Brave Browser Rewards Were Once on Bitcoin: Fees Moved Them to Ethereum

The reward system used by the Brave Browser used to be hosted on Bitcoin, but high fees caused the team to move the project to Ethereum. That’s according to Brave developer Jonathan Sampson, who brought the Bitcoin fee debate briefly back to the fore on Friday.

Brave Switched From Bitcoin to Ethereum

When a user asked CEO Brendan Eich of Brave and Basic Attention Token (BAT) if Bitcoin rewards could ever make it to the browser, Sampson tweeted:

“Brave Rewards (previously ‘Payments’) was launched on Bitcoin. We had to switch to the ETH blockchain due to network and fee issues. Our users aren’t HODLers who buy in large amounts, so the fee and congestion issues facing BTC were unbearable.”

Rewards are earned on a small-scale basis on the Brave Browser, and the average transaction in or out of a wallet will typically be in the sub-$1 range.

As covered recently, the sudden increase in Bitcoin’s price back in 2017 had the unintended consequence of slowing its rate of adoption. Fees reached such heights as to make processing Bitcoin payments a losing venture for many businesses. Even the average BTC fee at time of writing ($1.25 according to Bitinfocharts) would still be too high for Brave to function properly, despite being a massive reduction compared to recent figures.

BTC Has Other Strengths

As Sampson himself hints, there are still some advantages Bitcoin has that most other coins don’t. Those would be its brand name, its liquidity, and its security (hashrate). These three attributes make BTC a first stop for “hodlers who buy in large amounts”, as well as whales and fund managers. In other words, people who can either afford the fees, or people who aren’t going to be transferring small amounts any time soon.

But where does that leave all those ‘unbanked’ third-world citizens we keep hearing about? You know, the ones who Bitcoin was supposed to save from the evil banksters? It may surprise the slew of middle-class Bitcoin developers to learn that people in third-world countries don’t transact in large amounts. Nor do they have any use for long-term hodling.

The typical retort from Bitcoin supporters on this issue is that micropayments can be achieved with other cryptocurrencies – go use one of them!

Another piece of rhetoric we hear from Bitcoin supporters is that anything that isn’t Bitcoin is a shitcoin. Therefore, we can assume that while rich people use BTC as another investment plaything, Bitcoin supporters are quite happy to inflict shitcoins on the poor and unbanked of the world.

More Efficient Than Chrome?

On a related note, Google announced it would not be adding tracking protection to its Chrome web browser, citing unsuitable current technology. That excuse crumbles when you look across the selection of modern web browsers and see privacy options literally everywhere.

Here we have an opening for one of Brave Browser’s main use-cases – the ability for the internet user to decide their own level of privacy.

But how does Brave stack up against other browsers when judged against different standards – CPU and RAM consumption, for example?

Crypto journalist Omar Bham conducted a small experiment for his Twitter followers, where he compared the resource consumption of Brave compared to Google Chrome. As seen below, the RAM usage is nearly halved when using Brave; and CPU usage is just 2% of what it is on Chrome.

Bham conducted the same experiment comparing Tor Browser to Chrome. The results showed Tor using slightly less RAM than Brave overall, but more than twice as much CPU power.

Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Greg Thomson is a freelance writer who contributes to leading cryptocurrency and blockchain publications like CCN, Hacked, and others.