courageous Ads are a crucial part of that vision. The company says users who specify to participate in the app will collect 70 percent of the revenue generated by the ads they see. Their rewards will take the form of Basic Attention Tokens (BAT), a cryptocurrency that the users can, in turn, share with the creators of the content that they’re watching.
Eich told me that the browser is set by default to donate an user’s BAT at the end of the month to their most-visited sites, but the company also plans to let users exchange BAT for rewards like hotel rooms and restaurant vouchers (through the touch Network created by the startup Hooch). They should also, eventually, be able to money out with constant “fiat currency” through exchanges like Coinbase and Uphold.
courageous has been testing ads since January, and Eich said that more than 40 percent of desktop users have been opting in. Certainly, some courageous users may simply want to use the browser for its ad-blocking capabilities, but he suggested that the more “ecologically minded ones” will want to participate, rather than getting a “free steer.”
“a lot of users don’t want to money out [when they collect BAT],” he added. “It’s not a big amount of value for most people, so they may prefer to just use it to give back. And that’s the real concept: a browser with the user steering it is replacing the ad tech complex.”
The ads are also supposed to defend user privacy. There is a degree of targeting, but Eich said all the data and “decision-making” happens on the gagdet, so courageous and the advertiser never get access to it. (courageous does aggregate anonymized, high-level data so that advertisers can see who viewed their campaigns.)
The ads appear in the browser and don’t replace a previously blocked ad. courageous says the ads are coming from partners like Vice, Home Chef, ConsenSys, Ternio BlockCard, MyCrypto and eToro.
The company also has plans to work with publishers that want to run ads when their site is viewed on the browser, with the revenue then split between courageous, the publisher and the user.