributions via Brave Payments.’

He reveals, “We will move to give Brave users BAT grants soon, and we have user-private ads that pay users the bulk of the revenue on our agenda, starting with trials in the first part of next year.

This should be win/win/win for YouTube content creators, their fans, and Brave.” At the moment these features that Brave are introducing are only available on the desktop.

We are told that the release for mobile will be announced in the near future. Brave has already passed one mln downloads on Android.

Fortune favors the Brave

What Brave is doing is letting YouTube users enjoy an ad-free experience, while letting YouTube content creators enjoy an alternate stream of revenue through Brave Payments fuelled by BAT token.

This decentralized Blockchain based system is an alternative universe and a new way of doing things, which is dynamically different from what Google are offering.

Brendan acknowledges that but also tells us that it is about being Brave in the end, “Brave is for users who have the courage to defend their data and experience against tracking and advertising, which have proven to be two sides of the same abusive coin controlled by the big platforms.

If this puts us at odds with Google in the short run, we believe in the long run the Web Standards will rise to address user rights, privacy by design, intermediary-free payments and even anonymous ads — all of which we are building into Brave and Google is not building into Chrome.”

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Thirteen Blockchain Companies Included in CBS Insights Fintech 250 Startup List

A total of 13 Blockchain startup companies were included in the latest CBS Insights Fintech 250 startup list as of early October 2017. The report compiles “emerging fintech startups that are changing the face of the fintech industry.” It also cites the booming growth of the financial technology (fintech) sector.

The major industries where the bulk of the companies on the list come from include the processing and payment infrastructure, capital markets and trading and wealth management. Also included in the top six are mobile banking, business lending and merchant services.

The Blockchain industry, meanwhile, is among the smaller industries in the fintech sector.

Blockchain and cryptocurrency firms included in the list

The Blockchain industry has been a key buzzword in the financial services sector for the past couple of years, particularly when the topic turned to fintech innovations. This could be one of the reasons why several Blockchain startups were included in the CBS Insights list. Among those included in the list are Ripple, Blockstream, Blockstack, Chain and Xapo. These companies are all well-respected in their own rights.

Also included in the list are Coinbase, Brave, Digital Asset, Factom and bitFlyer, which are virtual currency exchanges trying to make things happen in the sector. Polybius, meanwhile, is among the major investors in Blockchain startup companies.

It can be noted that all of these companies are trying to implement their own innovative ways in their operations. So far, they are experiencing varying degrees of success. Ripple, for example, is implementing a different approach compared to its competitors.

Blockstream, meanwhile, is receiving a lot of criticism lately for allegedly hindering Bitcoin innovations.

Despite these developments, it is still good to see the inclusion of several digital currencies and Blockchain-related companies in the CBS Insights list. It is also interesting to see if a greater number of firms will be included in the list in the near future.

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Can Blockchain Help Democratize Online Content Economy?

The thing about digital advertising and online publishing is that everyone involved in content creation may be equally benefiting from it.

Most of the time, only the ones on the top of the organizational chart are reaping what the creators sowed and gaining huge amounts of revenue. Whereas the creators and the brains behind the brilliant campaign take away so little to nothing at all.

Such situation is soon to change as Blockchain technology opens new doors of opportunities to make the online content economy transparent to everyone involved.

While there had been efforts by publishers to cut out the middlemen in the past, Blockchain aims to completely eliminate all the unnecessary processes and friction altogether.

Blockchain decentralized video

One of such emerging projects is Viuly, a decentralized video sharing platform which allows authors to sell access to their premium content while users can watch free videos and get rewards. Meanwhile, it allows advertisers to place ads and pay directly to our users and essentially cutting the middleman in the process.

Blockchain technology is more than just for monetary transactions

While there had been quite a few people who have been trading in Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies, the technology’s applications extend beyond finance.

Thanks to the secure and transparent nature of Blockchain, the very same technology that powers cryptocurrencies, it requires no broker or middlemen. With such efficient system in place for everyday financial transactions, it is also seen to be beneficial not only to monetary exchanges but also applicable to various other industries including publishing and media.

In the online content economy, Blockchain technology has paved a way to platforms where people provide fair contribution and receive fair compensation for all parties involved. It helps deduct fees by offering a platform where publishers do not have to pay intermediaries.

Blockchain technology and digital content and advertising

The best example of this Blockchain-based advertising is the Brave browser, which is co-funded by the inventor JavaScript and many other projects, Brendan Eich. The idea of this model is to award Basic Attention Tokens (BATs) the viewers and publishers when they turn on the ads. The project comes complete with a BAT wallet for every user so they can send BATs to the creators if they like a particular content. On the other hand, the publishers will gain insight of the views and user attention. This way, they can optimize their ads more.

Conclusion

As these projects continue to follow the concept of enabling users to monetize their creations and efforts in sharing and promoting digital content, it helps breed for a more beneficial environment for all stakeholders involved – creators, audience and advertisers in the process.