Eich’s most recent brainchild is the Brave Browser, an open-source web browser based on Chromium which automatically blocks adverts and web-tracking.
If Brave users choose to view adverts, they are rewarded in BAT tokens, an Ethereum-based ERC-20 token. These tokens can be used to tip content creators and websites who can then cash out their tips as fiat.
Multiple websites support verified publishers on Brave’s network, including Wikipedia contributors, YouTube video makers, and video streaming platform Twitch.
Many are speculating that Brave’s model for advertisers will revolutionise the online advertising space and democratise rewards for content creators.
To celebrate the release of Brave Browser version 1.0, Eich took to Reddit to host a live AMA (Ask Me Anything) to answer questions from the community.
— BrendanEich (@BrendanEich) November 13, 2019
Eich took the time to respond to hundreds of community questions, the best of which centered around Brave’s privacy protection technology and revenue model.
One user, highlighting privacy concerns with other browsers, asked: “How can we trust that [our] data from Brave won’t be used in the same way?”
“Here’s the trick: we don’t *collect* user browsing data in the clear at all. Even if you enable Sync, the data is encrypted with a key only you have. This means we can’t see your data. Our opt-in Brave Rewards system uses blind-signature cryptography to avoid us seeing your ad or contribution events or linking them together to make a fingerprint.”
Eich further stated that if government officials tried to force a backdoor into Brave to snoop on users, he would “shut Brave down”.
Another user questioned Eich about Brave’s ownership structure, asking: “Is Brave a private company? If yes, who owns it?”
In response, without naming any specific investors, Eich explained:
“…investors, especially minority shareholders, are not operators and do not dictate any particular product or business outcome. Our first floor founders/employees have more ownership than VCs do… no one holds a majority or controlling share of ownership – certainly not me.”
Asked what unique features would be implemented into Brave that couldn’t be used in Firefox, Eich replied:
“Innovating quickly. Big orgs cannot do it, the reasons are well-documented in many books and case studies. Also doing anything risky was hard at Mozilla.”