Understanding Basic Attention Token (BAT): An easy introduction

I want to share a simple guide to help people understand BAT: what it is, what it solves, and how. People are naturally very interested in the project (which is led by Brendan Eich, inventor of Javascript and co-founder of Mozilla and Firefox), but sometimes have a hard time grasping the big idea or have certain misconceptions about how the project will work. I hope this short intro will help!

This introduction post is also available on the official BAT subreddit at https://www.reddit.com/r/BATProject/, which I strongly encourage you to visit!

What is Basic Attention Token (BAT)?

Basic Attention Token is a decentralized, transparent digital advertising platform based on the Ethereum blockchain. The platform is comprised of many components: a digital ad exchange that allows advertisers to purchase ad space and user attention, analytics dashboards, machine learning matching algorithms, attention measurement & reward systems, and more.

BAT ($BAT) is the ticker symbol for the Ethereum-based ERC20 utility token, utilized as the unit of account for attention within the BAT platform.

  1. Advertisers will transact in $BAT to purchase advertising space and user attention;
  2. Publishers and content creators will receive ad revenue and user contributions in $BAT;
  3. Users will be rewarded in $BAT for their attention (“ad revenue sharing”).

When users choose to view ads within the BAT ecosystem, they will be compensated for their attention in $BAT. For example, users will receive 70% revenue share per ad displayed through “private ad slots” (e.g., a private ad tab in the Brave browser).

How does BAT work with Brave?

Brave is an open-source, privacy-protecting, performant web browser with millions of users that blocks ads and trackers by default. It is available on Android, iOS, Windows, macOS and Linux. Brave integrates BAT but is not identical to it (see section: “Is BAT Restricted to the Brave Browser?”).

Brave integrates the BAT platform in the following ways:

  • Brave Payments. Brave Payments is a program that allows users to support their favorite publishers and content creators (e.g., YouTubers, etc.). By default, Brave Payments determines a user’s contribution(s) as the user browses, automatically calculating the distribution for settlement at the end of each month based on time spent viewing content. Users can also pin specific contribution amounts regardless of time spent viewing content, much like Patreon. At present, users who opt into Brave Payments have a unidirectional, in-browser BAT wallet with multiple funding options that will be used to send their $BAT contributions. Future updates will include a multi-directional wallet upgrade that will allow users to transfer $BAT (such as $BAT earned from the BAT Ads program) out of the wallet.
  • BAT Ads. Users that opt into BAT Ads will receive a share of revenue from advertising that is displayed to them in the form of $BAT. With BAT Ads, user attention is valued. Ads from the BAT ecosystem will primarily be displayed to the user directly in private ad slots (like a private ad tab) in the form of rich push notifications, full-page HTML5 content, landing pages and more. As stated above, users will receive 70% of ad revenue for viewing ads in private ad slots. In the future, publishers will also be able to opt in and display indirect BAT Ads on their content for which they will receive 70% of ad revenue, and the user an additional 15%.

Is BAT restricted to the Brave browser?

While the Brave browser is the primary focus for the BAT platform integration roadmap, the team intends to extend BAT beyond the Brave browser. We envision the BAT platform being extended to other web browsers (via extensions), chat/messaging applications, games, and other attention-economy apps. The work to extend the platform beyond the Brave browser will take place following the Apollo phase in the BAT roadmap. For more info on the potential areas for extending the BAT platform, see our Driving User Adoption and Extending the BAT Platform blog post.

What makes BAT different?

BAT represents a fundamental rethinking of the way digital ads are delivered. The current model depends on third-party tracking — with tracking pixels, scripts, cookies — and countless middlemen, as advertisements are matched and served by third-party servers. BAT eschews the need for third-party tracking and middlemen by matching and delivering ads locally, on-device, from an inventory catalog of available ads and offers.

Delivering ads this way confers many benefits. For example:

  • Privacy. Users’ browsing data (e.g., browsing history) can be kept private, as all data required for ad-matching never leaves the device and third-party trackers are blocked by default.
  • Improved ad matching. The browser has the full corpus of user data and intent signals, including active tabs, URL and search keyword entry data, browsing history, etc. The platform, in conjunction with the browser, can determine if a user is actually in the optimal time and place in their browsing experience for an offer.
  • Better experience. Since ad matching is performed locally, users do not need to call out to external servers on every page load for tracking scripts, tracking pixels, etc. This leads to a quantifiably faster browsing experience, in addition to battery life and data usage savings. Ads will not be served in in-page slots, avoiding “banner blindness” issues and disrupting page content flow.

What can I use $BAT for?

With Brave Payments, you can use $BAT to support your favorite publishers and content creators on the web. We also envision $BAT being used to redeem premium content and various perks. For example, we aim to build a marketplace among our verified partners where the benefit will be from using BAT as opposed to a specific service. We might offer different options to convert BAT to gift cards, discounted subscriptions for content, etc. Think of the BAT platform as a perk marketplace, with platform-specific offers.

Of course, $BAT can always be withdrawn and exchanged for fiat or other currencies.

How do I purchase $BAT?

  • Through BAT’s partner, Uphold.com (fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies)
  • By funding one’s Brave wallet with BTC, ETH or LTC (automatic conversion to $BAT will occur in the background)
  • With credit card or debit card directly through the Brave wallet (coming soon!)
  • Secondary exchanges that list $BAT

Disclaimer: While we are aware that the token is currently being traded on the exchanges listed here, we have not encouraged or facilitated this exchange trading in any way. We have provided the foregoing information solely as a means of reducing the inquiries we receive directly.

BAT Token Launch Info

BAT’s token launch took place on May 31st, 2017. The total supply of $BAT (1.5B tokens) was created during the token launch, of which 1B tokens were sold and the remaining 500M set aside for a user growth pool and development team pool. There are no plans for any subsequent token creation event or sale.

The proceeds from the token launch are being used for the development and growth of the platform. See this blog post for a breakdown of how the proceeds are distributed.

In addition to the token launch, the project is funded by Founders Fund, Foundation Capital, Propel Venture Partners, Pantera Capital, DCG, Danhua Capital, and Huiyin Blockchain Venture among others.

Why should I care about BAT?

The multibillion-dollar digital advertising industry is in crisis. User privacy has become a casualty in an ever-increasing consumer-surveillance ad model that relies on tracking and profiling users. Publishers and content creators are shutting down or retaliating with self-destructive tactics as users enable ad-blockers in response to privacy violations, irrelevant ads and malvertisements. Ad fraud is rampant throughout the system, and advertisers are struggling to find solutions that comply with new ePrivacy/GDPR regulations. This is a fundamentally unsustainable state of affairs.

Basic Attention Token fixes underlying economic incentives by correctly pricing user attention, delivering on privacy compliance, user anonymity, and offering a new win-win-win digital advertising paradigm for publishers, advertisers and users. User privacy and web monetization need a better alternative to the status quo that is willing to attack the hard problems facing the web today — and doing so in a Brave way.

BAT is a brilliant solution to a systemic problem, spearheaded by the creator of JavaScript, co-founder of Mozilla and Firefox, alongside an all-star team.

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Remember that you can always check these official resources: Frequently asked questions (FAQs) and other info, the BAT whitepaper and BAT blog posts.