Why I use the Brave browser

Update 2020-11-12: The Brave referral program is winding down. If you downloaded Brave from my referral link, thank you!

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Update 2020-08-23: The BAT payout has dropped significantly in the last two months, even though my usage/behavior has not changed. YMMV.

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Update 2020-06-30: I am still very happy with Brave, which I use everywhere (including in lieu of apps like Twitter and Facebook). If you care about your online privacy, downloading and using the Brave browser is the least you should do.

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First off, a disclosure: If you use my referral link to download the Brave browser, I will receive a small amount of BAT as a reward (until 2020-11-23, at which point the Brave referral program gets discontinued). But this is not why I write this. I write this because I got tired of giving the individual spiel to friends and family, the spiel being that there’s no reason to not use Brave, or at least to not give it a try.

My Brave home page

My Brave home page

I have been using Brave since its public beta in 2016 — long before the referral system was in place — although I didn’t make it my default browser until the 1.0 release in late 2019. Brave is now the default browser on all but one of my devices. Here’s why:

  1. Brave is like Chrome without the Google trackers. Brave blocks all third-party ads and trackers, which makes it faster and protects user privacy.
  2. Brave is based on the open-source Chromium — just like Chrome, Edge, Opera, Samsung browser.
  3. Brave comes with its own built-in cryptocurrency token — the Basic Attention Token (BAT).
  4. Brave gives users the option to view privacy-respecting ads, for which users receive BAT. 
  5. Web publishers can receive BAT tips from Brave users, which is an easy, seamless way to reward the websites you like. This blog and my Twitter are Brave-verified publishers.

Some Google services (like Google Translate) do not yet work with Brave. I still use Chrome for all Google services like Gmail and Drive and Docs — they require a Google account, so blocking trackers there is pointless. For everything else I use Brave.

Between ads and tips, last month I received 136.9 BAT (about $22.78). What is BAT good for? You can save it, or you can spend it. You can tip your favorite web publisher. You can convert it to other crypto denominations like Bitcoin, Ether, or XRP. You can convert it to US dollars and buy stuff with it (I tipped a web publisher and bought two ebooks from Amazon).

You are sitting at home, bored out of your mind, with time to burn. How about you try something different? Come on, jump in!

Keeping it interesting, two months later: My cryptocurrency adventures

A couple of months ago I started playing with cryptocurrency. Small amounts. Just for fun. I didn’t expect to get rich or anything. Two months later I report that yes, it is fun, and no, I didn’t get rich.

Details:

  • I now have cryptocurrency holdings in three denominations: XLM, BTC, and BAT. Today the combined nominal value of all my holdings is under $100.
  • Since my initial venture into crypto my holdings’ value has fluctuated up and down by about 10%. At the time of this writing I am down about 5%.
  • Moving crypto around is not free. Fees vary.
  • I still haven’t tried to cash out. I am in the process of obtaining a crypto debit card, which will allow me to spend my BTC online and offline.
  • The Brave browser (my default) lets users earn BAT by viewing ads. In just over a month, running Brave on all my devices, I have earned 22.35 BAT, valued at $4.30. In month #2 I am already up to 50 BAT, and the month is not over yet.
  • I tipped one web publisher 10 BAT.
  • Nobody has tipped me yet (other than myself, as a way of depositing BAT into my account).
  • It turns out Peter Thiel is a Brave investor. Make of this what you will.

SUMMARY: It is still interesting, like an online game — a great escape from the daily tedium. It is not a money maker (for me at least, yet). I am not planning to put fiat currency into crypto — not at this time, anyway.

Keeping it interesting

Over the Thanksgiving weekend I started playing with cryptocurrency. Not to Get Rich Quick™, or to hide assets, or to do something illegal. Just to Keep It Interesting, to avoid stagnation and complacency.

A confluence of circumstances made this possible. One, a small amount of “crypto” fell in my lap. Two, the Brave browser (which just came out of beta) comes with its own crypto wallet, and allows users to “tip” verified content creators directly from within the browser. I decided to use my XLM to tip a content creator, and participate in this New New Economy.

I got my free crypto in Stellar Lumens (XLM) via a Keybase Spacedrop. Since Brave’s native token is BAT, I needed to move some XLM to BAT. The process I found wasn’t very straightforward, but totally fit the bill for “Keeping it interesting”. With no direct conversion (that I could find), I moved some XLM to BTC, then the BTC to BAT. With the BAT in my Brave Wallet (powered by Uphold), I could (and did) tip content creators. Bingo!

Further — in the name of Keeping It Interesting — I set this blog (and my Twitter) as a Brave Verified content creator, so Brave users can tip me. Just for fun.

What’s the point of this exercise? For me — just a fun alternative to sitting in front of the TV. What’s the point of this post? To encourage my readers to give this crypto thing a whirl. It’s fun, it’s not that complicated, and it keeps it interesting.

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[UPDATE 2019-12-10] If you download the Brave browser from this link I will receive some free BAT from Brave (until 2020-11-23, at which point the Brave referral program gets discontinued).