The latest version the Brave browser enables users to donate money to their favorite YouTube stars using the Basic Attention Token (BAT) payment platform.
As the official announcement explains, the Brave browser automatically blocks all web ads — even those on YouTube — but users can contribute directly to participating publishers by adding funds to their browser wallet and distributing them to publishers based on time spent viewing website content or at custom amounts. Brave says that all data stays within the browser, so user information remains private.
Originally, this feature only worked on a domain-by-domain basis, but desktop browser version 0.19.95 adds support for users to send funds anonymously and directly to individual YouTube creators rather than the platforms that host their content. Unlike YouTube’s ad program, it will be available to all YouTube channels — not just those that hit a minimum view threshold.
Brave co-founder and Brandon Eich (who also co-founded Mozilla, maker of the popular Firefox browser) told CNET that YouTube and other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter reap far too high a percentage of the profits from content that they merely host, while the creators themselves may see little to none of the profits.
“There’s been exploitation, and those platform owners are the biggest companies on the planet,” Eich said.
Brave charges a 5% fee for its payment service to help maintain the platform, but the other 95% goes directly to the creator — a much higher percentage than creators receive from YouTube ad revenue, for instance. Payments are automatically converted into fiat currency by currency exchange Uphold, so publishers and creators never have to interact directly with BAT tokens unless they choose to do so.
In the future, Brave intends to provide users the ability to opt into a limited advertising experience that blocks trackers and preserves user privacy. Revenue generated from these ads will be shared with publishers, and eventually, users themselves.