In brief

  • Brave has linked up with the TAP Network.
  • This means Brave users can now redeem the tokens they earn from watching ads for gift cards for anything from Starbucks to HBO subscriptions.
  • Brave says it now has 12 million users and over 350,000 publishing partners.

If you use the Brave internet browser, you’ll now be able to buy a Starbucks coffee, ride in an Uber, or pay for HBO and Hulu subscriptions with the reward you reap from viewing ads.

Brave Software, the company behind the privacy-focused, Google Chrome fork Brave, announced on Tuesday a partnership with the TAP Network, which will allow users to redeem Basic Attention Token (BAT) rewards from over 250,000 major brands in the US. 

The browser, which uses a “blockchain-based advertising model,” gives users 70 percent of revenue share through its BAT, according to Brave. Now users who earn BAT can redeem those tokens through the TAP Network for gift cards at various retailers—but only if those users have verified their wallets with crypto exchange Uphold.

“This partnership with TAP Network supports our mission of connecting consumers and brands in a respectful, mutually beneficial way, and contributes to the growth of our overall ecosystem by expanding the utility of BAT,” Brendan Eich, co-founder and CEO of Brave Software, said in a press release.

According to Eich, this all lines up with Brave’s privacy-centric mission. All users need to do to start buying gift cards with BAT is connect their Uphold accounts to the TAP Network. Some Brave users may not find that so easy though, given the complaints BAT holders have levied against Uphold’s “insane [KYC] verification process.”

In an interview with Decrypt, Brave Chief Product Officer David Temkin said this is something Brave is looking to improve upon. "Brave users do not need to verify (KYC) in order to earn BAT and contribute it to content creators. For those who choose to verify, the digital KYC process can be a pain point, but it is significantly more convenient than walking to a bank," he said.

"Regarding content creators, we are obligated to ask them to KYC for regulatory reasons. We are working with Uphold to improve the process for KYC and other functionality," said Temkin.

While Brave said it had rolled out the real-world rewards functionality for desktop users, with a general release expected within 8 weeks, it isn’t clear whether it will enable this function through other exchanges any time soon.

"We’re currently building a broader set of options for Brave Rewards users who want to redeem the BAT they’ve earned for content, products, or services," Temkin said. "We’ll be sharing more about this capability over the next few months, but it will extend the BAT redemption options to other providers, and will also make it possible for Brave users to redeem earned BAT without a verification process."

The company, whose browser now boasts 12 million monthly active users (according to its own figures), initially announced its intention to “go the full distance towards ecommerce” last year. As of December, the company said it had partnered with 350,000 publishers to integrate BAT rewards, which users can use to tip publishers.

Editor's note: This article was updated after publication to include comments from Brave Chief Product Officer David Temkin.