Basic Attention Token ($BAT) is an App Coin and ERC20 token built on the decentralized Ethereum platform and implemented as a smart contract (3). It is a currency designed to reward users who pay “attention” to ads of their viewing choice. It also compensates advertisers and publishers of the most popular ads. Digital advertising is becoming less effective from an actual conversion standpoint, and the prevalent use of ad blockers and trackers compounds the issue. Brendan Eich, creator of JavaScript and co-founder of Mozilla and Firefox, set out with his team to solve the problem (4). The team has developed the Brave web browser specifically to provide user preferred digital advertising and exceptional functionality. It is also privacy centered to block trackers and malware (5). Because it goes head to head with ad giants like Google and Facebook, the Brave browser is aptly named.


  • Designed to increase conversions
  • Eliminates ad blockers
  • Rewards users
  • Rewards publishers
  • Reduces cost of downloading ads on mobile devices (4)
  • Good functionality of Brave browser
  • Increased user security
  • Cost-effective


  • Requires use of new Brave browser
  • Requires adoption of larger user base
  • Requires shift in user mindset
  • Concept requires proof of viability

Deeper Dive

Today digital advertising is widely used as the preferred method of reaching the end consumer. According to eMarketer, $94 billion in total will be spent this year, of which $22 billion will be spent with Facebook, $7 billion with Google, and another $20 billion with open web advertising (6). Clearly, there is a massive opportunity here if users can be enticed to give their attention to the ads. But digital advertising is losing its effectiveness for several reasons. Primary among them is the intrusive nature of the ads being forced on Internet users. Users are becoming increasingly numb, conversion rates are declining, and advertisers are attempting to counter ad blockers with invasive tactics and annoying strategies. In addition users are deterred by aggressive and damaging malware.

Brendan Eich and the developers of Basic Attention Token intend to change the way digital advertising is being utilized by advertisers, publishers, and users. By tracking and storing the information about the way that users are interacting with ad content, they aim to improve the whole ad experience for all groups while making it more cost-effective. By enabling users to choose the ads they want to see and pay attention to, and by rewarding publishers in the form of BAT from the ads they publish, BAT offers everyone more of what they want from the advertising effort.

When users decide which ads they wish to see and which publishers are rewarded, it can eliminate middlemen like Facebook and Google. BAT stores user preferences on the blockchain, which in turn produces fewer unwelcomed ads as determined by the proprietary BAT algorithm. Publishers will be more fairly compensated and advertisers will be able to better target users with preferred material.

The BAT team developed the Brave browser, which is an open-source privacy centered browser designed to block trackers and malware. It anonymously logs information about the user’s attention, which is stored only on the user’s device (5). Brave also uses machine learning to match marketing materials based on user’s interest.

Basic Attention Token is used to reward publishers of digital advertising based on their ability to sustain user attention. The more efficient their content is at garnering sustained user attention, the greater the publisher’s revenue becomes, and the better the return on their investment. Brave also utilizes anonymous user attention data to assist advertisers with targeting and fraud reduction (7). Users and advertisers are also rewarded for their participation. The token can be exchanged for various goods and services on the platform, and must be converted to ETH outside of the platform.

Several partnerships have been formed including Twitch and YouTube, and over 2500 sites officially publish ads using the BAT system, including DuckDuckGo (4). As of BAT’s last report, there are over 2 million users (1).

Developers of note include Brendan Eich inventor of Java Script and co-founder of Mozilla and Firefox, Yan Zhu (Forbes 30 under 30, and author for the World Wide Web Consortium), and Marshall Rose (inventor of the Simple Network Management protocol, and contributor to the Internet Engineering Task Force) (3). Additional team members include Brian Bondy, Scott Locklin, Bradley Richter, Catherine Corre, Brian Johnson, Luke Mulks, and Aubrey Keus (2).

Initial funding from the ICO in May 2017 yielded over $35 million in proceeds, with an additional $7 million from angel investors and venture capital firms such as Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Pantera Capital, Foundation Capital, Digital Currency Group, Propel Venture, and others (3).

BAT and Brave are ambitious projects that seek to revolutionize how digital advertising has been conducted until now. It provides enhanced security, privacy, and user experience, as well as rewarding all participants. The experienced developers have designed a comprehensive system, including a dedicated browser, to take on the big boys. Because digital advertising is affordable and accessible to everyone, the team’s vision of leveling the playing field might just come to pass.

Key Terms in the Whitepaper include:

  • Blockchain based digital advertising
  • Ad revenue loss
  • Attention as a commodity
  • Attention based economics
  • User privacy
  • Advertising fraud
  • Market efficiency
  • Basic Attention Metrics (BAM) System
  • Ad blocker usage

Key Terms from their Roadmap (8) include:

  • machine learning
  • browser development
  • platform integration with Brave
  • new BAT app development
  • User rewards
  • User satisfaction
  • Privacy and security
  • Ad revenue
  • Publisher partnerships
  • Zero Knowledge Proof


BAT on social media:

Additional Sources:



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Contributed by Richard Houser.

You can find Richard on our Discord at @Richouser#4276