brave browser 2

In the world of cryptocurrency, there is never a shortage in terms of controversy. While the Brave browser is getting a lot of positive attention right now, there is also an interesting discussion taking place on Twitter. It appears the company will need to rethink how content creators can be rewarded and potentially letting the opt-out in the process.

Brave Browser Controversy Raises Valid Points

The concept of the Brave browser is very interesting, on paper. It not only enhances the overall browsing experience for users, but it also changes the way content creators can monetize their offerings. With a strong focus on transparency, blockchain technology, and cryptocurrency, this project has gotten a lot of positive attention over the past few months.

According to Tom Scott, there are some improvements to be made where the Brave “reward system” is concerned. Although users of the browser have been capable of sending donations to Scott in the process, he never asked for any donations or crowdfunding on any platform. In fact, he claims Brave has been taking donations on his behalf by using his name and photo, even though he never consented to having that information used for this purpose in the slightest.

Although that in itself would raise a lot of questions already, that is not the end of it either. Tom Scott confirms he has asked the Brave team to not accept donations using his name and photo, yet they have seemingly not adhered to that request fully. Although the company is aware of the problem, Brave CEO Brendan Eich doesn’t see a big problem with this model. He acknowledges letting users opt-out would be a good choice, which is a feature that will be implemented at a future stage.

This discussion is drawing a fair bit of attention on Twitter, which is only to be expected. Another user claims this “soliciting of crypto tips without permission is akin to donation fraud”. That is a rather strong statement, considering Brave is not doing something illegal. While the current situation is a bit annoying to deal with, the Brave team doesn’t necessarily see it that way. Their terms and servicesares rather clear on that front, and over 30,000 creators are verified and getting paid.

It is evident there will always be some conflicting views on how the Brave team handles these types of situations. Tom Scott sees a bit difference between “setting up a donations page without consent” and “sending users money tipped by others over the internet”. All of the unclaimed funds are redistributed and put into the user growth pool which funds user grants and referral awards. As such, no money is completely “lost”, even though it creates an awkward situation first and foremost.


For the time being, it remains to be seen how this will impact the future of the brave browser. When innovative projects are launched, growing pains are to be expected sooner or later. This is clearly an issue that can have major repercussions if not handled well, although it is not something that will cause any lawsuits either. Handling this situation with care is of the utmost importance right now. Solving sensitive issues like these is part of bringing this browser on a mainstream level.

Image(s): Shutterstock.com


2 COMMENTS

  1. Excellent coverage, but a couple points of clarification (I am an engineer on the Brave browser):

    Tom’s feedback was phenomenal, and helped us identify a couple poor design decisions. Much like other parts of the browser, Brave shows you meta data from the page you’re accessing (similar to the browser tab and bookmarks bar showing favicons and page/site titles). When a user expressed an interest in giving support to a particular domain or creator, they would click the “tip” button in Brave. This button would reveal a panel that shows them the site-image and site-title. This is where the first issue comes up; on Tom’s YouTube channel (and the channels of other creators), the image and text that are displayed automatically are not vague logos and titles, they’re faces and names.

    We quickly agreed with Tom that this was not ideal, and moved to make big changes in the way this panel appeared. Within 48 hours we had an update out to our users improving this experience. The other issue that Tom brought up was one of communicating creator status more clearly. As part of our prompt upgrade, we no longer identify verified publishers as such, but we also now explicitly identify unverified publishers too. This is similar to browsers only informing users in the past of secure connections, whereas today they inform the users of non-secure connections too (Brave has HTTPSEverywhere built-in, so far fewer non-secure connections in Brave than other browsers 😉)

    One final thing I wanted to comment on was the nature of the User Growth Pool (UGP). We set this up from the start to hold 300M Basic Attention Tokens (BAT) for the users. We’ve been giving these out to users who download the desktop browser and enable Brave Rewards; many get a “grant” the first time they run the application, and all get offered one on a monthly basis. These BAT can be given to any creator, verified or not. If unclaimed for 1 year, Brave may “recycle” these back into the UGP, distribute them to other users for the support of other creators. Brave will not take any BAT that the user has acquired themselves.

    That’s all I wanted to share; otherwise excellent coverage of the events that lead to substantive changes in the Brave browser. We are, as stated on Twitter, very thankful for Tom helping us identify these areas of improvement. While we rolled out several big changes within 48 hours of this realization, we have more changes to come. Keep watching as we continue our work to improve the web for content creators and contributors alike.

    If I can be of any further assistance, feel free to ping me on Twitter @BraveSampson.

    Sampson
    Brave Software

  2. Excellent coverage, but a couple points of clarification (I am an engineer on the Brave browser):

    Tom’s feedback was phenomenal, and helped us identify a couple poor design decisions. Much like other parts of the browser, Brave shows you meta data from the page you’re accessing (similar to the browser tab and bookmarks bar showing favicons and page/site titles). When a user expressed an interest in giving support to a particular domain or creator, they would click the “tip” button in Brave. This button would reveal a panel that shows them the site-image and site-title. This is where the first issue comes up; on Tom’s YouTube channel (and the channels of other creators), the image and text that are displayed automatically are not vague logos and titles, they’re faces and names.

    We quickly agreed with Tom that this was not ideal, and moved to make big changes in the way this panel appeared. Within 48 hours we had an update out to our users improving this experience. The other issue that Tom brought up was one of communicating creator status more clearly. As part of our prompt upgrade, we no longer identify verified publishers as such, but we also now explicitly identify unverified publishers too. This is similar to browsers only informing users in the past of secure connections, whereas today they inform the users of non-secure connections too (Brave has HTTPSEverywhere built-in, so far fewer non-secure connections in Brave than other browsers 😉)

    One final thing I wanted to comment on was the nature of the User Growth Pool (UGP). We set this up from the start to hold 300M Basic Attention Tokens (BAT) for the users. We’ve been giving these out to users who download the desktop browser and enable Brave Rewards; many get a “grant” the first time they run the application, and all get offered one on a monthly basis. These BAT can be given to any creator, verified or not. If unclaimed for 1 year, Brave may “recycle” these back into the UGP, distribute them to other users for the support of other creators. Brave will not take any BAT that the user has acquired themselves.

    That’s all I wanted to share; otherwise excellent coverage of the events that lead to substantive changes in the Brave browser. We are, as stated on Twitter, very thankful for Tom helping us identify these areas of improvement. While we rolled out several big changes within 48 hours of this realization, we have more changes to come. Keep watching as we continue our work to improve the web for content creators and contributors alike.

    Sampson
    Brave Software

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