Brave Unveils an Updated Decentralized Ad Platform THEMIS

Brave's THEMIS is a private-by-design ad platform that will provide anonymity and auditability to users. It will enhance user's trust and privacy.

By · Aug 19, 2020 . 8min read


THEMIS is a private-by-design ad platform that leverages sidechain and smart contracts to eliminate centralized Ad network management. Earlier, in a blog post, the team behind Brave published an ad platform called ‘ THEMIS.’ This new protocol comes with various potential features. Additionally, this will provide anonymity to users as it is decentralized. Moreover, THEMIS also offers auditability.

Launched in mid-2017, Basic Attention Token (BAT), has millions of users, advertisers, and publishers, each using and earning BAT through the Brave Browser. The BAT token powers the BAT-based advertising ecosystem. Additionally, the BAT-based advertising ecosystems intends to offer privacy by default, restore control to users over their data, and provide a decentralized marketplace. Brave’s vision is to fix the current online advertising industry. It intends to get freedom from fraud schemes, privacy issues, and to gain user’s trust. Keeping this in mind, it launched THEMIS, a decentralized and privacy-by-design protocol that enhances the current BAT-based ad ecosystem.

On August 17, the team published part two of an explainer blog series that includes a fleshed-out version of THEMIS.

Enhancing Confidential Payments and Latency in THEMIS

Confidential payments on account-based blockchains allow the transfer of assets between accounts without disclosing the amount of assets being transferred or the accounts’ balances. Additionally, the sender confirms the correctness of the payment. Brave said for THEMIS; they leverage the AZTEC protocol, which implements confidential payments. 

Latency and resource consumption are prominent factors to offer a good user experience. This is particularly helpful when the client operates on low-end browsers and devices. It aims to be practical and scalable for large-scale ad systems. Thus, the team implemented a prototype of THEMIS’s core protocol and ranked the performance and scalability in production-like environments. 

Brave uses PoA (proof of authority) owing to the trust issues encountered in StrawTHEMIS. All participants can individually confirm that the protocol works correctly. It requires zero trusts from one another. In particular, Brave defines two smart contracts The Policy Smart Contract and The Fund Smart Contract. The Policy Smart Contract (PSC), is liable for billing users’ rewards and validating the payment requests. The Fund Smart Contract (FSC), receives and escrows the funds needed to run the campaign. 

 Rather than relying on a trusted central trusted authority, Brave introduces the untrusted campaign facilitator (CF). With reference to BAT Ads, the natural CF is Brave. It keeps a relationship with the advertisers and the sources to distribute the ads to the Brave Browser users. The CF is responsible for negotiating the advertisers’ policies, deploying smart contracts in the PoA ledger; and, handling on-chain payments. 

Conclusively, THEMIS is a private-by-design ad platform that leverages sidechain and smart contracts to eliminate centralized ad network management. Brave Ads and THEMIS intend to solve the significant flaws in the prevailing online ads ecosystem. It proceeds to do so by enhancing trust and user privacy. 

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