back to article Brave idea: Ex Mozilla man punts Bitcoin adblocking browser

Browser upstart Brave is now letting you contribute Bitcoin to websites in return for ad-blocking. Beta version 0.11.6 of Brave has activated its Brave Payments, which lets you send micropayments to websites as a reward for not hitting you with ads or trackers. You turn on Brave Payments from within the open-source browser’s …

  1. Ralph the Wonder Llama

    So what's the difference...

    ...between this and, say, a protection racket?

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: So what's the difference...

      You get better service from a protection racket?

    2. fung0

      Re: So what's the difference...

      What's different is that with a typical 'protection racket' you don't have a choice. In the case of Brave, your payments are voluntary. For many users, that's preferable to being traced and infected by ads.

      I'm on a tight budget, but I've sent donations to a few of my favorite sites. If that process could become easy and automatic, I'd do it even more.

  2. DaLo

    So you send a site that currently uses ads money to wean them off ads. It is anonymous so they can't give you anything in return (such as turning off ads for you when you visit).

    You have no idea how much money they've raised so in the end the website keeps its ads and keeps the money (a lovely extra revenue stream) and the user continues to use an ad blocker anyway.

    I cannot see any flaws in that whatsoever.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge


      I think (I don't know) it identifies the user as someone running the "Brave" web browser, but not whether you're user #1 or #23.406. So a site owner knows that much about visitors.

      I remain not sure that this will catch on. Unless they make it work for online sex, obviously.

    2. fung0


      Many sites would love to reduce or eliminate their dependence on ads. This includes most 'magazine' sites, which always have to worry about losing their objectivity - or being accused of losing it - based on the revenue they get from the very companies they need to cover.

      Also, don't forget that ad-blocking will keep sites honest. Taking ad revenue and Brave revenue isn't one of the options - the choice is between taking zero ad revenue from blocked ads vs taking what Brave can collect. Many sites will embrace this, and offer ad-free browsing to Brave (or other solutions) that provide them with similar (or better) revenue.

      I predict this model will catch on quickly. However, I'm not willing to change my browser to do it. I think Flattr Plus is a better approach - an add-in to whatever you're already using. I expect there will be other choices very soon.

  3. BarryUK

    Sounds good - will The Register be pioneering it?

    1. fung0

      I hope so. If sites like The Reg won't lead the way, who will?

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  4. tiggity Silver badge

    Ads blocked

    The brave browser has ad blocking on by default, so (if ad blocking works - just downloaded brave to see what it did & seems to block ads but not thoroughly tested) user should see no ads

    So presume idea is that (although brave user not affected by ads) they can donate cash to the site as a gesture of financial support (as they give no cash via the ads as do not see them)

    A good way to refute claims by ad flo0gging shysters that ad blocking surfers are bankrupting content providers as it lets people demonstrate support for a site (but not for ads)

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Ads blocked

      Does anyone think that FB might embrace this? I didn't think so.....

  5. Ralph the Wonder Llama

    Nice to see...

    ...everyone's retained their sense of humour.


  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Why Bitcoin ?

    Just give me an option to chuck a few dollars to sites I like. I don't mind using my VISA, and I certainly prefer they know that I have given them the dough.

    That way, when I log in, they can say "oh, here's our sponsor coming to see us, get rid of those ads on his page".

    If I pay money I generally see no benefit in being anonymous to those who get it.

    1. RIBrsiq

      Re: Why Bitcoin ?

      You may not see the benefit in being anonymous, as a paying customer. But I hope you will see the benefit of less people having access to your credit card details...

      1. fung0

        Re: Why Bitcoin ?

        I'd certainly like to have more choices. Maybe even the option to set Bitcoin as the default for less-trusted sites.

        But most of the sites I'd want to support are ones I'd readily trust with my Visa payment. What's more, it's generally only the payment processor that sees your details, and PayPal already has mine.

      2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        @RIBrsiq : VISA doesn't mean credit card details

        I don't know if you are aware, but there is this thing about security going on. Mainly, it means that, nowadays, banks can give you a one-time transaction code, so when you buy something online, you're not actually giving out your credit card details.

        I know this is very difficult to comprehend for a US citizen, but elsewhere in the world, there actually are banks that are devoting resources to ensure proper transaction security.

        Call me when the US has caught up with current technology.

        1. RIBrsiq

          Re: @RIBrsiq : VISA doesn't mean credit card details

          >> Call me when the US has caught up with current technology.

          The US...?

          You realize that the world is a bit larger than just the US and wherever you live, right?

        2. david 12 Silver badge

          Re: @RIBrsiq : VISA doesn't mean credit card details

          One-time usable credit card numbers have been around for decades now. Unfortunately, I've never found an Australian bank offering that service. (I could buy pre-load credit cards in the shops, but that was at a 10% markup). Even the token-based credit card authentication seems to have disappeared, replaced by wish-it-were-two-factor smart-phone authentication which doesn't work out-of-country.

          Suggestions for suppliers welcome.

      3. h4rm0ny

        Re: Why Bitcoin ?

        It's only one extra party having access to your credit card details. The idea is that you make a single macro payment to the plugin maker (or browser maker in this instance), and then they make a payment to the website owners representing a bundle of micropayments from many visitors.

        I've wanted something like this for ages, though I want it to be a general protocol / plugin across browsers rather than a dedicated browser - that is a mistake.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. nevillescollop

    pay to stop seeing ads; are you nuts....? How many people even know what an adblocker is? Surely the other 98% generate enough revenue to keep these companies in dough. uBlock Origin and done.

    1. fung0

      I'm already not seeing ads. But I'd still like the option of easily supporting sites I feel are deserving of it.

  9. OffBeatMammal

    generate the bitcoins based on dwell time

    Why not tie is back even closer to the value of the site... have the browser mining for bitcoins (as part of a pool of all Brave users) in the background and depending on how long I spend on a site deposit the appropriate percentage of earnings with the site in question.

    the longer I stay engaged with a site, the more it earns. so TheRegister which continues to amuse and inform would get more of the slice of the pie than, say, Wired which daily becomes less relevant...

    1. fung0

      Re: generate the bitcoins based on dwell time

      Flattr Plus already uses this model. I'm sure further evolution is possible.

  10. Dr. Mouse

    Good idea

    I honestly believe that people would make small payments rather than have their browsing experience degraded by bad adverts*. Personally, I pay an annual fee to F1Fanatic to remove their ads, and would do the same for many other sites. A way to do this centrally, for "all" sites**, would be brilliant, giving sites the funds to continue without bombarding us with pointless, resource hogging and annoying adverts.

    *I'm looking at you, here, el Reg, with your highly irritating "Change the whole colour scheme and put ads in the side bars where people click to focus the page without accidentally hitting a link" ones! This is why you get the ad-blocker treatment from my personal machines!

    **For some value of "all".

  11. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    'Taint gonna work...

    For all the reasons listed above, but mostly because the value of a single viewer to a site is some generally unknown but tiny amount.

    E.g Facebook: 1.7B users, $18B - ten bucks a body. And how many site visits is that? Might we guess (observing colleagues) ten or more views a day? Three cents a day, a third of a cent a view, and probably much much less.

    People seem happy to put up with all the disadvantages of advertising, particularly when a site has the utility that FB offers to some - are they really going to go through the further hassle of calculating and paying what it actually costs? And what about the clickbait sites? They have no practical use at all... what would you pay for them?

    As for the number of pay sites that want a few quid a week... nah, it isn't going to work.

    (I'd be interested to know what El Reg's income/users is.)

    1. fung0

      Re: 'Taint gonna work...

      Eyeo - creators of Ad-block Plus - guesstimate the advertising value of a regular visitor as being on the order of 1 Euro per month. Would you donate that much to, say, your dozen favorite sites? I know I would. Especially knowing that it would help increase their independence from corporate support, and reduce the need for intrusive user tracking in general.

  12. Nate Amsden Silver badge

    count me in

    as someone who would gladly pay a subscription fee to 'el reg. I don't use a "ad blocker" (I consider an ad blocker something to be fairly automatic at detection). But I do use a plugin that allows me to right click on an object and remove it from the page/site/domain (works most of the time not all the time). I also control cookies that come in as well.

    I do use an ad blocker on mobile though in part for performance also in part because I have no way to control cookies in mobile.

    I don't use the internet for much(major non work sites I don't need two full hands to count how many sites I regularly visit), but el reg is a place I do spend a lot of time on(and have been for what seems like at least 15 years now).

  13. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Opt in rather than creep out

    I block ad's on some of the sites I like and would like to support because the adverts creep me out by mining my posts. Targetted advertising is just scary and almost always incorrect. For my favourite sites I'd be happy to fill out a form saying, 'there are the things I actually buy, or may be interested in adverts about, don't send me any others and don't personalise any of them".

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Opt in rather than creep out

      I wouldn't even go that far.

      If I want something, I will research it. If I'm not looking for anything, why on earth would I want to see the adverts? And in particular: I've just bought a fridge - why on earth would I want another? I've just bought a set of shock absorbers for my car - why would I want (a) more shocks for my car or (b) shocks for any other car?

      I hate to break it to the advertisers, but my browsing habits are a guide to neither my purchasing desires or purchasing intents. In spite of what their robots might thing.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Opt in rather than creep out

        Some of that happens because the advertisers do not know if conversion has happened - maybe you're still looking.

        Oddly, even the one you actually bought %product% from still pays to advertise it to you.

        Some of it is just stupid, like Amazon's "Since you recently bought a satnav, perhaps you'd like a satnav?".

        The properly foolish part of it is the timeouts seem to be really long. Many advertisers seem to keep banging on about some you looked at weeks ago, and it's pretty obvious that anything you haven't searched for in a few days is something that you either decided against or have already bought.

  14. Milton

    Everyone agrees the ads are crap

    The ads are mostly so garish, amateurish and appalling—produced by untalented, cheap labour I assume—that we're all sick of them. Someone else makes the point that the supposed "tailoring" of ads—which means bombarding you with images of something you looked at once and have already decided not to buy, or bought already—is clumsy and off-putting.

    I don't suppose I'm the only one who completely tunes them out, and will immediately leave a site that starts flashing crap at me.

    So in principle most people must favour the idea of making micropayments to read a site instead of having their eyeballs manured with garbage.

    The current idea seems to have weaknesses, but basically the intention makes sense. And websites and advertisers ned to wake up to this, because people are generally getting more and more fed up with ads, especially the vast majority which are rubbish, and that fatigue will eventually make web advertising useless anyway.

    Time to try alternatives? Of course it is.

  15. lukewarmdog

    Doesn't it rather depend on the site being able to accept donations?

    I could install Brave and surf somewhere and want to give them money but actually not be able to because they rely on ads for their income and don't need the extra hassle of setting up a bank account capable of accepting bitcoin and having to audit and manage tax around this new method.

    In the meantime I'd have bought a bitcoin worth £4,000 for nothing.

    Wait.. £3,995

    Wait.. £3,990

    Wait.. some anonymous hacker has stolen my bitcoin!!

    thanks a lot Brave,,

  16. Christian Berger

    I'm still not convinced that commercial websites are a good thing

    I mean we all just assume that it's good for websites to make money. However we've all seen that leading to things like clickbait. Optimizing your site for maximum monetisation will still be a problem with such systems.

    Maybe we should just give up on the idea that you can earn money by putting trivial things on some website.

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