The Weekly BAT + Podcast Ep. 59 — An under the hood look at BAT/Brave Ads (blog), Brave R&D update, EFF’s Panopticlick Fingerprinting test now works for Brave users!

Blog: Under the hood look at BAT/Brave Ads and its ad matching system: “An Introduction to Brave’s In-Browser Ads”

Online advertising has been the engine that powers online content creation for decades. The modern online advertising ecosystem has evolved to optimize for conversions (i.e. clicks and purchases). This practice often leads to persistent and privacy-invasive browsing and behavioral data collection to feed into analytics models, while an individual is browsing seemingly unrelated web sites through an infrastructure of third-party trackers. Over the last decade, users have increasingly pushed back against these privacy-violating practices, both through adoption of products such as Brave that automatically block third-party trackers, and through legislative and regulatory actions such as GDPR and the like. 

However, while it’s possible to suppress tracking, there is plenty of user interest in providing relevant recommendations. As a result, we have seen a number of academic proposals like Privad [1] or Adnostic [2] for privacy-preserving advertising systems. However, Brave Ads was the first system to deploy in production. Introduced in April 2019, Brave Ads provide Brave’s current 18 million  monthly active users [7] the choice to opt into privacy-preserving advertising and to get rewarded for their attention.

Read the full post here: https://brave.com/intro-to-brave-ads/ 

Blog: Brave’s Chief Scientist shares an update on the various cutting-edge topics & tech that Brave’s Research Team is working on to make Brave even better for users

Brave Research is a highly dynamic team of researchers and developers whose goal is to push the envelope when it comes to some of the more adventurous aspects and needs of the Brave browser and the underlying ecosystem. Most people at Brave Research hold a PhD in computer science, although pretty much everyone on the team is very practical and is involved in writing code on a daily basis. The way we think about the mission of Brave Research is two-fold: we are the “special forces” that kick into action whenever there are problems that are both relatively unexplored and also of great value to Brave. Our second mission is to create research output in the form of papers, which we aim to publish at top-tier, highly competitive conference venues. We also closely engage with academia and have PhD-level interns and university professors who work closely with Brave researchers, with a goal of advancing the state-of-the-art, especially when it comes to privacy, security, machine learning on the edge, as well as decentralization. 

Our work covers a broad range of topics, which include machine learning, data privacy and security, performance, and cryptography, to name only a few. A lot of our work tends to be pragmatic and even opportunistic in nature, driven by real-life problems that the browser throws at us. The flow of hard problems is virtually guaranteed given the complexity of the code base as well as the number of previously-unsolved problems that Braves tries to address. 

In this blog post, we cover some of the recent work that has come out in the form of both blog posts and conference publications. One of the goals is to showcase the diversity of topics that we work on, as well as to connect the work we do to some of the features that are appearing in the browser. More details on the research publications can be found here: https://brave.com/research/.

Read the full post here: https://brave.com/updates-from-brave-research/ 

Introducing: Weekly BAT Discussion Thread on r/BATProject!

A new home for BAT-related discussions whose newsworthiness is relevant for a brief period of time (≤1 week).

Privacy: EFF’s Panopticlick Fingerprinting test now correctly reports Brave’s anti-fingerprinting technology!

https://panopticlick.eff.org has been updated to report more useful information to Brave users! Many users rely on Panopticlick to check on their browser’s privacy and anti-fingerprinting properties. In the past, Panopticlick’s test could not reliably report on Brave’s fingerprint randomization and farbling techniques, often leading to subpar-looking scores. Now, the EFF’s Panopticlick test will more accurately report Brave’s privacy properties.

The following new text has been added to Panopticlick:

Although sophisticated adversaries may still able to track you to some extent, randomization provides a very strong protection against tracking companies trying to fingerprint your browser.

Screenshot below of a Panopticlick test on Brave:

WIN: Enter TAP Network’s sweepstakes using BAT for a chance to win an Apple HomePod + Apple Music subscription!

Upgrade your audio game! Brave users with Uphold-verified wallets can now enter TAP Network’s sweepstakes with BAT for a chance to win an Apple HomePod + Apple Music.

HomePod is a breakthrough speaker that adapts to its location and delivers high-fidelity audio wherever it’s playing. Together with Apple Music, it creates an entirely new way for you to discover and interact with music at home.

Other sweepstakes offerings include digital gift cards of your choice from hundreds of retailers including amazing brands like Amazon, Walmart, Gamestop, Nintendo and more! Past sweepstakes prizes included a very limited-edition Nintento Switch Animal Crossing: New Horizons and a pair of Apple Air Pods Pro.

To enter the sweepstakes head over to the TAP Sweepstakes page choose the sweepstakes you want to enter, and enter as many times as you desire—it costs less than 1 BAT per entry! 

Enter here: https://brave.tapnetwork.io/

Brave Ads Rewards Payout: Updated Support Flow

Dear users,

Going forward, we will no longer be fielding Brave Ads Payout support requests on r/BATProject. All support for Brave Ads Rewards payouts will happen on the Brave Community support forum. 

If you want to track the current month’s payout status, or if you encounter issues with your payout and want to request support, you can do so in the designated support thread on Brave Community. 

Thank you for your understanding.

Click here to view the Brave Ads Rewards payout support thread for September 2020: https://community.brave.com/t/september-brave-ads-payout-status/159073 


This Week in Sponsored Images

This week, find images from Upland, AAX, Crypto.com, Bitpay, Gala Games, and BlockFi in Brave’s New Tab Page. 

Our growing list of New Tab Page sponsors includes Verizon, PayPal, Intel, Newegg, Western Digital, The Home Depot, Chipotle, Khan Academy, Koodo Mobile, and more. 

To learn more about becoming a Brave New Tab Page sponsor visit https://brave.com/brave-ads/.


Brave Creator Spotlight (in partnership with Everipedia

Crypto Wendy O

Before her foray into the blockchain space, Crypto Wendy was a professional in the healthcare industry. Today, she is the host of “The O Show” a daily YouTube segment that offers crypto & bitcoin content for beginners.

YouTube channel description:

Hi everyone and welcome to my channel! Here you will find a wide variety of Crypto interviews, project reviews, discussion pieces, technical analysis and market updates! Some of my content is sponsored and some is not – I also want to remind you all that Im not a financial advisor and all of the content posted is not financial advice, just my opinion – please always do your own research.

Check Wendy’s channel out & subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/c/CryptoWendyO

Read about Crypto Wendy on Everipedia: https://everipedia.org/wiki/lang_en/wendy-o 

Naomi Brockwell

Naomi Brockwell worked as a policy associate at the New York Bitcoin Center from 2013 – 2015. Since 2015 she has been a producer for 19-time Emmy-Award-Winning Journalist John Stossel. She is a regular of US national TV discussing blockchain technology & current events, and emcees some of the biggest blockchain conferences.

Naomi was a producer for the 2015 feature documentary “Bitcoin: The End of Money as We Know It” (Best International Documentary, Anthem Film Festival; Winner of Special Jury Prize, Amsterdam Film Festival), and the 2018 award-winning documentary about the housing crash titled, “The Bubble”.

Check out Naomi’s YouTube channel & subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/c/NaomiBrockwellTV

Read about Naomi on Everipedia: https://everipedia.org/wiki/lang_en/naomi-brockwell 


Client Updates

Desktop Nightly Channel v1.15.43

https://github.com/brave/brave-browser/releases/tag/v1.15.43

Desktop Dev Channel v1.14.79

https://github.com/brave/brave-browser/releases/tag/v1.14.79

Desktop Beta Channel v1.14.78

https://github.com/brave/brave-browser/releases/tag/v1.14.78

Stay ahead of bugs and benefit from all the latest updates & fixes by keeping your Brave browser updated to the latest version! 

To update your Brave browser on desktop, go to brave://help;

On mobile, if you don’t receive updates automatically, you can manually update your Brave browser app from the Play or iOS app stores.


Brave Team Tweets

Peter Snyder, Senior Privacy Researcher
Jonathan Sampson, Senior Developer Relations
Jonathan Sampson, Senior Developer Relations
Jonathan Sampson, Senior Developer Relations
Dan Murphy, Ad Operations

BAT/Brave in the News

Digital Information World: Google Is Working On A New Web Standard Called WebBundles Which Is Dangerous To The Privacy Of Internet Users, Security Researchers Warned

Google is proposing a new web standard that allows sites to ‘bundle’ an entire webpage into a single file, and it could made it impossible for web browsers to process sub-resources by Uniform Resource Locator (URL). Called the WebBundles, it is dangerous to transparency as well as the privacy of internet users. According to Google, the new technology offers a lot of unique features as well as benefits including that it enables executable JavaScript. However, not everyone agrees with the company’s assessment and description of the new technology.

Read the full text here: https://www.digitalinformationworld.com/2020/09/google-test-webbundles-can-be-dangerous-for-internet-users-privacy-researchers-warned.html# 


News You Should Know

Hashoshi: Ethereum 2.0 and the DeFi Bull Run w/ Boxmining (video interview)

Hashoshi and Boxmining sat down to talk about Ethereum 2.0, the latest bull run sparked by DeFi projects, and much more! The Ethereum 2.0 Vitalik Buterin has envisioned is taking longer than anticipated, but DeFi is exploding, will this result in a bull run for the ages?

Tune in here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJJrYYcIAQw

Bankless Podcast: Aave to Billions | Stani Kulechov

Stani Kulechov is the Founder of the Aave money market, a place for lending and borrowing assets in DeFi.

Aave has marched up the DeFi leaderboard to become one of the top protocols with the most amount of value deposited into its contracts. Aave’s token LEND has increased 3300% since its bear market low.

What contributed to Aave’s success? What did Aave do differently? Why did Aave’s community thrive when others died? What’s next for Aave and Aavenomics?

We ask Stani these questions and many more, in order to get a glimpse of what is successful in this DeFi frontier!

Listen here: https://bankless.substack.com/p/-aave-to-billions-stani-kulechov 

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