Brave does not sell users’ personal data: not to advertisers, nor to anyone else. The opt-in Brave Ads system matches ads from a catalog common to all users in a region, based on a user’s interests, locally in the user’s browser, and entirely on the user’s device. Personal data therefore never has to leave the device for Brave Ads or Rewards.
Users can also use Brave as a browser without ever enabling Brave Rewards, and can use Brave Rewards (including the Brave Ads, tipping, and contribution features) without ever registering with a custodian. In fact, a user who opts into Brave Rewards, without taking the further step of signing up with a custodian, is in practical terms unknown to the custodian. A user’s Brave Rewards wallet identifier remains known only to our servers and the user’s browser. No data associated with the user’s activity is shared with the custodian.
💡 Custodian: A custodian is a company that holds your BAT for you. Crypto exchanges like Uphold, Gemini, and bitFlyer, for example, are custodial partners in the Brave Rewards ecosystem.
What if I choose to verify my Brave Rewards wallet with a custodian?
If you do choose to link a custodial account to your Brave Rewards wallet (by verifying your wallet), then you will get an account address generated by the custodian that is associated with your custodial account, and separately associated by our servers with your browser’s Brave Rewards wallet identifier. This address allows us to pay you for your ad earnings, but does not allow Brave to learn about details of your custodial account beyond its identifier and whether you have fully verified. When receiving an ads payout, Brave’s server sends your total monthly earnings and this address in a message to the custodian that instructs the custodian to pay you from Brave's account. The custodial partner learns nothing about ads you’ve seen.
If you have chosen to sign up with a custodial partner, then your Brave browser can contact the custodian's servers in order to query your current balance, or to send tips in near real-time to other members (e.g., verified creators) upon instruction. Such contact is initiated only based on user actions; it involves directly connecting with the custodian without any interaction with Brave's servers. When making these requests, your custodial account is necessarily identified — the only additional information sent in the event of a tip is the recipient address and amount. The Brave servers do not receive, store, transmit, or otherwise share any data in relation to these user activities.
Furthermore, all automatic contributions are anonymized such that no one can link these transactions with a specific user's wallet or browsing activity, thanks to the extensive use of privacy preserving cryptographic protocols. This same property holds for tips and monthly contributions if you use Rewards just by enabling it, without signing up or verifying your Brave Rewards wallet with a custodian. We use custodial servies to pay out publishers on the basis of aggregate and fully anonymous monthly contributions, again with no linkability back to any individual user. At the time of monthly payout/settlement, our custodial partners learn only the total amount of funds sent by all users to a particular publisher over the last month, and nothing else.
Finally, when you use a custodial service or exchange outside of Brave Rewards (through, say, the exchange's mobile app or their website loaded in any browser), then the exchange's terms and conditions apply, and Brave is not involved.
Note on iOS
Currently, verifying your wallet is not possible on iOS. Please see our announcement here for more information regarding Brave Rewards on iOS.