Brave (web browser)
|Developer(s)||Brave Software, Inc.|
|Initial release||13 November 2019 (Version 1.0)|
|Engines||Blink, V8, (WebKit on iOS)|
Brave is a free and open-source web browser developed by Brave Software, Inc. based on the Chromium web browser. It blocks ads and website trackers, and provides a way for users to send cryptocurrency contributions in the form of Basic Attention Tokens (BAT) to websites and content creators along with the ability to keep the cryptocurrency they earned.
In June 2018, Brave released a pay-to-surf test-version of the browser. This version of Brave came preloaded with approximately 250 ads, and sent a detailed log of the user's browsing activity to Brave for the short-term purpose of testing this functionality. Brave announced that expanded trials would follow. Later that month Brave added support for Tor in its desktop browser's private-browsing mode.
Until December 2018, Brave ran on a fork of Electron called Muon, which they marketed as a "more secure fork". Nevertheless, Brave developers moved to Chromium, citing a need to ease their maintenance burden. Brave Software released the final Muon-based version with the intention that it would stop working and instructed users to update as its end-of-life approached.
In June 2019, Brave started testing a new ad-blocking rule-matching algorithm implemented in Rust, replacing the previous C++ one. The uBlock Origin and Ghostery algorithms inspired the new logic, which Brave claims to be on average 69 times faster than the previous algorithm.
Brave launched its stable release, version 1.0, on 13 November 2019, while having 8.7 million monthly active users overall. At the time, it had approximately 3 million active users on a daily basis. Brave 1.0, running on Android, iOS, Windows 10, macOS, or Linux, integrated "almost all of Brave's marquee features across all platforms", according to engadget.
Brave uses its Basic Attention Token (BAT) to drive revenue. Originally incorporated in Delaware as Hyperware Labs, Inc. in 2015, the company later changed its name to Brave Software, Inc. and registered in California, where it is headquartered.
By August 2016, the company had received at least US$7 million in angel investments from venture capital firms, including Peter Thiel's Founders Fund, Propel Venture Partners, Pantera Capital, Foundation Capital, and the Digital Currency Group.
In November 2019, Brave launched Brave Ads, an ad network which returns a 70% revenue share to users. Ad clients included the company's partners like Vice, Home Chef, ConsenSys, eToro and others.
Basic Attention Token
In an initial coin offering on 31 May 2017, Brave Software International SEZC sold 1,000,000,000 BAT for a total of 156,250 Ethereum (US$35M) in less than 30 seconds. An additional 500,000,000 BAT was retained by the company, to be used to promote the adoption of the platform.
Since April 2019, users of the Brave browser can opt in to the Brave Rewards feature, which sends BAT micropayments to websites and content creators. Site owners and creators must first register with Brave as a publisher. Users can either turn on auto-contribute, which automatically divides a specified monthly contribution in proportion to the time spent, or they can manually send a chosen amount (referred to as a tip) while visiting the site or creator.
Users can choose to earn BAT by viewing advertisements that are displayed as notifications by the operating system of their computer or device. Advertising campaigns are matched with users by inference from their browsing history; this targeting is carried out locally, with no transmission of personal data outside the browser, removing the need for third-party tracking. In addition or alternatively, users can buy or sell BAT through Brave's relationship with Uphold Inc., a digital currency exchange operator.
- Tor (anonymity network): Brave offers Tor support in the desktop version. Users can switch to Tor-enabled browsing by clicking on the hamburger menu on the top right corner of the browser.
- InterPlanetary File System (IPFS): In January 2021, Brave became one of the first web browsers to offer native integration with a peer-to-peer networking protocol.
- Blockchain domain names: As of March 2021, Brave supports decentralized domains, namely the ones provided by Unstoppable Domains (.crypto etc.) and Ethereum Name Services (ENS).
In January 2016, in reaction to Brave Software's initial announcement, Sebastian Anthony of Ars Technica described Brave as a "cash-grab" and a "double dip". Anthony concluded, "Brave is an interesting idea, but generally it's rather frowned upon to stick your own ads in front of someone else's". TechCrunch, Computerworld, and Engadget  termed Brave's ad replacement plans "controversial" in 2016.
In February 2016, Andy Patrizio of Network World reviewed a pre-release version of Brave. Patrizio criticized the browser's feature set as "mighty primitive," but lauded its performance: "Pages load instantly. I can't really benchmark page loads since they happen faster than I can start/stop the stopwatch".
In April 2016, the CEO of the Newspaper Association of America, David Chavern, said that Brave's proposed replacement of advertising "should be viewed as illegal and deceptive by the courts, consumers, and those who value the creation of content".
In November 2019, CNET reviewed the newly released 1.0 version of Brave. They praised the speed, saying "Brave is hands-down the fastest browser I've used this year on any operating system, for both mobile and desktop. Memory usage by the browser is far below most others, while website loading is far faster." They also said battery usage could be reduced by using the browser – "With less strain on resources comes less strain on your device's battery life as well." However, they had concerns that the user base is still far below Chrome, and thus it may not be able to build out its ad system fully yet, saying – "The browser will need more users, however, to truly build out its new ad system: while 8 million people is a good start, it will still need to compete with Google Chrome's billion-plus users".
Brave browser collecting donations on behalf of content creators
In December of 2018 British YouTube content creator Tom Scott said that he had not received any donations collected on his behalf by Brave browser. In a tweet, he stated "So if you thought you'd donated to me through Brave, the money (or their pseudo-money [BAT]) will not reach me, and Brave's terms say that they may choose to just keep it for themselves. It looks like they're 'providing this service' for every creator on every platform. No opt-in, no consent." In response, Brave amended the interface with a disclaimer for each creator who hasn't signed up with Brave and promised to consider adding "an opt-out option for creators who do not wish to receive donations" and "switching the default so users cannot tip or donate to unverified creators". Critics stated that the system should be opt-in and not opt-out, that the disclaimer did not clearly state absence of any relation with the creators, and suggests that creator begun process of signing up with Brave. Two days after the complaint, Brave issued an update to "clearly indicate which publishers and creators have not yet joined Brave Rewards so users can better control how they donate and tip" and in January 2020 another update to change the behavior of contributions and tips. They are now held in the browser and transferred if the creator signs up within 90 days, otherwise, they are returned to the user. Tom Scott, who had previously complained, tweeted "These are good changes, and they fix the complaints I had!".
Insertion of referral codes
On 6 June 2020, a Twitter user pointed out that Brave inserts affiliate referral codes when users type a URL of Binance into the address bar, which earns Brave money. Further research revealed that Brave redirects the URLs of other cryptocurrency exchange websites, too. In response to the backlash from the users, Brave's CEO apologized and called it a "mistake" and said "we're correcting".
"Private Window with Tor" DNS leaks
On 12 January 2021, a private disclosure on Brave's HackerOne bug bounty platform reported that Brave leaked DNS requests to the user's DNS provider, allowing internet service providers to see domain names the user was visiting if requests were not encrypted with HTTPS, even while using "Private Window with Tor." Brave does not enable DNS over HTTPS by default, leaving most users vulnerable.
Brave fixed the issue in its Nightly channel soon after it was initially reported. Once the bug received public attention in mid-February from Twitter users verifying the vulnerability, the fix was soon uplifted to the Stable channel and landed in Brave 1.20.110.
Comparison with other browsers
A February 2020 research report published by the School of Computer Science and Statistics at Trinity College Dublin tested a number of browsers and found Brave to be the most private of them, in terms of phoning home: "In the first (most private) group lies Brave, in the second Chrome, Firefox and Safari, and in the third (least private) group lie Edge and Yandex."
- "Company Overview of Brave Software Inc". Bloomberg. 4 April 2018. Archived from the original on 27 April 2019. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
- "Brave Private Browser". Google Play Store. 1 April 2021. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
- "Brave Private Web Browser". App Store. 22 January 2021. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
- "Release Notes". Brave Software. 1 April 2021. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
- "Releases". Brave Software. Retrieved 9 April 2021 – via GitHub.
- "browser-laptop/LICENSE.txt at master". GitHub. 29 June 2017. Archived from the original on 22 March 2019. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
- Bondy, Brian (13 November 2019). "The road to Brave 1.0". Brave Press. Archived from the original on 19 November 2019. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
It took another few months to get initial funding, but in May 2015 we started this ambitious project.
- Lomas, Natasha (20 June 2018). "Blockchain browser Brave starts opt-in testing of on-device ad targeting". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 16 July 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
- Shankland, Stephen (28 June 2018). "Brave advances browser privacy with Tor-powered tabs". CNET. Archived from the original on 27 September 2018.
- Cimpanu, Catalin. "Brave browser moves to Chromium codebase, now supports Chrome extensions". ZDNet. Archived from the original on 16 January 2019. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
- "Brave browser goes 'full Chromium' by adopting Google UI". 16 December 2018. Archived from the original on 27 June 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
- Tung, Liam. "Brave defies Google's moves to cripple ad-blocking with new 69x faster Rust engine". ZDNet. Archived from the original on 1 July 2019. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
- Brave (13 November 2019). "Brave Launches Next-Generation Browser that Puts Users in Charge of Their Internet Experience with Unmatched Privacy and Rewards". Brave Browser. Archived from the original on 14 November 2019. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
- Bonifacic, Igor (13 November 2019), "Brave says 8.7 million people use its privacy-focused browser every month", Engadget, archived from the original on 16 November 2019, retrieved 16 November 2019
- Cimpanu, Catalin. "Brave becomes first browser to add native support for the IPFS protocol". ZDNet. Retrieved 14 February 2021.
- Bambrough, Billy. "Millions Of Google Chrome Users Are Suddenly Making A Surprising Switch Because Of One Critical Feature". Forbes. Retrieved 14 February 2021.
- Brave (2 February 2021). "Brave Passes 25M MAUs and 8M DAUs". Brave Browser. Retrieved 14 February 2021.
- Brave (28 January 2021). "Ecosia is now an Official Search Engine Option on Brave". Brave Browser. Retrieved 14 February 2021.
- "Brave acquires search engine to offer the first private alternative to Google Search and Google Chrome on both mobile and desktop". Brave website. Brave Software, Inc. 3 March 2021. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
- Brave (22 April 2021). "Brave is the first browser featured on the Epic Games Store". Brave Browser. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
- "Brave Wants to Destroy the Ad Business by Paying You to Watch Ads in Its Web Browser". Gizmodo. 24 April 2019. Archived from the original on 24 June 2019. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
- "Business Search - Business Entities - Business Programs | California Secretary of State". businesssearch.sos.ca.gov.
- Perez, Sarah (1 August 2016). "Brave, the ad-blocking browser from former Mozilla CEO, grabs $4.5 million". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 13 December 2019.
- "The Brave browser launches ads that reward users for viewing". TechCrunch. Retrieved 14 February 2021.
- Russell, Jon. "Former Mozilla CEO raises $35M in under 30 seconds for his browser startup Brave". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 1 June 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- "Ad-blocking browser Brave courts new users with free crypto tokens". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on 8 January 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- "This ad-blocking browser has some cryptocurrency for you". CNET. Archived from the original on 9 January 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- Fingas, Jon (24 April 2019). "Brave browser lets you see opt-in ads in exchange for rewards". Engadget. Archived from the original on 11 March 2020. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- "Features". Brave Browser. Archived from the original on 1 February 2020. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- "Brave Partners with Uphold to Launch Wallet That Rewards Users for Browsing". Brave Browser. 3 October 2019. Archived from the original on 14 January 2020. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- Keizer, Gregg (6 September 2016). "Ad-blocking Brave browser tests users-to-sites micro-payments". Computerworld. Archived from the original on 14 January 2020. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- Shankland, Stephen (16 November 2017). "Brave browser lets you pay your favorite YouTube stars". CNET. Archived from the original on 25 February 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- Brave (5 October 2020). "Brave.com now has its own Tor Onion Service, providing more users with secure access to Brave". Brave Browser. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
- Porter, Jon (19 January 2021). "Brave browser takes step toward enabling a decentralized web". The Verge. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
- Anthony, Sebastian (21 January 2016). "Mozilla co-founder unveils Brave, a browser that blocks ads by default". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 21 January 2016.
- Keizer, Gregg (25 June 2018). "Brave browser begins controversial ad repeal-and-replace tests". Computerworld. Archived from the original on 13 December 2019. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
- England, Rachel (20 June 2018). "Privacy browser Brave pays 'crypto tokens' for watching its ads". Engadget. Archived from the original on 13 December 2019. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
- Patrizio, Andy (4 February 2016). "Benchmark tests: How the Brave browser compares with Chrome, Firefox, and IE 11". Network World. Archived from the original on 2 July 2018. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
- Murphy, David (8 April 2016). "Newspapers: Ad-Blocking Brave Browser Is Illegal, Deceptive". PC Magazine. Archived from the original on 13 December 2019. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
- Edmonds, Rick (7 April 2016). "U.S. newspapers to ad blocker: Drop dead". Poynter. Archived from the original on 13 December 2019. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
- Mercer, Christina; Dunn, John E (26 April 2018). "The most secure browsers 2018". Techworld. Archived from the original on 25 November 2019. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
- Brave (28 August 2019). "Wikipedia is now a Brave Verified Publisher, Ready to Receive BAT Donations from Brave Users". Brave Browser. Archived from the original on 15 May 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
- Hodge, Rae (14 November 2019). "Brave 1.0 browser review: Browse faster and safer while ticking off advertisers". CNET. Archived from the original on 28 January 2020. Retrieved 4 February 2020.
- "Brave browser is collecting donations on your behalf — did you know?". The Block. Archived from the original on 8 June 2020. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
- "Brave web browser no longer claims to fundraise on behalf of others — so that's nice". Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain. 13 January 2019. Archived from the original on 8 June 2020. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
- Brave (22 December 2018). "Brave Rewards Update". Brave Browser. Archived from the original on 8 June 2020. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
- "News: Brave browser's opt-out "fundraising" for third parties, fallout from the Bitcoin and Ether price crash, Tether margin trading, UK tax guidance". Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain. 23 December 2018. Archived from the original on 8 June 2020. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
- "Frequently Asked Questions - unclaimed funds". Brave Browser. Archived from the original on 17 June 2020. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
- Shankland, Stephen (15 January 2019). "Brave browser launches ad system that soon will pay you 70 percent of the revenue". CNET. Archived from the original on 19 February 2019. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
- Lyons, Kim (8 June 2020). "Brave browser CEO apologizes for automatically adding affiliate links to cryptocurrency URLs". The Verge. Archived from the original on 8 June 2020.
- Tung, Liam (8 June 2020). "Privacy browser Brave busted for autocompleting URLs to versions it profits from". ZDNet. Archived from the original on 8 June 2020. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
- "Release Channel v1.9.80". GitHub. 8 June 2020.
- "On Partner Referral Codes in Brave Suggested Sites". Brave.com. 9 June 2020. Archived from the original on 9 June 2020. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
- yan. "[hackerone] Tor DNS issue". brave/brave-browser. GitHub. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
- "How To Enable DNS Over HTTPS In Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Brave & More?". Fossbytes. 28 October 2020. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
- "Brave privacy bug exposes Tor onion URLs to your DNS provider". BleepingComputer. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
- "Latest Brave browser update fixes Tor .onion DNS Leak - gHacks Tech News". www.ghacks.net. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
- Cimpanu, Catalin (2 March 2020). "Brave deemed most private browser in terms of 'phoning home'". ZDNet. Archived from the original on 3 March 2020. Retrieved 5 March 2020.