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Brave now lets you cash out the ad revenue the browser pays you

You'll have to identify yourself first, though. The feature is arriving in a test version of the ad-blocking browser this week.

Brave browser's lion logo

Brave has started testing a two-way wallet. 

Stephen Shankland/CNET

With the Brave browser, advertisers can put money into a digital wallet when you see their ads. Now you can start getting that money out again, too. But you'll have to get used to Brave's cryptocurrency-like payment system and sign up with the Uphold cryptocurrency exchange to retrieve those payments.

If you sign up for it, Brave's ad system gives you 70% of the revenue those ads generate. Those payments are made in the form of Brave's basic attention token (BAT), which uses cryptocurrency technology to send payments among publishers, advertisers, Brave users and Brave itself.

Don't expect to get rich off Brave ads -- I've been paid 84 BAT in recent months, worth about $20 at today's exchange rate. But the funding idea still could be a carrot to help attract people to the browser and its system for showing ads without infringing privacy the way conventional ads often do.

Seeing ads in Brave can generate payments, and now the browser lets you retrieve those funds. By default, if you opt into the system, Brave sends the payments back to publishers.

Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Until now, Brave's BAT payments either accumulated in a wallet stored in the browser or, by default, were sent to websites, YouTubers and Twitch video game streamers you see. The idea is to support those publishing on the internet. On Wednesday, Brave started testing the two-way wallet from which you can retrieve your BAT, the company said in a forum post. 

It should arrive this week in version 0.69 of the Brave Nightly version, a rapidly changing, less stable test version of the browser, Brave spokeswoman Catherine Corre said.

To extract the BAT, you'll need an account at Uphold, a business partner Brave already uses for website publishers and others who want to retrieve BAT payments. That means you'll have to identify yourself to Uphold, though Brave itself won't know your personal data.

With the two-way wallet now in testing, there are some problems Brave plans to fix. One is that if you tip content creators -- something you can do with Brave Nightly if you want to send BAT to Twitter or Reddit users -- those creators will know your Uphold username.

Targeted ads

Brave's ad technology -- if you opt in -- can target ads toward your interests. The browser itself guesses those interests but doesn't share the information with anyone. The current system strips out conventional website ads then shows its own ads as operating system notifications on Windows, MacOS, Linux and Android.

For Brave-supplied ads today, you get 70% of the ad revenue and Brave gets 30%. An update to the system scheduled for release later in 2019 will place ads on partners' websites and give those partners 70% of the revenue, with you and Brave each getting 15%.

If Brave can convince enough people to sign up, its system is potentially disruptive -- at least for conventional advertising companies like Google and Facebook that keep tabs on your online activity.

If you enable the Brave Rewards system -- and the browser suggests you join after you install it -- Brave by default sends your accumulated BAT to websites and content producers you visit online. The more you visit a particular site, the larger the proportion of BAT the browser sends there, but recipients must sign up for the system to collect their BAT. You can also set a specific percentage for specific sites and exclude sites from payments.

If you sign up for Brave Rewards, the browser contributes accumulated BAT to websites, YouTubers and Twitch videogame streamers monthly.

If you sign up for Brave Rewards, the browser contributes accumulated BAT to websites, YouTubers and Twitch videogame streamers monthly.

Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

If you don't enable the advertising, you can still purchase BAT directly to contribute to sites or receive periodic grants of BAT from Brave. However, the startup plans to gradually phase out the user grants as its ad system matures.

Brave is co-founded and led by former Mozilla Chief Executive Brendan Eich.

Disclosure: I transferred some bitcoin into my Brave wallet for testing when Brave launched its payments system in 2016. That later was converted into BAT. After that initial purchase, Brave's grants, BAT from ads I've seen and BAT Brave has transferred to websites and other publishers, I now have a BAT balance worth $30.91. I have received no bitcoin or BAT from Brave.

First published July 25.

Update, July 26: Adds more details about Brave Rewards system and timing of the 0.69 Brave Nightly release with the BAT extraction ability.