What is Basic Attention Token?

Basic Attention Token is essentially digital advertising that rewards the user

Basic Attention Token is all about digital advertising, and it allows publishers, advertisers, and users to exchange a token that “facilitates and improves the efficiency of digital advertising”.

The idea of Basic Attention Token is to remove all the intermediaries from the advertising process. Users are rewarded for their attention (i.e. watching ads) and publishers get most of the ad revenue.

basic attention token infographic

The digital advertising environment

There’s no question about the growth of digital advertising. In their latest six-month report, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) state that digital ad spend in the United States hit a record-breaking $49.5 billion in the first half of 2018 (which is a 23% year-on-year increase).

IAB H1 2018 report highlights

  • Digital video ad revenue was $7 billion, a 35% increase year on year, with a 60% increase for mobile advertising
  • Digital audio ad revenue grew to $935 million
  • Mobile accounted for 63% of all digital ad revenue (up from 54% year on year)
  • $30.9 billion was spent on mobile media, up 42%
  • Mobile search ad spend increased 37% to $13.5 billion
  • Social media ad spend grew 38% to $13.1 billion


“Over the course of the last 23 years, this report has served as the official tracking mechanism of the size of the digital advertising industry and the trends propelling its ongoing rise,” said David Silverman, Partner at PwC US. “This 2018 half-year report continues to drive awareness of the great influence of this industry, and specifically the great transformation that has occurred in the advertising ecosystem.”

Google and Facebook dominance

It will be of no surprise that Google and Facebook account for the biggest shares of the total US advertising spend. Google takes 39% of the market and Facebook 20%.

What need is Basic Attention Token addressing?

So, we can see the digital advertising market and industry is significant and growing. Also, mobile advertising is accounting for a large percentage of the total spend.

Basic Attention Token highlight on their website several reasons why they believe the three stakeholders in the relationship of digital advertising (user, publisher, and advertiser) are disadvantaged by how digital advertising works.


By user, we are talking about the person viewing or being served the ad. According to Basic Attention Token, these are the main disadvantages the digital advertising industry is causing users:

  • Ads and trackers use up to 50% of users’ mobile data
  • Ads take 5 seconds on average to load
  • Ads reduce mobile battery life by up to 21%
  • Privacy is compromised – large media sites are hosting up to 70 trackers


  • Google and Facebook dominate, squeezing the market for everyone else
  • 600 million phones/desktops run ad blockers


  • Targeting is often poor despite the perceived granularity of reporting
  • Bots/bogus websites can consume ads

How Basic Attention Token works

Basic Attention Token is based on the Ethereum blockchain, and users use the company’s dedicated web browser (Brave) which measures the users’ activity and rewards them for the attention given to ads.

The browser is “a fast, open source, privacy-focused browser that blocks malvertisements and trackers.” Basic Attention Token claim the ads serviced will be matched to customer interests.

Publishers and users are rewarded with BAT tokens. Users can use BATs for premium content or services on the Basic Attention Token platform.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.

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