Your tool for browsing the Internet is your web browser. The last two decades saw the rise of Chrome and Safari, while others like Microsoft Edge and Firefox have remained popular. The Brave Browser is a recent addition to the group and its developers are building it with a privacy-first approach. In simple terms, the team behind Brave purposely built their browser to be different.
What is the Brave Browser?
Brave is a web browser based on the open-source chromium software project, the same software on which Google built Chrome. This means that Brave is compatible with chrome extensions and apps. Beyond that, Brave begins to diverge from Chrome in several ways.
The developers set out to design Brave differently. First and foremost, Brave is a privacy-focused browser that puts security first. It automatically blocks ads and trackers, thus preventing site owners from gathering your data and selling it to advertisers.
Blocking ads and trackers naturally makes the web browsing experience faster. Most users notice a discernible speed improvement right away. Brave includes private browsing similar to Chrome and Firefox, but it also offers browsing through the Tor (The Onion Router) network. Using Tor further increases your privacy by preserving your anonymity while you browse online.
How to Install and Configure Brave?
The latest version of Brave is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, and Android. The Windows, Mac, and smartphone versions are the easiest to install. Download Windows and Mac versions directly from the Brave website; the iPhone and Android versions are available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
Linux users have a bit more work to do. Rather than direct download and installation, they must use command-line functions. Brave publishes these on its website. Users just copy each command and paste it into the terminal.
All users will need to configure the browser on first start regardless of operating system. It's not hard, and Brave presents you with a series of screens with various options to choose from. There are no worries about making the wrong choice either as you can always go into the browser's settings later to make changes.
Why You Should Use Brave
The key reason for using Brave is found in the nature of the Internet itself. What started as a public repository for information has become a giant, interconnected network filled with people intent on buying and selling your data. This is the reason Brave is so important and so necessary.
You should use Brave if you are tired of websites tracking you around the internet. You should use it if you are tired of website owners collecting your data and selling it to the highest bidder. You should definitely use Brave if you are concerned that bad actors might be using your browser data to facilitate nefarious activity.
In Tor browsing mode, Brave provides the privacy and security of a VPN without the service fee. Just know that Tor browsing can be a bit slower compared to standard browsing, depending on traffic volumes and download requirements.
While there are more private ways to browse the web, Brave is a good option for the average person using the Internet.
Brave vs Google Chrome vs Firefox
Every browser on the market has its fan boys ready and willing to proclaim their preferred product king of the hill. Individual reviews and user opinions are not necessarily scientific, so there is no point in basing your browser decision on what everyone else thinks. We are more interested in hard data, which is why we turned to Venture Beat and their January 2020 benchmark tests.
Venture Beat ran eight different benchmark tests to compare Brave, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, and Google Chrome:
- Basemark – Brave won
- JetStream – Edge won
- Kraken – Firefox won
- MotionMark – Edge won
- Octane – Chrome won
- Speedometer – Edge won
- SunSpider – Edge won
- WebXPRT – Firefox won.
As you can see, no single browser dominates the pack. They all have their strong and weak points depending on the benchmark test used. So for us, the ultimate decision to recommend Brave still goes back to privacy and security. None of the other browsers offer the same level of privacy and security as Brave does. And because Brave blocks all ads and trackers by default, it beats the other browsers in terms of raw speed.
How to Set up Rewards in Brave
Another point that makes Brave interesting is that it allows users to earn cryptocurrency tokens as they browse. You can earn the Brave Attention Token (“BAT”) by opt-in to Brave Ads, which sends between 1 to 5 notifications per hour with ads by various advertisers. BAT is an ERC-20 token. You can then either cash out your BATs into an Uphold wallet or use your BAT rewards to tip websites, youtubers, twitter profiles, etc. you want to support. The point is to make up for the fact that Brave blocks ads, thus denying revenue to website owners and other creators.
You can set up rewards during the initial configuration. To do so after the fact, just click on the main hamburger menu and then Brave Rewards. Alternatively, click on the multicoloured triangle at the top of the browser window followed by Rewards Settings.
What Can You Do with Your BAT Rewards?
As previously stated, Brave BAT tokens allow you to anonymously contribute to participating websites you choose to support. Doing so is pretty easy. You can make one-off contributions by using the 'Tip' feature found in the Rewards Panel. You can also use the browser settings to establish regular, automatic contributions on a monthly basis. Everything you need to configure your contributions can be found in the Settings. If you need help, Brave offers a comprehensive guide in the FAQ section of their website.
If you just want to use your BAT and send them to your Ethereum wallet, you must first create a wallet with Uphold (which will KYC-you) to be able to withdraw your BAT.