The browser wars continue unabated, with Google’s Chrome dominating the desktop, Mozilla Firefox maintaining a strong second place, and Microsoft Internet Explorer declining toward oblivion. Battling it out for relevancy are Microsoft’s new Edge browser and Apple’s Safari, with the Opera browser falling into the “Other” category.
As TechCrunch reports, it is not just the amount of funding itself that is interesting, however, it is also the method Eich used to raise the money. Specifically, he embarked on an initial coin offering (ICO), meaning a fundraiser that operated by selling cryptocurrency. In Brave’s case, that meant creating its own version of coin, the Basic Attention Token (BAT) and then selling a billion units.
Taken together, the billion BAT are worth more than $35 million and there is another 500 million BAT squirreled away for growth and “BAT development.” The company does not have any plans current to sell any additional BAT.
Eich hopes to use the funding to help make internet advertising more attractive to advertisers, publishers, and users, by using blockchain technology to make the process more efficient. The end result will be a browser that is aimed at blocking most ads while nevertheless allowing publishers to make money from advertising. Essentially, the Brave browser lets users choose to block ads completely, allow privacy-respecting ads to get through, and enable ads that contribute directly to a site.
The benefit will be a browser that is significantly faster and also safer by eliminating “malvertising,” or harmful advertising, while nevertheless being better at allowing publishers to make money and stay in business. While Brave will face an uphill battle in the browser market, the injection of $35 million through its recent ICO along with the promise of combatting the scourge of disruptive web ads should certainly help it take on the industry’s current leaders.