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Don't Like Advertising? One 'Brave' Startup Has The Answer: Bitcoin

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

by Joonathan Chester

There is a serious problem brewing on the internet. Everyone expects content to be free, content providers accept this, trying to make their way with a mix of selling advertising and profiling their customers. Many users turn to tools like Adblock to shut out unwanted interruptions, they use Do Not Track in an attempt to thwart profiling, and the truly focused will run tools like Script Safe, which permit them fine grained control over which sites they’ll permit to send dynamic content.

Those methods make for a cleaner, faster internet experience, but at the cost of starving content providers, perhaps fatally. Premium sites like Wired now sense ad blockers and show a few second tease of an article, then they shift to asking users to ‘whitelist’ ads on their site. If you’re part of Wired’s target demographic their ads are likely products you might purchase, but there is another nasty hazard that nobody who depends on ad sales wants to address.

There are so many attacks that originate on ad sites that there is even a new word to describe this – malvertising. If you agree to whitelist a content site, you’re permitting not just their material, but also all of the ad sites, and you’ll have to accept Javascript. This language is used for programs that must run within your browser, and in the hands of a bad guy it’s the vehicle for attacking vulnerable browsers.

Brave, a new browser by a team led by no less than Brendan Eich, the creator of the Javascript language and cofounder of Firefox browser maker Mozilla, is about to change everything. The blockchain is the heart of this new system.

The goal is to only have good ads. We want fewer ads that are much more relevant, and we make sure the ads come after all the content, not before. – Brendan Eich

Right now all you can get from Brave is the browser itself, but it’s well worth downloading and installing on its own. Ads are blocked, as are tracking pixels. Tracking cookies are discarded, and the browser attempts to get the sites you visit to use encrypted https rather than simply accepting unencrypted http. All of these are worthy goals, but they don’t fix the problem of your favorite indy news site needing a revenue stream to remain afloat.

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