The Brave Browser Experience: Enhancing Privacy in the Digital Age – with Luke Mulks

Embark on a journey into the heart of digital privacy with Luke Mulks from Brave in our latest podcast episode, where we discuss the seismic shifts occurring in the intersection of privacy, digital advertising, and the nascent Web3. 

Luke brings his unparalleled expertise to the table, offering a deep dive into how Brave is challenging the status quo with its user-centric model. As we unpack the essence of user empowerment, we reveal how Brave's approach to digital advertising is not just about protecting user data, but also about fundamentally transforming the way content creators and consumers interact in the digital realm.

Dive into the transformative world of cryptocurrency as Luke and I explore the Basic Attention Token (BAT) and its role in redefining the economics of online attention. This episode strips back the layers of complexity surrounding crypto and user-focused revenue sharing, providing you with a clear understanding of how BAT is creating a fairer ecosystem that values user engagement. The conversation also covers the practicalities of crypto adoption, emphasizing the need for seamless experiences that bridge the gap between users, advertisers, and content creators. Discover how Brave is extending its reach to empower internet users of all backgrounds, fueling the expansion of a thriving creator economy.

In our final segments, we tackle the challenges of educating the masses about Web3 and privacy, and the pressing need for platforms to be intuitive to foster growth and compete with tech giants. By taking a page from Brave's playbook, we discuss how the company is successfully onboarding advertisers while keeping the platform open-source and receptive to community feedback. We also contemplate the future of web browsers in light of new policies from tech behemoths like Google, contrasting their approaches with Brave's steadfast commitment to user privacy. Tune in to this enlightening episode to grasp the full impact of these dynamic shifts in technology and learn why the revolution in browser markets might just be the most exciting change to watch.


Ready to upgrade your Web3 marketing strategy? Don’t miss Consensus 2024  on May 29-31 in Austin, Texas. It is the largest and longest-running event on crypto, blockchain and Web3. Use code CMOSTORIES to get 15% off your pass at

Revolutionizing Privacy and Advertising with Brave

Imagine a world where your online privacy is not just a promise, but a reality. That's the world Brave is building.

In the digital age, your personal information is constantly at risk. Brave, a pioneering web browser, is leading the charge to change that by putting you first. It blocks unwanted ads and trackers by default, pays you for viewing ads, and keeps your data secure on your device. This approach is reshaping how we think about online advertising and privacy, making the internet a safer place for everyone.

The impact of this shift is huge. It's not just about browsing without annoying ads; it's about creating a new standard for privacy and respect online.

Curious about how Brave does it and what it means for the future of the web? Keep reading, and all your questions will be answered in detail.

Web3 and User Privacy

The Current State of Web3 and Its Impact on Digital Advertising and User Privacy

Brave's Approach to Privacy-Focused Advertising

The Concept of User-First Models in Software and Business

Brave has always championed a user-first approach, both in the development of its software and its overarching business philosophy. This means prioritizing the interests and privacy of the user above all else. In practical terms, this approach ensures that the software developed by Brave actively protects user privacy, preventing any user information from leaving the device without explicit consent. This principle is not just a part of Brave's software development ethos but extends into its business model as well, ensuring that every decision made is in the best interest of the user.

The Growth and Success of Brave in Prioritizing User Privacy

The success of Brave's user-first approach is evident in its remarkable growth over the years. From a modest beginning with only a few thousand users in 2016, Brave has seen its user base swell to 67 million monthly active users and about 25 million daily active users. This exponential growth is a testament to the demand for privacy-focused software. Users are increasingly seeking solutions that respect their privacy and security online, debunking the myth of the privacy paradox which suggests that the digital generation is indifferent to privacy concerns. In reality, users do care deeply about their privacy, as evidenced by the widespread adoption of Brave, a browser that acts as a guardian of user privacy in the digital world.

The Role of Zero-Knowledge Proofs in Solving Accounting Problems in Advertising

One of the innovative solutions Brave has introduced to the world of digital advertising is the use of zero-knowledge proofs. This technology plays a pivotal role in addressing the accounting challenges inherent in traditional advertising models. By leveraging zero-knowledge proofs, Brave can validate and verify transactions and interactions without compromising user privacy. This approach allows for a more transparent and secure method of handling data, ensuring that advertisers can reach their target audience without infringing on their privacy. It's a groundbreaking solution that addresses the core issue of trust and privacy in digital advertising.

The Transformation of Traditional Advertising Models Through Brave's Approach

Brave's innovative approach has significantly transformed the traditional advertising model. By blocking third-party ads and trackers by default, Brave ensures that users' data remains private and secure. Furthermore, Brave has developed new business models that utilize the data stored locally on the user's browser to match ads without leaking any information to third parties. This model is akin to having a highly intelligent ad server directly on the user's device, capable of delivering relevant ads without compromising privacy. This shift towards a more privacy-centric model not only enhances user experience but also challenges the status quo of the advertising industry, pushing it towards a future where user privacy is paramount.

The Basic Attention Token (BAT) and its Role in Digital Advertising

The Concept of BAT and its Creation to Solve Advertising Problems

The inception of the Basic Attention Token (BAT) was driven by a need to address the inherent issues plaguering the digital advertising industry, such as lack of transparency, privacy concerns, and inefficient revenue distribution. Co-authored by Luke Mulks among others, the BAT white paper proposed a novel solution leveraging blockchain technology to create a more equitable and efficient ecosystem for digital advertising. BAT was designed to operate on the Ethereum blockchain, offering a decentralized, transparent, and user-centric approach to digital advertising. This innovative concept aimed to redefine the value exchange between users, advertisers, and content creators by directly rewarding users for their attention while ensuring their privacy.

The Role of BAT in Creating a More Equitable and Efficient Digital Advertising Ecosystem

BAT plays a pivotal role in facilitating a fair and efficient digital advertising ecosystem. By utilizing blockchain technology, BAT ensures transparency and security in transactions, allowing for a trustworthy environment where users' privacy is respected. Advertisers benefit from a more targeted and effective advertising model, while users gain control over their data and are rewarded for their attention. This creates a balanced ecosystem where all parties can benefit equitably. The introduction of BAT has also encouraged innovation in the advertising space, prompting advertisers to adopt more user-friendly and privacy-respecting practices.

The Use of BAT to Give Users a Revenue Share for Their Attention

A groundbreaking aspect of BAT is its ability to provide users with a revenue share for their attention. This model acknowledges the value of users' attention and compensates them for engaging with advertising content. Users can earn BAT tokens by viewing privacy-respecting ads through the Brave browser, effectively participating in the advertising revenue stream. This not only empowers users by valuating their attention but also fosters a more engaging and respectful advertising experience. The revenue share model encourages users to actively participate in the ecosystem, creating a virtuous cycle that benefits all stakeholders.

The Benefits of BAT for Both Users and Content Creators

The introduction of BAT has brought significant benefits to both users and content creators. For users, BAT represents a novel way to earn from their online activities without compromising their privacy. It provides an incentive to engage with content and advertisements, knowing that their attention is being fairly compensated. Content creators, on the other hand, benefit from a new revenue stream that rewards them directly for the value they provide to their audience. This direct compensation model bypasses traditional advertising middlemen, ensuring that more of the advertising revenue reaches the creators. Additionally, BAT fosters a healthier digital content ecosystem by encouraging quality content creation and consumption, benefiting the entire web community.

Ensuring a Seamless User Experience while Maintaining Privacy

The Challenge of Creating a User-Friendly Experience in a Complex Area Like Privacy

Navigating the intricate domain of privacy while striving to offer a user-friendly experience presents a formidable challenge. This complexity is compounded by the need to cater to diverse stakeholders, including users, content creators, and advertisers, each with their unique requirements and expectations. The task at hand is not merely about implementing robust privacy measures but also about ensuring that these measures do not impede the user experience. Achieving this balance requires innovative solutions that simplify the user interface without compromising on privacy protections. It's a delicate dance between safeguarding user data and providing an intuitive, engaging platform that users can easily interact with.

The Strategies Used to Make the Onboarding Process Simple for Users

To address the challenge of simplifying the onboarding process, a multi-faceted approach was adopted. The goal was to make it as straightforward as possible for users to engage with the platform, starting from the very first interaction. This involved minimizing the number of steps required to get started, thereby reducing friction and making the process more inviting. By streamlining the onboarding, users could quickly begin to enjoy the benefits of the platform without getting bogged down by complex procedures. This ease of access is critical in attracting and retaining users, especially those who may be less tech-savvy or new to the concepts of privacy-focused browsing and digital advertising.

The Evolution of the Model to Include Content Creators from Various Platforms

Recognizing the importance of content creators in the digital ecosystem, the model evolved to inclusively support creators across various platforms. This expansion meant that not only traditional publishers but also individual creators on platforms like YouTube, Reddit, Twitter, and GitHub could benefit from the system. By broadening the scope to encompass a wider range of content creators, the platform became more versatile and appealing. This inclusivity helped to democratize the revenue-sharing model, allowing more creators to monetize their content directly through user contributions. The implementation of OAuth sign-in options simplified the process for creators, making it easier for them to join and benefit from the ecosystem without unnecessary hurdles.

The Approach to Making the System Easy for Advertisers to Input into the System

For advertisers, the focus was on creating a seamless entry point into the system that was both efficient and effective. Understanding that advertisers are primarily concerned with reaching their target audience in a meaningful way, the platform needed to offer a straightforward mechanism for campaign creation and management. This involved developing a user-friendly interface that allowed advertisers to easily input their campaigns, set parameters, and monitor performance. By simplifying the advertiser experience, the platform ensured that businesses could effortlessly participate in the new advertising ecosystem, benefiting from the privacy-respecting, user-centric model. This approach not only attracted advertisers but also contributed to the overall health of the ecosystem by facilitating a more equitable and efficient digital advertising environment.

The Importance of User Feedback and Community Engagement

The Role of User Feedback in Improving and Refining the Platform

User feedback stands as a cornerstone in the continuous process of improving and refining the platform. It's through the lens of the user's experience that developers and designers can truly understand the impact of their work. This feedback loop enables the identification of not only bugs and issues but also opportunities for enhancements that may not have been initially apparent. By actively soliciting and valuating user feedback, the platform can evolve in a direction that more closely aligns with the needs and expectations of its user base. This iterative process of refinement is essential in maintaining relevance and ensuring that the platform remains a preferred choice for users.

The Importance of Community Engagement in Driving Growth and Adoption

Community engagement transcends the traditional boundaries of customer service, fostering a sense of belonging and investment among users. Engaging with the community, whether through social media platforms, forums, or direct interactions, helps to build a loyal user base that feels heard and valued. This engagement not only aids in the immediate improvement of the platform but also serves as a powerful tool for driving growth and adoption. A vibrant, active community can act as ambassadors for the platform, spreading the word and encouraging others to join. This organic growth is invaluable, as it is driven by genuine enthusiasm and trust in the platform.

The Value of Early Users in Spreading the Word and Attracting New Users

Early users of the platform play a pivotal role in its growth trajectory. Their initial trust and willingness to engage with a new, potentially unknown platform can set the stage for widespread adoption. These early adopters are often the most vocal and enthusiastic supporters, sharing their positive experiences with friends, family, and their broader networks. This word-of-mouth marketing is incredibly effective, as it comes from a place of genuine endorsement and personal experience. Moreover, early users can provide critical feedback that helps to shape the platform in its formative stages, making it more appealing to subsequent users. Their insights and suggestions can lead to significant improvements that make the platform more user-friendly and feature-rich.

The Need for Startups to Listen to Their Users and Learn from Their Feedback

For startups, in particular, listening to users and learning from their feedback is not just beneficial—it's essential for survival. In the competitive tech ecosystem, where users have myriad options at their fingertips, failing to meet user expectations can lead to rapid decline. Startups must be agile, responsive, and open to change, qualities that are fostered by a strong commitment to user feedback. This feedback provides invaluable insights into what users truly want and need, allowing startups to pivot, adapt, and innovate in ways that resonate with their target audience. Moreover, by demonstrating a willingness to listen and make changes based on user feedback, startups can build trust and loyalty, which are critical components of long-term success.

Luke Mulks, Brave Software, on the Web3 CMO Stories podcast

Luke Mulks, Brave Software, on the Web3 CMO Stories podcast

The Future of Web3 and Brave

The Exciting Developments in the Browser Market and Their Implications for Brave

The browser market is currently witnessing some groundbreaking developments that have significant implications for Brave and its user base. Notably, Google's announcement to deprecate third-party cookies marks a pivotal shift towards enhancing user privacy. This move, coupled with the introduction of Manifest V3, which aims to limit the capabilities of ad blockers, presents both challenges and opportunities for Brave. These changes underscore the importance of Brave's mission to provide a privacy-centric browsing experience. By integrating ad-blocking as a core feature rather than an extension, Brave stands out as a more effective solution for users seeking control over their online experience. Furthermore, these market shifts highlight the growing demand for privacy-focused alternatives, positioning Brave as a frontrunner in the race to redefine web browsing.

The Potential of Web3 to Bring About a Major Upgrade in Transparency and Accountability

Web3 is poised to revolutionize the digital world by introducing unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability. This new era of the internet, powered by blockchain technology, offers a transparent ledger where transactions and interactions are recorded, visible, and immutable. This level of transparency could have profound implications for various sectors, including finance, where it could potentially prevent or mitigate crises by ensuring that all transactions are traceable and accountable. For Brave, leveraging Web3 technologies means not only enhancing user privacy but also contributing to a more transparent and accountable digital ecosystem. The potential of Web3 to upgrade our digital infrastructure is immense, promising a future where users have greater control and insight into their online interactions.

The Empowerment of Users Through Web3 and the Potential for Peer-to-Peer Solutions

At the heart of Web3 lies the empowerment of users. By enabling direct, peer-to-peer interactions, Web3 technologies eliminate the need for intermediaries, giving users unprecedented control over their online experiences. This empowerment extends beyond financial transactions to include content creation, sharing, and consumption. Brave's integration of Web3 features, such as a self-custody multichain wallet, exemplifies this shift towards user empowerment. By providing tools that facilitate direct interactions and transactions, Brave empowers its users to take control of their online privacy, security, and financial transactions. This move towards peer-to-peer solutions reflects a broader trend in the digital world, where users are increasingly seeking platforms that respect their autonomy and privacy.

The Future Plans for Brave and Its Commitment to User Privacy and Control

Looking ahead, Brave's commitment to user privacy and control remains at the forefront of its development roadmap. With the continuous evolution of Web3 technologies, Brave is well-positioned to lead the charge in redefining the browsing experience. Future plans include further enhancements to the Brave browser and its suite of privacy tools, ensuring that users enjoy a seamless, secure, and private online experience. Additionally, Brave's ongoing efforts to educate and engage with its user community about the benefits of Web3 and privacy-centric browsing underscore its dedication to not just being a browser, but a platform that empowers users. As Brave continues to innovate and adapt to the changing digital landscapes, its focus on user privacy, control, and empowerment will undoubtedly shape the future of web browsing.

The Role of Education in Promoting Web3 and Brave

The Need for Education to Help Users Understand Complex Concepts

In the rapidly evolving world of Web3 and privacy-focused browsing, education plays a pivotal role in bridging the gap between complex technological concepts and the average user's understanding. The transition from traditional web platforms to Web3 introduces a plethora of new ideas, from blockchain technology to cryptocurrency transactions, which can be overwhelming for many. To ensure that users not only adopt but also effectively utilize these innovations, it's essential to demystify these concepts through targeted educational efforts. By breaking down the complexities into digestible, relatable content, users can better grasp how these technologies impact their daily online interactions and the benefits they offer in terms of privacy, security, and control over personal data.

The Importance of Making the Education Relevant and Accessible to Users

However, for education to be effective, it must be both relevant and accessible. This means going beyond technical jargon and connecting with users on a level that resonates with their everyday experiences. It's about illustrating the practical applications of Web3 and privacy technologies in a way that users can relate to, such as explaining how a self-custody wallet can give them full control over their digital assets or how blockchain technology can protect their personal information from unauthorized access. Accessibility also involves leveraging various platforms and formats, from articles and tutorials to videos and interactive webinars, ensuring that users can find information in a way that best suits their learning preferences.

The Role of Podcasts and Other Platforms in Educating Users About Web3 and Privacy

Among the myriad of platforms available for education, podcasts stand out as a particularly effective medium for engaging with users. They offer a unique opportunity to present information in a conversational, easy-to-understand manner, often featuring experts who can provide insights and real-world examples that bring abstract concepts to life. Brave's approach to utilizing podcasts not only to discuss its features but also to cover broader topics related to Web3 and privacy exemplifies how companies can play a direct role in educating their user base. Additionally, social media, blogs, and community forums serve as vital platforms where users can ask questions, share experiences, and learn from each other, further fostering an environment of collective learning and growth.

The Challenge of Balancing User-Friendliness with the Need for Education

One of the greatest challenges in promoting Web3 and privacy-centric platforms like Brave is striking the right balance between creating user-friendly experiences and the inherent need for education. On one hand, the goal is to make these technologies as accessible and straightforward as possible, minimizing the learning curve for new users. On the other hand, a certain level of understanding is necessary for users to fully appreciate and utilize the unique features and benefits these technologies offer. This delicate balance requires continuous effort to simplify user interfaces and workflows while simultaneously providing educational resources that empower users to deepen their understanding and engagement with Web3. Through this dual approach, Brave and similar platforms can ensure that users are not only able to use their services but also become advocates for the privacy and control that Web3 enables.

The Impact of Web3 on Financial Systems and Regulations

The Potential of Web3 to Bring About a Major Upgrade in Financial Systems

The advent of Web3 is poised to revolutionize the financial systems as we know them. At its core, Web3 embodies a significant upgrade by leveraging blockchain technology to introduce unprecedented levels of transparency, security, and efficiency. This transformation is not merely theoretical; it has practical implications that could redefine how transactions are conducted, how assets are managed, and how trust is established in financial dealings. For instance, with blockchain, transactions can be executed and recorded in a manner that is immutable and transparent to all parties involved. This not only reduces the potential for fraud but also streamlines processes that traditionally require extensive verification and reconciliation efforts. Moreover, smart contracts automate these transactions based on predefined conditions, further enhancing efficiency and reducing the need for intermediaries. The potential for Web3 to overhaul financial systems lies in its ability to provide a more secure, efficient, and transparent framework for financial interactions worldwide.

The Implications of Web3 for Financial Regulations and Compliance

The shift towards Web3 also brings with it significant implications for financial regulations and compliance. As financial activities move onto blockchain platforms, regulators are faced with the challenge of adapting existing frameworks to accommodate new technologies. This adaptation is not straightforward, as the decentralized nature of blockchain poses unique challenges in terms of jurisdiction, identity verification, and the enforcement of regulations. However, Web3 also offers opportunities for regulatory bodies to enhance their oversight capabilities. For example, the transparency inherent in blockchain technology allows for more effective monitoring of transactions and the prevention of illicit activities. Furthermore, the immutable record of transactions could serve as a powerful tool in audit and compliance processes, ensuring that financial institutions adhere to regulatory requirements more efficiently. The evolution of financial regulations in the age of Web3 will be a critical factor in fostering a secure and compliant ecosystem that supports innovation while protecting consumers.

The Potential Benefits of Web3 for Banks and Other Financial Institutions

Banks and other financial institutions stand to gain significantly from the integration of Web3 technologies into their operations. One of the most compelling benefits is the potential for cost savings through the reduction of operational inefficiencies. By automating processes and eliminating intermediaries, financial institutions can achieve greater efficiency and reduce costs associated with transaction processing and compliance. Additionally, the enhanced security features of blockchain technology can help mitigate risks related to fraud and cyber-attacks, further protecting both the institutions and their clients. Beyond operational improvements, Web3 also opens up new avenues for product and service innovation. From offering tokenized assets to facilitating cross-border payments, the possibilities for creating value-added services are vast. Embracing Web3 technologies can position banks and financial institutions as leaders in the digital age, enabling them to meet the evolving needs of their customers more effectively.

The Need for a Balance Between Innovation and Regulation in the Web3 Space

As the financial sector navigates the transition to Web3, striking the right balance between fostering innovation and ensuring robust regulation becomes paramount. On one hand, the innovative potential of Web3 technologies promises to transform the financial industry, offering new opportunities for growth, efficiency, and customer engagement. On the other hand, the decentralized and often opaque nature of these technologies poses challenges for regulatory compliance and consumer protection. Achieving this balance requires a collaborative approach, where regulators, technologists, and financial institutions work together to develop frameworks that support innovation while safeguarding against risks. This collaboration can lead to the creation of regulatory sandboxes, where new technologies can be tested in a controlled environment, and the development of standards and best practices that guide the responsible deployment of Web3 technologies. Ultimately, the goal is to harness the transformative power of Web3 in a way that benefits all stakeholders in the financial ecosystem, ensuring a future where innovation thrives within a secure and regulated environment.


[01:40] How is Web3 shaping the future of digital advertising and user privacy, given your expertise in digital media advertising technology? 

[04:04] How is Brave's privacy-focused approach transforming the traditional advertising model and impacting both users and advertisers? 

[09:05] Can you explain the concept of BAT and how it is designed to create a more equitable and efficient digital advertising ecosystem? 

[13:43] How can you maintain both privacy and a seamless, engaging user experience simultaneously? 

[19:38] What additional strategies does Brave employ to educate people about Web3, privacy, and the Brave browser? 

[23:56] What excites you the most about Brave's initiatives or the browser market in general? 



We're at a pivotal moment with Web3 where we've started to see where this could go with the technology, but the usability side of it. We've also learned some tough lessons there.” 

“Brave's whole approach to software, in our whole approach as a company, frankly, is to build user first models.” 

“Users are a key player in this attention economy.” 

“If you're building something in this space or marketing to people in this space, and you're not listening to those users, you're missing out on so much valuable insight.” 

“The more of this we can put in people's hands directly, that's what the web is all about.” 


Brave Technologies Podcast: 




About the author, JoeriBillast

Fractional CMO
Web3 Marketing Strategist
Bestselling Author on Amazon
Host of the Web3 CMO Stories podcast