Brave Offers First Bitcoin Micropayments to Publishers

The Wall Street Journal was at the top of a list of websites that can now collect bitcoin from Brave on behalf of the browser's users.

AccessTimeIconOct 7, 2016 at 3:17 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 12:32 p.m. UTC

Browser software startup Brave has some bitcoin it would like to give to The Wall Street Journal.

The controversial browser that blocks third-party ads, also gives users the ability to offset lost ad revenue in the form of bitcoin micropayments reconciled at the end of each month.

The first of these reconciliation cycles ended last week and Brave has now published a step-by-step process explaining how website owners can claim their bitcoin.

"The Wall Street Journal is number one," said Brave co-founder Brenden Eich during a conversation with CoinDesk earlier this week.

Eich added:

"Those funds are piling up. We have an accounting system that says you voted for this publisher this many times and that website you liked."

CoinDesk can independently verify that The Wall Street Journal tops the list, but Brave is not sharing how much bitcoin the publication can collect, or which other sites qualify.

In total, about 8,000 Brave users visited 827 websites over the month-long period ending Friday.

Users can select if some of the sites they visit frequently don’t get paid and control the percentage of a set monthly amount to be allocated to each site.

To collect that bitcoin an interested party first needs to verify he or she owns the website by pasting code securely provided by the Brave into its own website, similar to the challenge-response protocol employed by Let's Encrypt, said Eich.

"Now it’s time to start talking to publishers," added Eich.

Partners or competitors?

The newly launched webpage that walks publishers through the process of creating a wallet and receiving funds is part of a larger push to change the way publishers view Brave.

Shortly before the San Francisco-base firm raised $4.5 million, it received an informal cease-and-desist letter from the Newspaper Association of America, which has rebranded as the News Media Alliance.

With this latest release, Brave is seeking to position itself with those publishers as a replacement for revenue that is already being lost by people who use other ad-blocking services, not a new way to muscle in on the publishers’ advertising dollars.

But Paul Boyle, vice president of News Media Alliance, remains skeptical.

After a meeting he had with Eich and other publishers in May, Boyle told CoinDesk he thinks there are other ways for the industry to respond to customer demands for better, more private forms of ads.

"We don’t see where a process of blocking ads and then replacing it with a minimal amount of bitcoin users spread across many users will provide the meaningful revenue we receive today," he said.

Olive branch

To coincide with the completion of the first reconciliation cycle, Eich is currently visiting New York City, where he’ll meet with several publishers, including Dow Jones, which publishes the Journal.

So far, only a "handful" of publishers have signed up, according to Eich, who has also met with this publication.

He concluded:

"We’re trying to get CoinDesk to be one of the first."

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Brave.

Image via Brave


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