Brave Browser Caught Adding Referral Codes To Cryptocurrency URLs

Brave Browser is undeniably first a commercial product, and second a privacy-centric web browser. The browser, however, which began with privacy in mind, soon began to enable users to allow advertising in exchange for payments with Simple Attention Tokens (BAT).

In case you don’t know BAT is Brave Browser’s very own cryptocurrency. At first, when BAT was introduced back in June 2018, I thought it was really odd but it looks weirder than my initial thoughts.

It was first discovered by a Twitter user cryptonator1337 who reported that “binance[.]us” redirects to “binance[.]us / en?” in the Brave web address. Just ref=35089877.

Brave injected its referral codes for several other top cryptocurrency websites like Coinbase, Ledger, and Trezor for example. On further digging, the website discovered that this functionality was recently added to the browser by Brave according to the report.

In response to the tweets and the ensuing backlash, Brave ‘s CEO said that he does not believe this practice is wrong. He points out in his tweet that the code identifies the browser, and not the user. That’s true but that’s not the problem anyway.

Brave clearly adds its referral codes to those websites that people visit organically and earn money. In addition, affiliate programs sometimes allow companies to view certain data about people using them.

Developers in Brave’s Github Repository suggest a toggle will turn the feature off. In addition, the toggle will be switched off by default from the next stable version, which will be made in the opt-in environment.

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