Mon 2 May 2022 3:35PM

Should we be a verified Brave user?

G Giacomo Public Seen by 86

Hi, the browser Brave gives some cryptos to its users for free, users then can donate those cryptos, and verified users can receive those donations. I myself just got the verification, all it takes is to provide an e-mail. https://creators.brave.com/sign-up Wikipedia, some Mastodon instances (for example, mastodon.uno) and many other websites already use this method to receive donations. I would suggest to implement this system, so that our instance can become more self-sufficient.


Will Murphy Mon 2 May 2022 3:55PM

I oppose joining the Brave creators program.

Brave pays out in their Basic Attention Token cryptocurrency, which uses the Ethereum blockchain 1

Ethereum has energy consumption and carbon footprints equivalent to that of a nation of 10 million people 2

To participate in this program despite its environmental costs would go against Cooperative principle 7, Concern for Community

Some potential counterpoints:

"Ethereum is switching to low-energy proof-of-stake any day now" - then let's revisit this proposal after the transition (I doubt it will ever happen)

"BAT is an ERC20 side chain token, it's transactions don't consume as much electricity as main chain" - this is true, but it still depends upon Ethereum, performs some transitions with the mainnet, and promotes the continued existence of this destructive blockhain


Noah Mon 2 May 2022 3:58PM

Strongly oppose getting involved in cryptocurrency, not just on environmental grounds but also because of the additional complexity and risk.

For our current needs we are comfortably over-budgeted (I think - would love confirmation from a Finance WG member), and any large new expenses (e.g. upgrading server capacity, adding new services/offerings) would probably see a good response to a corresponding fundraising effort.


Sam Whited Mon 2 May 2022 4:05PM

I am also strongly opposed to this. You might recall that when Brave started this program they advertised that they were taking donations on behalf of various charities without the charities consent. Brave has been doing shady things with their huge sums of VC money since day one and is not a company we want to be in bed with IMO. As others have said we should also be avoiding blockchain nonsense in general.

EDIT: it's also worth noting since Wikipedia was mentioned that they just voted to stop taking donations in cryptocurrencies.


Moon Baron Mon 2 May 2022 4:34PM

Perhaps it might be worth reaching out to the aforementioned instances that are Brave Verified to ask how cost-effective it is to liquidate BAT (the Brave token). I'm unaware of how/where our accounts are kept, but a number of factors might make the overhead just financially not worth it.

Figuring this out might be an easier way to rule the matter out than trying to answer the fairly controversial matter of whether the CO2 footprint outweighs its necessity/utility.


Akshay Mon 2 May 2022 4:56PM

Even if we ignore the problems of cryptocurrencies (we really should not), wouldn't this make us dependent on ads? If so, I think we should also consider not being supported by ads, as no matter how "privacy respecting" they are, nothing stops them from selling out that bit once a significant number of websites/creators start relying on their system and the "currency" they control.

Relying on ads also risks making the platform optimized for maximum user attention, which is another thing we should try to avoid.


Ana Ulin Mon 2 May 2022 11:24PM

I agree with all the reservations about getting involved in crypto, and also the issues around participating in the "attention economy".

OP wrote: "I would suggest to implement this system, so that our instance can become more self-sufficient." This makes me wonder if we have any concerns as a community about our financial sustainability. Or else where is this coming from?

My understanding is that our current member contributions pay for our hosting costs. I can't remember if we do pay a small amount to the folks that keep the community and the machines running.

I'm sure we have the financial numbers available somewhere. If OP or others are interested in or concerned about the community financials, you can dive into the numbers and start a conversation with the community and ops groups about improving whatever specifically you believe needs improving/changing.


Josh Davis Tue 3 May 2022 1:04AM

Agree with everyone else that this is not something we should do. We are doing just fine on the finance front, and Ana is correct that we are (easily) able to pay for our hosting and tech support from member dues. If anything, accepting charity would make us less, not more, self-sufficient.


alain Tue 3 May 2022 2:01AM

I agree with all previous objections and mainly oppose to support crypto environmental disaster. Another point is that, on top of making us dependant to Brave ecosystem, it would push users to use Brave browser in order to contribute to the instance. This would go against user freedom and privacy (how would Brave earn money without tracking it's users).

I think the current funding via Open Collective is a very good system providing autonomy and a real sense of ownership for the users.


Nick Sellen Wed 4 May 2022 10:30AM

Lovely to see all my perspectives already represented here! Makes me happy to participate in a co-op tech thing that gets this stuff... 🙏


Sam Whited Thu 5 May 2022 11:10AM

A quick aside: thanks to @Giacomo for bringing this up. I know it can feel rough and like everyone is piling on when most people disagree with you, but it was a worthwhile discussion to have, I think.