DEFINITION of 'Basic Attention Token'

As blockchain and digital currencies continue to proliferate, companies have searched for new ways to apply the innovative technology to older problems and issues. The Basic Attention Token (BAT) was created by the co-founder of Mozilla and Firefox, along with the creator of JavaScript, and it aims to improve the efficiency of digital advertising.

BREAKING DOWN 'Basic Attention Token'

The Basic Attention Token utilizes the ethereum blockchain and a specialized web browser called Brave. The 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 revolutionize 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.

Publishers (aside from Google and Facebook) see little by way of incoming revenue, although bots are able to inflict increasing damages in fraud each year. Advertisers lack sufficient targeting methods and information to deliver their content sufficiently.

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 all three of these groups. 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 preference and interests, and they will also be able to avoid fraud more efficiently.

Privacy-Centered Browser

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

A user's attention, meaning his or her 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 publisher revenue becomes. At the same time, advertisers earn better return on investment. Brave also utilizes anonymous user attention data to assist advertisers with targeting and fraud reduction.

BAT is the digital currency which 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's white paper is dated January 7, 2018. As of early 2018, the project is still in development, although prototype versions of the Brave browser are available for download. The developers of the system state that portions of the browser and system are "code complete" and ready for public use.

According to the white paper, the Basic Attention Token launch aimed to raise a total of $24 million USD. The total token distribution available to the public at launch will be 1 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.

The Basic Attention Token is initially designed to be used within the Brave network only, meaning that it will have to be converted into ETH tokens and then into fiat currency from there. Eventually, however, it is possible that BAT tokens may be transferable outside of the Brave network and usable in other settings as well.

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