What Is a Basic Attention (BAT) Token?

The Basic Attention Token (BAT) was created by the co-founder of Mozilla and Firefox, Brendan Eich, in an effort to improve the security, fairness, and efficiency of digital advertising through the use of blockchain technology. It is the native token of the Brave web browser and is built on top of Ethereum. BAT's white paper is dated Jan. 7, 2018. As of 2021, the project is still being developed, although a beta version of the Brave browser is available for download. As of Sept. 23, 2021, there are 36.2 million monthly active users and 12.5 million daily users of the Brave browser.

As blockchain and digital currencies continue to proliferate, 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, and it is based on an unusual concept, although one 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 Facebook drive down the price of information while taking a hefty cut of advertising revenue. In addition, bots and malware are able to 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, again, because these functions are monopolized by platforms.

The developers of BAT believe that by tracking the way that 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, which is calculated based on both incremental duration and pixels in view for any relevant advertising content. The BAT system plans to further quantify 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 the "lion's share" of the ad revenue, according to the BAT website. It is not clear at this time what the premium content on the Brave network will consist of. Similarly, it's unclear what the services related to the platform might be, or how the payment system for those services will work precisely.

In anticipation of concerns regarding fraud and privacy issues, the developers of Brave and BAT have built a number of security measures into the browser and digital token system. The developers indicate that they "plan to mitigate possible ad fraud through the use of cryptography, better client-side integrity, and transparency achieved through open source."

BAT Token Value

According to its white paper, the Basic Attention Token launch aimed to raise a total of $24 million USD. The token reached its all-time high in mid-April 2021, trading at around $1.52 at its peak. As of Sept. 23, 2021, it has a circulating supply of 99% with 1.49 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 Sept. 23, 2021, the exchange rate is 4,468 BAT per ETH.