Tim Wu, Attention Brokers

Attention is a commodity, like wheat, pork bellies, or crude oil. Existing industries have long depended on it to drive sales. And the new industries of the twentieth century turned it into a form of currency they could mint. Beginning with radio, each new medium would attain its commercial viability through the resale of what attention it could capture in exchange for its ’free’ content.”


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The Ad-Tech Fiasco

The ad-tech ecosystem is a bewildering variety of middlemen & complexity (agencies, trading desks, demand-side platforms, network exchanges, yield optimization, rich media vendors etc):

  • Users suffer from digital pollution: they have lost their privacy and have a bad user experience. 600M devices now use ad blocking, and it will increase to 1.7B by 2017. 
  • Publishers have lost billions in revenue while fraud has skyrocketed. The content that works best is clickbaity. 
  • Advertisers face poor reporting and targeting. Facebook & Google are not their friends. 
Basic Attention Token (BAT)

It is a token for the decentralized ad exchange. BAT connects advertisers, publishers, and users, creating a new, efficient marketplace. 

The token is based on Ethereum technology, an open-source, blockchain-based distributed computing platform with smart contracts. The token is derived from – or denominated by – user attention. User attention is anonymously monitored in the Brave browser and publishers are rewarded accordingly with BATs. Users also get a share of BATs for participating.

Tracking attention in the browser

User attention is anonymously monitored in the Brave browser, a fast open source, privacy-focused browser that blocks invasive ads and trackers, and contains a ledger system that anonymously measures user attention aggregate to accurately reward publishers. 

Brave cuts out all third-party trackers and middle-players, while providing publishers with a substantially larger revenue share than they are receiving in existing marketplaces. Brave thus aims to reset the online ad-based Web ecosystem, giving advertisers, publishers and customers a win-win solution whose components and protocols can become future Web standards.

The economy of attention

The high-level concept is of monetizing attention is:

The advertiser sends a payment in token along with ads to users in a locked state Xa. 

As the users view the ads, the flow of payments unlocks: 

  • ... keeping part of the payment for their own wallet (Xu) 
  • passing on shares of the payment to Brave (Xb) and 
  • passing the remainder on to the Publisher (Xa-Xu-Xb).

The token collected can be used to pay for premium access or to change it for ETH.

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What the heck is an NFT?

Non-fungible token.

That doesn’t make it any clearer.

“Non-fungible” more or less means that it’s unique and can’t be replaced with something else. For example, a bitcoin is fungible — trade one for another bitcoin, and you’ll have exactly the same thing. A NFT is like:

You gave up a Squirtle, and got a 1909 T206 Honus Wagner, which StadiumTalk calls “the Mona Lisa of baseball cards.

NFTs, explained: what they are, and why they’re suddenly worth millions - The Verge



A 2018 study noted there are an estimated 73 million podcast listeners in the USA. By 2022, the number is estimated to grow to 132 million.

Podcasting can be traced back to Dave Winer and Adam Curry in 2000 when they discussed the distribution of automated media.

Everything You Need to Know About the History of Podcasts


The Proof of work concept existed even before bitcoin , but Satoshi Nakamoto applied this technique to the digital currency revolutionizing the way traditional transactions are set.

In fact, PoW idea was originally published by Cynthia Dwork and Moni Naor back in 1993, but the term “proof of work” was coined by Markus Jakobsson and Ari Juels in a document published in 1999.

But, returning to date, Proof of work is maybe the biggest idea behind the Nakamoto’s bitcoin white paper – published back in 2008 – because it allows trustless and distributed consensus.

Proof of Work vs Proof of Stake: Basic Mining Guide


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