What Is a Basic Attention Token (BAT)? How It Tracks Consumers

What Is a Basic Attention (BAT) Token?

The Basic Attention Token (BAT) was created by the co-founder of Mozilla and Firefox, Brendan Eich, to improve the security, fairness, and efficiency of digital advertising through blockchain technology. It is the native token of the Brave web browser built on top of Ethereum (ETH). BAT's white paper is dated Feb. 10, 2021. As of 2022, the project is still being developed, although the Brave browser is available for download. As of Feb. 11, 2022, there are 54.5 million monthly active users and 16 million daily users of the Brave browser.

As blockchain and digital currencies continue to increase, companies have sought new ways to apply this innovative technology to older problems and issues, such as web browsing and web-based advertising.

Key Takeaways

  • The Basic Attention Token (BAT) is a blockchain-based system for tracking media consumers' time and attention on websites using the Brave web browser.
  • Built on Ethereum, its goal is to efficiently distribute advertising money between advertisers, publishers, and readers of online marketing content and ads.
  • The objective is for readers to experience fewer ads that are more well-tailored to their interests while at the same time not giving up their data privacy rights.

Understanding the Basic Attention Token

The Basic Attention Token (BAT) utilizes the Ethereum blockchain and a specialized web browser known as Brave. The BAT token is used as currency on the Brave platform and can obtain several different advertising services. It is designed to be exchanged between users, advertisers, and publishers. It is based on an unusual concept that is critically important to advertising companies operating in the digital age: user attention.

The creators of BAT are seeking to improve the way that advertising is conducted in the digital age. They see current trends as disadvantaging users, publishers, and advertisers alike. Users are inundated with ads and trackers, and they are subjected to malware that is increasingly aggressive and powerful.

Legacy publishers have seen their ad revenues decline dramatically as platforms like Google and Meta (formerly Facebook) drive down the price of information while taking a hefty cut of advertising revenue. In addition, bots and malware can inflict increasing damage each year, and platforms have suffered from credibility crises. Moreover, advertisers lack sufficient targeting methods and information to deliver their content sufficiently because platforms monopolize these functions.

The developers of BAT believe that by tracking how users interact with digital advertising content and storing that information in a distributed ledger, they will be able to enhance the digital advertising experience for advertisers, publishers, and users. Users will experience fewer ads and content that is better tailored to them. Publishers will find new sources of revenue. And advertisers will be able to better target particular users based on documented user content preferences and interests. They will also be able to avoid fraud more efficiently.

Brave and Privacy-Centered Browsing

BAT is the native token for the Brave browser, an open-source, privacy-centered browser designed to block trackers, invasive cookies, and malware. It utilizes blockchain technology to anonymously and securely track user attention, which translates into rewards for publishers.

A user's attention, meaning their focused mental engagement on digital content like advertisements, is logged through Brave. The makers of BAT indicate that the user's private data and tracking information is stored only on the user's device, ensuring that it is anonymous and private.

Publishers of digital advertisements are rewarded for user attention with Basic Attention Token. The more efficient their content is at generating sustained user attention, the greater the publisher's revenue becomes. At the same time, advertisers earn a better return on investment. Brave also utilizes anonymous user attention data to assist advertisers with targeting and fraud reduction.

BAT is the digital currency that facilitates the entire process. It is linked with attention value, calculated based on incremental duration and pixels in view for any relevant advertising content. The BAT system plans to quantify further and monetize user action related to digital advertisements in the future. Brave also helps to match up advertisements with customers based on machine learning algorithms to determine customer interests.

Users of the Brave browser are also rewarded with BAT for their participation in the project. BATs can be exchanged for various services on the platform, as well as for select premium content. Nonetheless, publishers will receive a greater share of the ad revenue, according to the BAT whitepaper. It is not clear at this time what will comprise the premium content on the Brave network. Similarly, it's unclear what platform-related services will be offered or how the payment system for those services will function.

In anticipation of concerns regarding fraud and privacy issues, the developers of Brave and BAT have built several security measures into the browser and digital token system. According to the BAT website, "the token eliminates third-party traffic sourcing, and the Basic Attention Metrics (BAM) system reduces fraud entry points. The code will be auditable as open source, with attention and engagement verified using Zero-Knowledge Proof (ZKP) protocols. Ads and payouts will be rate limited, and user growth pool token awards distributed over time to make bot operations less desirable."

BAT Token Value

According to its white paper, the Basic Attention Token launch aimed to raise a total of $24 million. The token reached its all-time high in late November 2021, trading at around $1.76 at its peak. As of Feb. 12, 2022, it has a circulating supply of 100%, with 1.50 billion BAT in circulation and a total supply of 1.50 billion BAT.

The exchange rate for BAT is set at 6,400 BAT per ETH, meaning that as the price of Ethereum climbs or falls, the price of BAT will be adjusted proportionally as well. As of Feb. 12, 2022, the exchange rate is 3,628 BAT per ETH. 

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. Basic Attention Token. "BAT Ecosystem Growth." Accessed Feb. 13, 2022.

  2. Brave Software. "Basic Attention Token (BAT): Blockchain Based Digital Advertising," Pages 1, 13, and 21. Accessed Feb. 13, 2022.

  3. Basic Attention Token. "FAQ." Accessed Feb. 13, 2022.

  4. Brave Software. "Basic Attention Token (BAT): Blockchain Based Digital Advertising," Page 1. Accessed Feb. 13, 2022.

  5. Brave Software. "Basic Attention Token (BAT): Blockchain Based Digital Advertising," Page 3. Accessed Feb. 13, 2022.

  6. Brave Software. "Basic Attention Token (BAT): Blockchain Based Digital Advertising," Page 13. Accessed Feb. 13, 2022.

  7. Brave Software. "Basic Attention Token (BAT): Blockchain Based Digital Advertising," Page 22. Accessed Feb. 13, 2022.

  8. CoinMarketCap. "Basic Attention Token." Accessed Feb. 13, 2022.

  9. Wallet Investor. "ETH to BAT Calculator." Accessed Feb. 13, 2022.

Take the Next Step to Invest
The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Investopedia receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where listings appear. Investopedia does not include all offers available in the marketplace.