Brave web browser no longer claims to fundraise on behalf of others — so that’s nice

The Brave web browser is a favourite of crypto fans, because it has a crypto in it — the Basic Attention Token (BAT) ERC-20 token. The idea is that you can give this to creators whose stuff you like.

This caused some slight problems just before Christmas — when the browser was caught presenting “support this site” banners for creators who weren’t signed up for BAT at all. Amy Castor wrote up the story (archive) for The Block.

British YouTuber Tom Scott was asked if he was getting his BAT donations — and Tom was not pleased in the slightest — “it’s about ‘passing off’, claiming you represent someone when you don’t.”


So if you thought you’d donated to me through Brave, the money (or their pseudo-money) will not reach me, and Brave’s terms say they may choose to just keep it themselves. It looks like they’re ‘providing this service’ for every creator on every platform. No opt-in, no consent. — Tom Scott (@tomscott) December 21, 2018


Here’s what the browser was showing people (screenshot by Jackson Palmer). Any reasonable person would call this “passing off” — it’s got the creator’s name and photo, and the direct claim “You can support this site by sending a tip”:



Quite a lot of Twitter objected to what was, to all appearances, blatant fraud.

After Brave founder Brendan Eich had spent about five days on Twitter berating his many objectors with allusions to Plato, Hume and Nietzsche — “In short run, without sounding Nietzschean, will matters. Patreon’s is weak or corrupt. Ours is not.” — he conceded they would probably have to change the wording.

So, Brave version 0.58.21 came out yesterday! I installed it in a clean Windows 10 VM to see what it does now.

You can ask the browser for 35 BATs to start you off — go to the hamburger menu, then “Brave Rewards.” To give BATs to people, you click the little triangle icon in the address bar.

(You can hypothetically sell BATs on Coinbase, but I don’t think you can get these ones out of the browser.)

I tried a couple of YouTube channels — mine, which is not signed up for BATs, and David Hay‘s, which is. The browser is now much clearer about whether creators are signed up:



“Include in Auto-Contribute” is the default — I’m presuming that if you don’t untick it, your supply of BATs will drain away monthly.

What happens if you send a tip to an unverified creator?

I click “tip” for my YouTube channel, and the screen below comes up. The “Learn more” link goes to the Brave FAQ, which says that no funds leave the browser until the creator verifies — but admits that previous versions of Brave worked differently, and sent the tokens to Brave in the hope that the creator would sign up at some point.



I tipped myself 1.0 BAT — will Brave now try to contact me as a creator with a tip waiting? Let’s see what happens when I don’t verify.

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5 Comments on “Brave web browser no longer claims to fundraise on behalf of others — so that’s nice”

  1. Hi, David!
    AFAIK, Brave contact creators only when donations exceeds 100$. So, in current BAT price you should donate yourself at least 100$/0.1$/2BAT=834BAT. I think you can span more VM’s to drain BAT user growth fund and finish your experiment.

    1. Definitely not something I’m going to bother doing 😉 I expect there’s no way to look up unclaimed balances either.

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