Eich doesn’t mean to track eyeballs via webcams, but plans to monitor users’ focus through the Basic Attention Token (BAT). BATs will be the virtual currency that powers a new blockchain-based digital advertising platform, in the ERC20 (Ethereum token) standard. The BAT is meant to improve “the efficiency of digital advertising by creating a new unit of exchange between publishers, advertisers and users. It all happens on the Ethereum blockchain.”
In the current advertising system, we’re paying to be inundated with ads. A significant portion of data charges on an average cell phone bill goes to all the bandwidth spent on ads and trackers (like cookies).
The Brave browser, in addition to blocking ads and trackers, has a ledger system for rewarding websites based on user attention. BATs will utilize this system to track and allocate payments accordingly. While Brave is highly private, it also has highly accurate (yet still anonymous) attention monitoring. This information is stored solely on your computer; only you know your browsing activity. Brave tracks not only what tab you’re viewing in the browser, but what part of the web page you’re staying on, be it an ad or simply some engaging content.
Basic Attention Tokens stand to be very beneficial for publishers, advertisers, and users alike. The user’s valuable attention is quantified into BATs and advertisers pay BATs to users for viewing their content. The advertisers are able to get trustworthy, anonymous marketing data from the Brave browser, which leads to better-targeted ads and, ultimately, a higher conversion rate. Publishers receive money from advertisers for hosting ads but publishers could also use the tokens to pay users to share their content or charge BATs as a fee to view premium content. Users can even donate their BATs to publishers who they want to support.
BATs won’t be exclusive to Brave either. According to the BAT white paper, the team “plan[s] to utilize the Brave Browser for BAT, but other developers are free to utilize other browsers.” That’s the beauty of BATs being ERC20 tokens – they’re highly compatible, as many projects use Ethereum’s ERC20 standard.
Like many blockchain-based projects, the BAT is meant to cut out the middlemen. The team operates under the belief that advertising money should go to publishers and users, not Google and Facebook. With the US Senate having recently passed a resolution that effectively undoes a set of internet privacy rules that were approved last year by the FCC, this type of disruptive project is more necessary than ever.
The project, while actively under development, is still only a concept at this stage. The team will eventually hold a crowdsale, but there is little additional information currently available. Check out the token launch section of their website for future updates.