Brave Browser Integrates Privacy Service Tor
Brave Software, the company behind the privacy-focused web browser of the same name, has announced it will be integrating the anonymizing Tor service for their desktop products. The move should improve the browser’s reputation for protecting users’ privacy, one of its strongest drawcards.
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Brave Looks to Bolster Its Privacy Credentials
The browser’s new feature, called Private Tabs with Tor, will allow desktop users to seamlessly connect to the Tor Network inside the browser. Tor, like a virtual private network (VPN), allows web users to conceal their browsing activity from Internet Service Providers (ISPs), guest wi-fi networks, and websites that track visitors by IP address.
This is a feature already provided by the Tor Browser, which is a handy tool even if it is funded by the U.S. government. The move is the latest upgrade to Brave, which has ad-blocking software natively enabled. The Tor add-on is currently in early beta.
Brave also confirmed they were planning the update for iOS and Android as well:
Yes, planning this for iOS and Android.
— Brave Software (@brave) June 28, 2018
Its goal is to replace the existing digital advertising model, where online ads are targeted at web users on the basis of data collected on them by third parties. Brave uses an Ethereum-based cryptocurrency, the Basic Attention Token (BAT), which is distributed via smart contracts to both publishers and users when ads are seen. This, like any altcoin, can be swapped for any other cryptocurrency or cashed out for fiat.
Brave claims it offers advantages for all parties in the digital ad ecosystem. Users are able to retain their privacy, because even though they are being tracked, no personal data is collected. For publishers, it should reduce ad fraud caused by bots, while advertisers benefit from better data.
While Brave Has Stayed Busy, Competitor Projects Exist
Brave has been busy in 2018. In April, news broke that the company and the Dow Jones Media Group had agreed to a deal whereby Brave users would be given free access to Dow Jones content like Barrons.com or the MarketWatch newsletter.
Around the same time, Brave released data claiming they had 2.2 million monthly users, with the majority on mobile. They also said they had 3,500 publishers participating on the BAT platform, as well as over 10,000 YouTube creators and Twitch streamers.
That came during a steady stream of BAT airdrops. In January, the first one, valued at $1 million USD, went to users, while a second for the same amount was given to publishers a month later. An ongoing $500,000 monthly airdrop was also announced earlier this month.
There are a few other crypto startups using some of the same ideas and technology as Brave. MetaX is working on a digital ad network called adChain that uses a token called AdToken (ADT). And privacy coin Verge (XVG) also claims to use Tor as well as another anonymizing protocol called I2P.
What’s your take? Can Brave and BAT revolutionize the internet’s prevailing advertising model?
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