We’re now conditioned to expect recognition online for content people enjoy: likes, favorites, hearts, claps, and the like. But Brave, the privacy-oriented browser from Mozilla’s former CEO, wants to do you one better, and is building out a tipping system for content to achieve it.
The latest release of the browser (available now for Windows, MacOS, and Linux) includes a tipping system for Twitter; the interface has been modified to include a “tip” icon, where users can literally reward tweets that make them laugh, think, or learn. In turn, users who like your tweets can tip you. And the tipping mechanism is coming to three other platforms: Reddit discussion forums, programming site GitHub, and video platform Vimeo. While oft-called “vanity metrics” can sometimes provide a sense of connection, Brave CEO Brendan Eich believes tipping is a stronger and more substantive means “to connect users directly to their favorite creators.”
Brave joins an ecosystem that allows creators to make money from the content they produce. But it is among the smallest means to do so, and could prove attractive to small-scale makers who don’t produce on a level appropriate for Patreon, Facebook, YouTube, or Snapchat’s creator programs. Writes CNET about the development, “It’s all a significant change in the way web publishers have historically financed themselves.” And for a browser that prides itself on honoring privacy and offering shelter from an Internet built to mine fodder for ad revenue, it feels like a thoughtful next step.
Tipping takes place with a cryptocurrency-like unit called a “basic attention token,” or BAT. To tip a tweeter, you can click the “tip” link that will show up in the Brave browser. From there, you can choose to tip 1, 5, or 10 BAT for the content. You also have the option of making the tip a one-time payment, or setting up a monthly contribution. Tips can be converted into regular currency through Brave partner Uphold.
And while a small number of users are taking advantage of this program (about 60,000 as of August 2019), the rate of growth is climbing steadily. And why shouldn’t it? As concerns about content theft and free labor online grow, the prospect of being rewarded, even in small measure, for the things we post online each day is attractive. And particularly for creators who aren’t seeking to build empires with their content, the small thanks that a tip affords goes a long way for rewarding their time and energy.
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