Why I’m advising the “Basic Attention Token” (BAT) team

I have agreed to serve as an advisor to the “Basic Attention Token” (BAT) team. This blog post is to state why I’m agreeing to do this.

But first, I want to emphasize that this does not constitute a recommendation that you buy BAT tokens in the upcoming token sale. People sometimes ask me for investment advice, but I never give investment advice. I always just say:

  • Never risk more money than you can afford to lose, on something new.
  • Never invest in something you don’t understand.

I will receive a modest share of the BAT tokens in return for my service as advisor. To give you an order of magnitude, the share allocated to advisors is typically quoted in “basis points”. A basis point is a percent of a percent. So the total financial benefit to me if there is high demand for BAT tokens (like if it sells out the entire $24M token sale) is probably in the range of five figures. My BAT tokens will come under a six-month lockup so that I can’t sell them until six months after the token sale.

I probably will not buy any BATs myself in the token sale. In part because I don’t have time to think about such decisions!

So why am I agreeing to serve as an advisor?

The first reason is that I believe in the importance of their mission and I want to help. Most of today’s Internet is built on an economic model (advertising) that is inimical to the rights and the mental resources of the users, and that exerts a corrosive influence on our society’s economy and our political discourse. BAT is an audacious attempt to disrupt that entire economic basis and replace it with something better.

Note: this is not to imply that the BAT team intends to do away with advertising altogether, at least not right away. I would be delighted if they could do that by finding something better, but I don’t know if that’s possible. I trust them to choose their strategy wisely and to have their hearts in the right place.

This leads me to the second reason I’m agreeing to serve as an advisor: I trust Brendan Eich (CEO) and Yan Zhu (engineer). They are skilled, intelligent, ethical people with long track records. They and the rest of the team have already delivered a working product (the Brave web browser) which I use every day as my regular web browser.

The third reason is that I want to be on hand to help them should they decide to integrate with Zcash in the future. Also along the way I can learn more about what features Zcash needs in order to be an attractive platform for projects like theirs.

Okay, that’s it! My responsibilities as an advisor will be limited to reviewing technical and business ideas for a few hours each month and offering whatever advice I feel will help. Feel free to ask me if this blog post didn’t answer any questions you have.