Brave, the decentralized browser that positioned itself as being focused on user privacy, is involved in a scandal. One user unveiled that those who searched for top-level cryptocurrency services (i.e. Binance, Ledger, etc.) actually visited these web-sites through Brave affiliate links. The browser team has come up with a statement to clear things up.
No more referral codes in suggestions
According to the official statement from the project team, the error arose from adding affiliate code to the default completion (the second suggestion in the drop-down) i.e. to the second suggestion of the search results. Users are highly likely to click on these suggestions.
Also, for Binance.us, a branch of the world-leading crypto exchange ecosystem Binance, the referral code was added to the first suggestion in the drop-down.
The brave team apologized to users for using the wrong logic in alternative completions suggestions.
The team informed that this issue has already been fixed in the Brave open-source code on Github as well as in all of its releases including the new Stable desktop release v1.9.80. Literally, the “Show Brave suggested sites in autocomplete suggestions” toolbar is now set to 'off' by default.
New competitor rises
The Brave team emphasizes that this situation didn't pose a threat to user privacy as no data about their identity were sent to the partners. It is only Brave, itself, that was identified by partner mechanisms.
Nevertheless, this issue has already resulted in the emergence of the Braver Browser, an open-source ad-free fork of Brave. It will eventually eliminate all integration with the BAT token and all advertising.
The project will be funded by donations and won't imply any 'business-related features'. According to its devs, it will be just 'a nice open-source privacy-first browser'