Brave refusing to reinstate my rewards account after repeatedly flagging, connecting, and disconnecting

Briefly describe your issue:
Brave rewards account repeatedly flagged and disconnected since 2022

What Operating System and Brave version are you using? (Menu --> About Brave)
Who is your verified custodian? (Uphold/Gemini/bitFlyer)
Are you in a supported region? (see here for list of supported regions)
I travel all over the world. I attempted to reconnect in the US but at this point I’m in Israel.

Are digital nomads excluded from Brave Rewards payouts? I have a verified Uphold account but I just happen to travel frequently to different countries.

This time I received this message from support, with no other explanation than “irregular activity”. What does that even mean?

I’m a developer and I have even written Ethereum smart contracts.

I don’t believe I have done anything that could possibly violate any of Brave’s policies.

What kind of activity that I’ve done is considered irregular?

The message from support offers zero explanation and does not cite any actual behavior on my part. What did I do?

“We have reviewed the flag, and your Rewards profiles will not be reinstated. They will remain flagged”

Really? What’s the deal guys? Tell me what the behavior was. Has my system been compromised? Please at least throw me a bone here…

J (Brave Software)

Sep 26, 2023, 6:51 AM PDT


Thank you for reaching out to Brave Support.

Sometimes your Brave Rewards profiles can be “flagged”. That usually means our systems noticed some irregular activity associated with Brave Ads. “Irregular activity” is activity that would be considered unusual compared to an ordinary person using Brave Ads as part of their overall, everyday browsing experience.

We have reviewed the flag, and your Rewards profiles will not be reinstated. They will remain flagged.

Please note, you can no longer receive payouts for Brave Rewards, but you will still have access to the other great features and benefits built-in to Brave.

Thank you,

Brave Support

@zot One of the most important things I’ll share is Brave, along with many banks and crypto sites, do not share details about why accounts are flagged/suspended. All they explain is their antifraud system and teams decided your account is a risk.

There are always many assumptions made by people. And despite Brave saying things like “VPN alone is not enough to get you flagged,” it has been learned that it matters greatly. If you ever paid attention to the Terms of Service that you agreed to when you signed up for Brave Rewards (many just click OK or “I agree” and never look), it says you won’t attempt to view ads from other countries.

Well, Brave delivers ads to you based on your IP address. So if you’re from the United States and use a VPN to appear elsewhere or go on business trips, you’re going to be viewing ads from other countries. This is a violation of Terms and could result in you being flagged.

When you state you’re a digital nomad, that kind of puts more on it. How can they differentiate you vs someone trying to manipulate the system to view ads and try to maximize earnings? The answer is that they can’t, at least not while delivering ads based on IP address as they are.

I wouldn’t be able to tell you if that’s the “only” thing that resulted in you being flagged, but it would be a very critical aspect. And as they said, Rewards is designed for the “ordinary” person. Ordinary person doesn’t stay on their devices all day, every day. They don’t change countries on a regular basis either. Tons of little things to look at.

Thanks @Saoiray , that gives me some more context.

Brave is a great product and I like their stance on privacy and Crypto but I think they might be painting with too broad a brush if digital nomads or people using VPNs are not going to be considered “ordinary users”.

The world started changing this way quite a while ago and Brave used to represent a next step for me, with the integration of IPFS, Ethereum, and Metamask.

Web3 is supposed to be about autonomy, not geographical stasis.

This makes Brave feel a little behind the curve to me and makes me wonder if they understand some of the basic potentials and motivations of blockchain…

[Edit: if you’re talking about a hardware VPN the limitation makes sense but for a browser extension that accesses a VPN like Hola, Brave will know it’s “real” IP address. Just traveling a lot should not flag an account – Brave can just automatically disable ads when people travel if they need to do that for agreement reasons]

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This and some other things have been getting discussed for a while. Just like it had been through that when making people choose their country, it would lock them into seeing those ads regardless where they go. I mean, they would have to be connected to a custodial partner that’s using their passport and all to verify their location, right?

But as much as it was being discussed, it wasn’t implemented along with some of these newer changes. I think part of the issue right now is they have some much bigger changes that they have hinted about being on the way. As a result, they just are maintaining the older system until they can roll out newer and improved methods. And since there’s no guarantee or ETA on it yet, they don’t want to speak too much on it.

The little hints we’ve been given came from Brendan Eich and Luke Mulks, who have said they are working on releasing on chain payments. Brave’s legal team had always pushed to say they needed to use a 3rd party and couldn’t pay directly due to potential legal issues. That said, discussions have been occurring between where Brave really stands on that spectrum and if Brave can send out payments without the 3rd party or even requiring KYC/AML, just so long as Brave isn’t working as a money exchanger.

That said, it’s been going back and forth within Legal and other departments to make sure it can be done and there’s no risk of violating any regulations, policies, or laws in any place that could have serious negative impacts. But based on their current thoughts and understandings, they may be able to do something like on chain Solana payouts where nobody would have to KYC/AML.

Long winded reply here to say I think it’s just that they are really engaged in trying to make things work while also expanding on other functions, such as trying to get Pay With BAT and everything working. Hence the delays and uncertainty, as well as them playing it safe while we’re seeing issues around the world.

You have seen like where Binance, Gemini, and others are pulling out of countries like Netherlands, Canada, etc…right? The world has gotten crazy in recent years, especially after the big FTX fiasco.

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