Brave is a company that was co-founded by ex-Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich after he was booted from the organization in 2014. Brave today launched version 1.0 of its browser, and it is available for most platforms including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. Brave is launching into a market that is ripe with competition and is trying to differentiate itself from other browsers by positing itself as a fast option that is focused on privacy with strong default settings.
The browser also has cryptocurrency-focused private ads that allow users to support content creators but promises to share no personal information about the user. To encourage users to watch Brave's ads, it has a Brave Rewards program that requires the user to opt-in. Once opted into the program, when one of the 8 million current Brave users visit the website of one of the 300,000 participating publishers, the browser shows a small number of ads as a notification in a separate ad tab.
The ads are shown based on user browsing habits. The user receives 70% of the ad spend that the publisher makes, and Brave keeps 30%. Among the large publishers on board with the Brave Rewards program are Wikipedia, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Slate, and LA Times. The company admits most of its advertisers are small YouTube and Twitter users.
The users earn Basic Attention Tokens (BAT), which is Brave's cryptocurrency. The user can keep that cryptocurrency, or give it to publishers. Initially, Brave used Bitcoin, but users were reluctant to give that away, so they changed to BAT. The browser also comes with an integrated ad-blocker that's among the most effective in the industry. Brave has a private-browsing mode that supports opening a private session via the Tor network. Brave is Chromium-based, so most websites should function just as they would on Chrome, and it can be downloaded here.