Brave Browser — the blockchain-based, ad-blocking web browser — detailed in a recent post their highlights from 2018, including user metrics, partnerships, publisher developments, and software updates.
Brave surged from 1 million monthly active desktop users at the beginning of 2018 to more than 5.5 million by year’s end. Further, their Android app surpassed 10 million downloads in August and continues to garner rapid adoption.
Publishers Rapidly Joining Brave
Criticisms of Brave’s BAT token model are legitimate, and while many users simply enjoy the increased speed, privacy, and reduced ads of the browser, there have been numerous publishers joining the platform.
There are now more than 28,000 verified publishers on Brave, including Youtube content creators, Twitch streamers, and other content producers looking to bypass the traditional ad models employed by major platforms. Verified publishers on Brave receive payment directly from their content consumers in the native BAT token, and their overall growth was seven-fold throughout 2018.
Among some of the newer features that have helped to attract more publishers is the customizable tipping banner, which has also come with some of its own controversies. Popular British YouTube personality, Tom Scott, realized that Brave had been using his name and image to collect donations on his behalf, without his consent and reached out to demand refunds to his followers.
Such a system of nonconsensual tipping naturally attracted negative attention for Brave, which needs to alter how unverified publishers are integrated into the tipping mechanism.
Performance and Privacy Improvements
Outside of enhancing the available features of the Brave browser, the Brave team also upgraded the underlying performance of the browser in both speed and privacy.
Endemic data scandals are becoming a growing concern among mainstream users who are slowly realizing the problems of data privacy online. Brave provides useful privacy features to users directly in the browser, such as an integrated Tor tab, and upcoming developments such as AdGraph — a machine learning tool for detecting and blocking ads.
Brave is also closely integrated with DuckDuckGo, the privacy-focused search engine that does not store user data or track their online activities.
Regarding performance, Brave’s updated desktop browser in September is 22 percent faster than earlier versions and now supports nearly all Google Chrome extensions, a problem that was limiting the browser from reaching a more mainstream audience.
As 2019 begins, increased emphasis should be placed on better privacy across the web. Brave has shown a penchant for improving its privacy features, and hopefully, that trend can permeate into more web-based projects.