It was recently revealed that the browser Brave (BAT) secretly redirected all its in-browser links to links affiliated with the most popular cryptocurrency services in order to receive significant commissions. This was done despite the fact that Brave positioned itself as a privacy-focused instrument with a 'shared revenue' model of advertising.
Community Considers Fork with No Ads or Tokens
Shortly after this manner of behavior was disclosed, Brave community members announced an initiative to launch the Braver Browser, an open-source fork. Bravers will not require advertising and will avoid implementing BAT tokens.
This announcement was published as a reply to acerbic tweet of Riccardo Spagni, project lead of Monero (XMR). Legendary Fluffy Pony also accused Brave of being too egregious and gross for a 'self-proclaimed privacy-enhancing' product. Furthermore, he called the disclosed backdoor 'scammy'.
It looks like Mr. Spagni appreciated this approach. With no advertising instruments or Basic Attention Token (BAT) support, he said, the browser may become useful:
Looks like Brave might become useful after all.
It is worth noting that browser sent rewards in the form of BATs to users who viewed the advertising content.
Too Late to Apologize?
This critical breach was unveiled by Crypto Twitter user Yannick Eckl (aka Cryptonator1337). He noticed that every URL of Binance US was automatically converted to a corresponding referral link.
The users of Brave then disclosed similar functions that were implemented for Binance, Trezor, and Coinbase-backed links. This hidden option was hard-coded into Brave's back-end:
Brave Software's CEO Brendan Eich apologized for this mistake and announced that it will be fixed. Some users also showed a way to disable such an unwanted redirection.
Alongside that, Eich emphasized that this technique didn't affect user privacy in any way:
We don’t rewrite links in pages apart from standard chromium-code URL canonicalization and HTTPS Everywhere.