In November last year Brave launched its version one browser, promising a safe, fast and private alternative to market leader Google. One year in, Brave says it now has over 20 million monthly active users and 7 million daily active users.

Developed by Brendan Eich, co-founder of Mozilla and Firefox and the creator of Javascript, Brave offers a genuine alternative to the current system of online tracking and digital advertising. Brave users can opt in or out of ads, with those opting in rewarded with “attention tokens” they can then distribute to publishers and creators.

Brave says their version of browsing cuts out many of the infamously opaque adtech middlemen between consumers and publishers while giving the former a more active role in the relationship.

Cutting the surveillance capitalism out of a browser means it can run more quickly and is an obvious privacy improvement, according to Brave, which claims its offering operates three to six times faster than the competition.

Source: Brave

Private alternatives

Fellow privacy focused web tool, DucDuckGo, a search engine that does not track users in any way, has also managed to increase its user base in the last year. According to the company, its global daily average search traffic increased by around 61 per cent between June 2019 and June 2020, growing from 39.1 million searches to 62.9 million searches.

The privacy focused search engine’s growth was noted by Australia’s consumer regulator, in its first update to a landmark digital platforms inquiry last month.

Brave CEO and co-founder Brendan Eich says users have had enough of pervasive tracking online.

“Users are fed up with surveillance capitalism, and 20 million people have switched to Brave for an entirely new Web ecosystem with an opt-in ad economy that puts them back in control of their browsing experience,” said Eich.

“The global privacy movement is gaining traction, and this milestone is just one more step in our journey to make privacy-by-default a standard for all Web users.”

A major survey by Australia’s privacy regulator this year found consumers are increasingly uncomfortable with many of the common data collection practices of platforms, online businesses and digital marketers.

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