Basic Attention Token (BAT)

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What is Basic Attention Token (BAT)?

Basic Attention Token (BAT) is an Ethereum-based utility token designed to enhance a more transparent and fair digital advertising experience for advertisers, content creators, and users.


The utility token serves as a form of payment that users earn for watching privacy-preserving ads on Brave Browser platform.

Techopedia Explains

Brave Browser enables them to block unsolicited ads while they browse the Internet, thereby enhancing their online experience. Additionally, the browser safeguards personal data and identities, preventing the commodification of their data without consent.

BAT token aligns with the broader blockchain ethos of compensating the end users for their data and attention, in contrast to the traditional model where only centralized entities reap the benefits.

However, BAT also considers the interests of advertisers and content creators/publishers.

In Brave Browser ecosystem, users have complete control over the ads they view and how their data is utilized. As a result, advertisers often have to pay to display ads to willing users on the browser as they can block them. This payment is denoted in BAT.

When users watch these ads, their data is compiled and shared with verified advertisers. These advertisers, armed with this information, can create rich and relevant marketing campaigns that meet the specific needs of the end consumer. This allows them to budget efficiently and better track their ads’ impact.

An impressive 70% of the advertising revenue is distributed to users as compensation for their time watching the ads. This model puts money directly in consumers’ pockets while enabling advertisers to connect with their audience without intermediaries.

BAT Overview and History

Basic Attention Token is the brainchild of Brave Software Inc., the creators of Brave Browser platform. This online advertising service officially debuted in 2016 by the duo of Brendan Eich and Brian Bondy.

Eich, the mastermind behind the JavaScript programming language, previously held the position of CTO at Mozilla, a renowned browser provider. He played a pivotal role in the launch of Mozilla Firefox, a direct competitor to Google Chrome.

Eich’s passionate commitment to online user privacy and valuing users’ attention played a central role in the conception of Brave Browser and BAT project.

Brave Browser and BAT initiative were conceived to address the widespread challenges associated with online ads. Internet users often face privacy and security risks due to unsolicited advertising.

Consequently, many users resort to ad-blockers to shield themselves from these intrusive ads, significantly impacting advertisers and publishers in monetizing their content. When they do, a large chunk of this revenue is paid to intermediaries like Google.

In 2017, Basic Attention Token was introduced to revolutionize the digital advertising landscape to benefit end consumers and advertisers.

The token’s public debut was marked by:

  • An initial coin offering (ICO) that saw the privacy-enabling browser raise over $35 million within a minute. This made it the fastest-selling ICO in the history of the blockchain landscape.
  • Brave Browser advertising campaigns have received the most attention in the US, UK, and Canada since November 2020.

How Does BAT Work?

The Brave ecosystem is geared towards creating a fair and transparent value distribution in the digital advertising industry.

To achieve this, the browser upholds stringent measures to safeguard user data, including IP addresses, ensuring this information remains confidential. This robust commitment to user privacy draws similarities with the privacy-focused Tor Browser.

Now, let’s take a closer look at how BAT functions:

  • To ensure that the end consumer has access to premium and monetizable ads, the Brave ecosystem operates a pool of verified advertisers. These advertisers pay a certain amount in BAT to finance their marketing campaigns and invade the privacy of internet users.
  • The funds allocated by advertisers are then shared with users each time they view an ad from a particular advertiser. This approach allows advertising companies to directly track the impact of their ad spending and ensure it doesn’t rely on chance alone.
  • Another integral part of this mutually beneficial system is the publisher or content creator. This group also receives BAT tokens as a reward mechanism for users viewing ads on their websites.
  • Furthermore, users can express their appreciation for their favorite content creators or publishers by tipping them with BAT, using ERC-20 tokens as a subscription method.
  • With this complex system in place, Brave Browser protects them from fraudulent and invasive ads while rewarding them for watching content from their media partners.

Due to its strong focus on privacy enhancement, the browser has become a preferred gateway to the internet for crypto investors. So far, Brave Software has partnered with crypto-facing companies like Binance to offer end consumers specialized crypto services.

What Makes Basic Attention Token Unique?

Basic Attention Token distinguishes itself in the online advertising landscape in several compelling ways:

  1. It ensures the reward system has been fully incorporated into the crypto space. This makes it easily accessible to anyone as it relies on distributed ledger technology (DLT) to operate.
  2. Another key trait is that BAT asset intrinsically differs from major crypto brands like Bitcoin and Ethereum, which focus on payment and smart contract executions. Instead, it provides a leeway through which users can watch privacy-enhancing ads from verified advert companies without their data being scattered across the internet.
  3. In the aspect of privacy, Brave Browser uses the ANONIZE algorithm, which shields users’ personal information from the public eye. This way, advertisers can create tailored ads but can’t log their data. This makes BAT a unique player in an erstwhile congested decentralized payment ecosystem.

How is BAT Mined?

All BAT assets were pre-mined prior to their launch in 2017. At present, there are 1.49 billion BATs in circulation out of a total possible supply of 1.5 billion.

This figure represents 99.34% of the total asset supply, indicating that a significant portion of the digital token is nearly fully distributed.

Additionally, an extra 500 million tokens are reserved for user growth and the continued development of the service.

The Bottom Line

Basic Attention Token fosters an ecosystem where digital advertising becomes a mutually beneficial transaction for advertisers and end consumers.

This approach enables businesses to trim their marketing expenses by delivering targeted ads to the right audience. Users’ data are also kept private.

So far, BAT ideology is receiving genuine interest from people. However, its success largely depends on the online advertising industry adopting this model. Nevertheless, the privacy asset is on a good run and could become the norm for more genuine interaction between internet users and businesses.


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Jimmy Aki
Crypto & Blockchain Writer
Jimmy Aki
Crypto & Blockchain Writer

A graduate of the University of Virginia, Jimmy previously worked for BeInCrypto, Bitcoin Magazine, Decrypt, Cryptonews and other major publications. Alongside writing for Techopedia, Jimmy is also a trained economist, accountant and blockchain instructor with hands-on work experience in the financial sector.