By Aaron Kesel
Welcome to a new way of browsing the Internet where by default your privacy is protected from intrusive ads and ad networks that capture and sell your digital habits, while still allowing you to contribute to your favorite creators and block those pesky Facebooks of our modern time – meet Brave!
Brave offers a clean and crisp interface that is intuitive and easy to use!
The Brave browser is developed by former Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich. Brave’s privacy-first approach to accessing the Internet has driven the browser to popularity among privacy-conscious Web users. Brave is a also a step into the future by propelling mass adoption of cryptocurrency. Brave also vows to protect user data from information sharks online (data resellers or miners) trying to harvest user data for nefarious purposes; this process has been streamlined and anonymously filtered to provide the user with relevant ads, keeping both companies and users happy.
Brave is based on Chromium, so all extensions in the Google Chrome store should work by default. However, there may be conflicts here and there that individual developers will have to work out. Brave is not only faster than Chrome but it’s safer than Chrome.
The Brave browser blocks ads, trackers, and malware by default when you first install it from its download page available on Mac, Windows, and mobile — both iOS and Android, and even Linux flavors. This writer was easily able to install Brave on a Linux Mint 19.1 TESA laptop and has been using the Brave browser for nearly a year on different systems.
Brave utilizes crowdsourced filter lists by studying EasyList, the most popular filter list according to the website.
Brave’s slogan is a simple one based on being fed up with companies like Facebook that turn their users into products instead of selling products to users. Brave pledges to be different: “You are not a product. Why use a browser that treats you like one? Enjoy private, secure and fast browsing with Brave,” Brave’s website reads.
Brave follows an interesting new business model known as the social interactive economy. Brave blocks ads, and third-party cookies by default, then allows users to send money in the form of Basic Attention Token (BAT) cryptocurrency to sites or creators they like. These tokens hold a value based off whatever Brave is being traded for on exchanges.
Welcome to the realm of cryptocurrency and the future where users and creators alike can get paid or rewarded for using a service and viewing an advertisement.
Much like SoMee.Social, Steemit.com, Minds.com, Presearch.org, Brave allows users to pay other users with their cryptocurrency BAT for interacting with their platform, creators can then choose to hodl (hold on for dear life), or swap BAT for other cryptocurrencies or Bitcoin-using services like coinswitch.co, Shapeshift.io or using an actual exchange like Binance, Kraken, or Coinbase.
Brave honors users’ data by not knowing anything about the user of its browser while only logging BAT transactions on the blockchain. The browser and the blockchain-backed aspect of a cryptocurrency is kept separate when it comes to a user’s privacy.
“If you switch on Sync then your bookmarks and passwords will be saved in an encrypted file on a cloud storage service, to which you will have the only decryption key. The data1 are entirely inaccessible to Brave and to the cloud storage provider. Learn how to switch on Sync here,” Brave’s policy goes on to state.
This means that you are given a decryption key if you set up Sync and you and you alone are the one with the key. If you lose the key, there goes all of your bookmarks and saved passwords, so keep your decryption key safe if you choose to use it — maybe make a copy on an encrypted USB drive as this author has done.
Although Brave records IP addresses and a unique “wallet” identifier by Uphold, its payment partner, after sending a monthly gift of BAT, the company expresses — “we never collect your browsing history or similar information, and we can’t derive this information from your contributions to content creators and sites. Instead, we aggregate contributions among all Brave users, and we cannot trace contributions to individual users, or link any of your contributions together.”
The wallet can be funded through Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and BAT token. Credit card holders use payment processor Uphold to fund their Brave accounts.
In the future, Brave hopes to reward not only its creators but those using the browser to view ads by utilizing a user’s interests through its anonymous and private Brave Ads submission system. The ad data is stored on your device and is entirely inaccessible to Brave. No personal data or browsing history ever leaves the Brave browser from your device.
While Brave has a lot of great features and is needed, the only flaw I see is that the browser’s server location is based in the U.S. and is operated by Amazon and Heroku (a Salesforce company.) Instead, Brave should seek to decentralize its servers across the world to become resistant to government censorship.
Brave is seeking to become the next generation of privacy oriented Internet browsers but needs to get rid of the one ugly bug plaguing it by being operated within the borders of the U.S.
All in all, using a VPN and using Brave’s unique feature that incorporates The Onion Router network (TOR) into its private browsing mode should should provide comprehensive safety if you are in an oppressed country trying to access information or trying to share important information to the world. It would come down to your own individual OpSec at that point utilizing VPNs, a mac changer, DNS masks and burners to hide your online identity on social media services that require you to verify with a phone number like Twitter and Facebook.
Brave currently has more than 5.5 million users, according to a press release on the Brave blog in January of this year — quite the achievement in just over 3 years since its launch in 2016.
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