Basic Attention Token – A Blockchain-Based Digital Advertising Solution

In the modern age, digital advertising framework involving users, advertisers and publisher has become unjustly dominated by the middlemen. Publishers generate their revenues based on their advertisements, but a large chunk of that is captured by the middlemen involved in the entire framework. On the other hand, users are burdened by trackers which measure their activity on the internet.  Basic attention token (BAT) aims at solving this issue and providing the digital world with a complete blockchain-based digital advertising solution.

Led by Brendan Eich, creator of JavaScript and co-founder of Mozilla and Firefox, basic attention token seems to be the future of digital advertisement. It is an ethereum-based platform built for eradicating the interference of middlemen in the digital advertisement ecosystem. BAT aims at becoming the new standard for valuing user attention on the digital ecosystem. BAT’s combination of blockchain, smart contracts, browser analytics, accountability, open source code and auditability might just be the framework that the digital world needs.


Currently in the modern digital world, the advertising scenario is very much broken. Middlemen ad exchanges, audience segmentation, cross-device user tracking and cross-party sharing by different data management platforms are dominating the market which was previously run only by advertisers, users and publishers. The privacy of users on the internet is being seriously violated by different ad exchanges and malvertising is becoming a norm. Due to the currently employed advertising system, users pay an approximate amount of $23 per month for receiving different advertisements. Page loads slow down the devices on which the users receive different ads. As a result of this intricate advertising framework, users experience almost 21% less battery life on their devices.

In order to tackle the issue of unwanted advertisements, almost 600 million mobile devices and desktops are using different ad-blocking software at their core. As a result of a broken advertising infrastructure, traditional publisher have lost approximately 66% of their revenue over the past decade.

Due to the presence of a faulty advertising framework, revenues generated by publishers are falling and the users are getting burdened with more and more ads and privacy violations.

The Solution

The solution to this problems is a blockchain-based digital exchange. The entire solution as stated in basic attention token’s white paper is:

The solution is a decentralized, transparent digital ad exchange based on Blockchain. The first component is Brave, a fast, open source, privacy-focused browser that blocks third party ads and trackers, and builds in a ledger system that measures user attention to reward publishers accordingly. Brave will now introduce BAT (Basic Attention Token), a token for a decentralized ad exchange. It compensates the browser user for attention while protecting privacy. BAT connects advertisers, publishers, and users and is denominated by relevant user attention, while removing social and economic costs associated with existing ad networks, e.g., fraud, privacy violations, and malvertising. BAT is a payment system that rewards and protects the user while giving better conversion to advertisers and higher yield to publishers. We see BAT and associated technologies as a future part of web standards, solving the important problem of monetizing publisher content while protecting user privacy.

Brave Browser

Brave is the browser presented by the platform for properly valuing user attention. This brower blocks ads and unwanted trackers that are being used by major sites across the world. It also provides a ledger system for rewarding sites based on user attention.

Attention measurement on the platform is defined on basic attention token’s website as:

Attention is measured as users view ads and content in the browser’s active tab in real time. The Attention Value for the ad will be calculated based on incremental duration and pixels in view in proportion to relevant content, prior to any direct engagement with the ad. We will define further anonymous cost-per-action models as the system develops. Ads are then anonymously matched with customer interests using local machine learning algorithms. This means less irrelevant ads.

The development of this browser was the first step in the development of this platform. Brave browser tracks the activity of the users itself without the interference of any external trackers. The browsers automatically monitors user’s attention as the user is navigating different pages and different content. Different clicks on different sections of the page are automatically tracked by the browser. Rewards are given to the publishers based on user’s activity. All of this is done in a highly accurate and private ecosystem. As a result of this, fraud malvertising is stopped from prevailing.

The BAT Token

Stage 2 of this framework involved the development of the BAT digital token. The basic attention token is the digital currency present on the system for rewarding publishers and users. This token is essentially derived from user’s attention. Publishers receive BAT tokens as the ads are viewed. On the other end, users can also get rewards in the form of BAT tokens if they choose to receive ads. From the reward that users get for their attention on different ads, users can donate a share to the publishers of the ad in order to provide support to them. Also, publishers can also reward users in the form of BAT tokens for promoting their content.

BAT’s initial coin offering (ICO) took place on 31st May 2017. In the initial coin offering, BAT token was priced at 0.0360 USD. As a result of the ICO, tokens worth of approximately $15,000,000 were sold by the company.


The brave browser was launched back in January 2016. After that, the product has a come a long way. In August 2016, major funding was raised by the browser from venture capital firms and angel investors. In March of 2017, the basic attention token project was announced to the world. In May 2017, BAT raised almost $36M in under 30 seconds.

In October of 2017, the major milestone of incorporating BAT into the brave payment framework took place on the platform. In January 2018, $1 million basic attention token giveaway took place. And moving on from there on, various milestones have been achieved by the platform such as BAT platform’s expansion towards Twitch, reaching 2 million monthly active users, partnership with Dow Jones etc.

Besides the goals listed for Fall 2017/Winter 2018, following are the goals mentioned by the platform on its official website for the rest of 2018.

Ahsan Khalid

Blockchain Developer. An Electrical Engineer with majors in software development. I present forward my insight regarding the latest happenings of the blockchain world. All views on my articles are my own. Email: ahsan@blockpublisher.com or editor.news@blockpublisher.com

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