Can a cryptocurrency-backed web browser topple Google Chrome?

The Brave web browser’s user numbers continue to grow. And a fresh complaint has gone into Google about the privacy matters Brave tries to resolve…

On the quiet, the Brave web browser is slowly making inroads into the marketplace, with a notably different approach from the market leaders in the sector. Brave aims to put more control in the hands of the user, by allowing them to opt-in to receiving ads, by default blocking cookies, and in theory coming up with a way of rewarding publishers for their material notwithstanding. Not for nothing was it described around its launch by some as the ‘anti-Chrome’.

Users, meanwhile, also get faster loading times, and the project is backed by the Basic Attention Token (BAT). This is an ERC20 cryptocurrency, where users will earn BATs as they use Brave, and can then opt to donate them to publishers of material they like. The argument is that publishers will earn more money this way than via more traditional, increasingly diluted advertising methods, although it remains to be seen if that’s the case.

BAT was launched in the summer of 2017, courtesy of an ICO that earned $36m in funding. The sale in that case sold out in under a minute, and development of Brave has continued apace since.

Brave’s userbase is still minuscule in the scheme of web browsers, attracting four million monthly users. But it’s growing, and growing quickly.

What’s more, it’s also going to battle with Google’s Chrome web browser, arguing that Google and other ‘ad tech’ companies have breached new GDPR guidelines. Full details of its complaint can be found here.

With increasingly concerns over Google’s privacy, and the growing intrusiveness of the Chrome browser, it’ll be interesting to see just how sizeable the inroads Brave can make are. From small acorns, though…