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.
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.
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.)
“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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