Chances are you’re reading this on Google Chrome, statistically speaking. But maybe you shouldn’t.
Wikipedia cofounder Larry Sanger certainly thinks so. In his latest blog post he expresses distaste for the current swathe of web browsers, including Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Instead, he advocates Brave browser.
So what does he think gives Brave browser the edge?
Sanger believes it’s mainly about the failings of its rivals. The problem with Chrome, he writes, is that it collects huge amounts of personal information from its users. In addition, Google stores profile information on its users—similar to the data hauls of Facebook and Twitter. Sanger added that Google search also extracts a lot of other information, and recommends that people stop using it—and Gmail too.
Brave is a newish browser, launched in January, 2016, that puts much greater emphasis on privacy and the use of blockchain technology. It collects personal information but claims that this stays on the users’ computer and, apart from aggregated, anonymized data, doesn’t get sent to the Brave company. The browser also blocks web trackers which follow users across the internet, such as the Facebook pixel.
Brave is blockchain-based; it has its own native cryptocurrency, called BAT, with which users can reward their prefered websites for good work. In the future, Brave plans to let users choose whether to enable ads and receive BAT tokens for watching them. This means that they can not only control how their data is being used, but can monetize it too.
Sanger is no stranger to the blockchain world. He is also the chief information officer at Everipedia, a “fork” of Wikipedia that runs on the EOS blockchain. It is designed to make information accessible to countries that don’t have access to Wikipedia, has its own cryptocurrency IQ and was launched in August, 2018.
But what about those who aren’t ready for a blockchain-based browser, are there any other alternatives? Sanger provides a critique of Firefox—which has been making strides in the blockchain industry—but says that he doesn’t trust it. This is in part due to the fact that Firefox cofounder Brendan Eich—who is now the CEO at Brave—was allegedly forced out, although this is disputed. Sanger does admit that Firefox is still his fallback browser.
Recently, speaking at Token2049 in Hong Kong, Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin praised the Brave browser—which integrates with Ethereum apps—for bringing more people into the Ethereum ecosystem. Will that include Sanger too?