Crypto-friendly Brave beats Chrome
Alt coins,  Technology

Crypto-friendly Brave is the top-rated browser on Google Play… beating out Chrome

Brave has a rating of 4.8 on the app store, far more than Chrome’s 4.1 stars—but the privacy browser still has a far smaller market share

Crypto-friendly Brave is now the top-rated browser on the Google Play Store, according to the company’s head of marketing Des Martin.

The revelation could prove embarrassing for Google, as its own Chrome browser trails behind in terms of feedback from users.

Figures from Google Play show that Brave has an aggregate rating of 4.8 stars after receiving more than 238,000 reviews.

The browser bills itself as a tool that blocks data-grabbing ads and trackers—meaning pages load faster, and battery life is preserved. Instead, it is built around a blockchain-based digital advertising platform called Brave Rewards, which rewards users with the Basic Attention Token (BAT) cryptocurrency whenever they opt in to see advertisements. The company says that it shares 70% of revenues with participants in this program. 

According to CoinMarketCap, BAT is one of the top 50 cryptocurrencies worldwide with a market cap of $330 million. The browser’s blockchain-friendly approach has also made it a popular destination for ad campaigns from crypto exchanges.

Embarrassing for Google?

Brave’s rave reviews could be a little embarrassing for Google. On its own app store, its Chrome browser ranks far less favorably, with a rating of just 4.1 stars. That’s despite the fact that it’s the world’s most popular browser, with market share of 65%.

Firefox (which has a market share of just 4%) has a rating of 3.9 at the time of writing, while Microsoft Edge (2.6% market share) has a rating of 4.5.

Sharing the figures with his followers, Martin wrote: “Time to make the switch!”

Despite the enthusiasm for the Brave browser among Google Play reviewers, this doesn’t seem to be translating into widespread use. According to StatCounter, its share of the market isn’t big enough to mention by name… even though Internet Explorer’s is.

According to Brave, monthly active users have now surpassed 19 million. Although those levels of growth are impressive, it pales in comparison to the billions who use Google Chrome. (Last June, the company confirmed that Chrome for Android had notched up five billion installs.)

Does Brave ad up?

Last month, Brave revealed that the average click-through rate for the BAT-earning ad campaigns run through its browser stands at 9%—“well above the industry average of just 2%.”

At the time, the company said more than 2,000 campaigns had been launched—including from mainstream brands such as Amazon, Verizon, Logitech, and Lenovo.

It seems like opt-in ads do shape up to be a win-win for users and advertisers alike, particularly with cryptocurrency rewards adding an enticement. The question now is whether this success will scale upwards to a bigger user base.

A Brave confrontation

Despite being in a David and Goliath battle, Brave has taken it upon itself to hold Google to a higher standard. Back in March, the company filed a formal complaint against the tech giant in the European Union—and accused it of infringing GDPR data privacy regulations.

Writing to European competition regulators, Brave accused Google of engaging in an “internal data free-for all” that means personal information is used across its entire business, rather than for a specific purpose.

But as reported by Modern Consensus, Brave has encountered its fair share of controversies, too. In June, it emerged that the company had been automatically adding affiliate links to crypto websites regularly visited by its users—and pocketing profits as a result.

When asked by Modern Consensus whether the incident damaged Brave’s credibility given its fierce criticism of other browsers, CEO Brendan Eich had said: “We do not see this as anything akin to what we criticize Google for.”

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Connor Sephton is a journalist with an interest in cryptocurrencies, personal finance, and financial inclusion—as well as the challenges the crypto industry faces in achieving mainstream adoption. He owns cryptocurrencies.