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Gab’s Brave Browser Fork Uses Bitcoin’s Lightning Network Instead of BAT

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Gab, a purportedly uncensored social media microblogging platform, is reportedly looking to fork the Brave browser to create a “free-speech browser” and, in the future, a “free-speech marketplace and app store,” both powered by bitcoin.

Bitcoin, as covered, has been promoted by the microblogging platform as “free speech money” to its then over 850,000 users. The company, headed by Andrew Torba, has recently launched a browser plug-in called Dissenter, meant to be the “comment section of the internet.”

Gab has been under fire after reports revealed the shooter behind the Pittsburg synagogue massacre was a Gab user. The platform first started accepting cryptocurrency payments in December of last year, after seeing payment processors like Square, PayPal, and Stripe turn their backs on it. The company has even seen crypto-friendly processors like Coinbase and Cash App refuse to work with it.

Its browser extension was recently booted from the Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox web stores, which prompted Gab to fork the Brave browser, and launch its own “free speech” browser.

Gab’s fork of the Brave browser – which was created by former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich – isn’t going to use Brave’s Basic Attention Token (BAT), but will instead use bitcoin’s layer-two scaling solution, the Lightning Network.

Interestingly, Brave’s token is set to be used to create an entirely new digital revenue model, in which users are rewarded for seeing ads with a percentage of the revenue from them, while their privacy is preserved. By default, Brave blocks ads and trackers.

The browser has recently launched its own advertising network, meaning it is now rewarding users for seeing ads on the browser. These, so far, are only small notifications.

Dissenter: A Brave Browser Fork

Gab’s fork of the Brave browser, the Dissenter browser, is reportedly keeping the Brave parts it finds useful, like the default ad and tracker blocker, as well as access to Tor. It is, however, removing Brave’s ERC-20 based BAT token, which Gab has been bashing on social media.

The browser, Torba told Decrypt Media, has been created to help cut off access to “user data and ad revenue” for Silicon Valley companies like Google. This, per his words, includes Brave, which he claims built a model more beneficial for advertisers than users.

Brendan Eich himself has had a few clashes with Gab on social media, and doesn’t appear to be pleased with Gab forking his browser and removing BAT from the equation. To Eich, Gab’s goal appears to be to increase the reach of its extension.

Torba, on the other end, claims to not understand the controversy, as he claims the “point of open source is to allow others to build upon an existing codebase and add more value.” Brave itself, he added, “is a fork of the Google Chromium project.”

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Written by Ravi Gupat

Ravi grew up in India and graduated in Economics. He is a serial entrepreneur who has founded and exited several companies in tech and media over the past 15 years. He is also an early stage investor and advisor in various blockchain-based companies.


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