In The News: Brave Browser Engulfed in Scandal

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(Original article from cryptoslate.com)

Promising to be a better alternative to Google’s Chrome browser, the Brave browser is a relatively new player in the web browser wars – built using the same webkit browser engine.

Brave broke into the market and is competing for mainstream acceptance by promising better privacy, intrusive advertisement blocking by default, and other niche attractors such as the possibility of getting paid in tokens or other digital currency for watching specific advertisements delivered through the browser. It had also received celebrity attention, after Joe Rogan mentioned on his podcast that he uses the Brave browser.

In the last few days however, some bad omens have cropped up and storm clouds have formed over this currently little-known alternative to Chrome:

[Brave has now become] shrouded in scandal as some users accuse them of secretly redirecting users to their referral links when navigating to platforms like Binance, Coinbase, and others.


While the CEO of Brave has apologized for the issue, the situation is especially sensitive in the computing and technology sector as news travels fast and reputation and consumer trust are paramount in ensuring the long-term success of the entire industry.

Even perceived scandals can be dangerous as they can erode user trust – as with any industry – analogous to how rampant olive oil fraud in the food sector drives consumers away from the product to alternatives such as butter.


Brendan Eich, the CEO of Brave, confirmed on Twitter that the browser did automatically fill in referral links without explicitly being commanded to do so by the user.

As many users and commentators noted, this is especially troublesome given that Brave is marketed as a robust yet lightweight privacy-conscious solution to Google Chrome.


There are a few issues at play here, for example:

What can users reasonably expect regarding the behaviour of their browsers and other software? Is there a problem with the revenue model for Brave that necessitated a move like this?

And, finally, is it reasonable to assume that these and similar moves in software and technology can alienate users and create a more divided technical landscape?


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