Brave Vs. Tor Browser vs. - Understanding it All

Thank you for the thoughtful post. Let’s see where we can help.

First, Brave does not sell people’s personal data: not to advertisers, nor to anyone else. As you may already know, the opt-in Brave Ads system matches ads from a catalog common to all users in a region, based on your interests locally in your browser, entirely on your device. Your personal data therefore never has to leave your device for Brave Ads or Rewards.

Brave operates on the basis of minimizing data flows and storage as a core principle. We go to extreme lengths to ensure we keep only the absolute minimum of user data on our servers, and we share no data except when required to fulfill express user intent. Brave’s uses of personal data are detailed in this table of our Privacy Policy.

Second, please note that you can use Brave as a browser without ever enabling Brave Rewards, and also that you can use Brave Rewards (including the Brave Ads, tipping, and contribution features) without ever registering with Uphold. In fact, a user who opts into Brave Rewards, without taking the further step of signing up at Uphold, is in practical terms unknown to Uphold. Your Brave Rewards wallet identifier remains known only to our servers and your browser. No data associated with your activity is shared with Uphold.

If you do choose to link your Uphold account to your Brave Rewards wallet (by verifying your wallet), then you will get an anonymous payout address generated by Uphold, associated by Uphold with your account there, and separately associated by our servers with your browser’s Brave Rewards wallet identifier. This anonymous payout address allows us to pay you for your ad earnings, but does not allow Brave to learn your Uphold account. When receiving an ads payout, Brave’s server sends your total monthly earnings and this anonymous address in a message to Uphold that instructs Uphold to pay you. Uphold learns nothing about ads you’ve seen.

If you have chosen to sign up with Uphold, then your Brave browser can contact Uphold’s servers in order to query your current balance, or to send tips in near real-time to other Uphold members (e.g., verified creators) upon instruction. Such contact is initiated only based on user actions; it involves directly connecting with Uphold without any interaction with our servers. When making these requests, your Uphold 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 at Uphold. Uphold is used 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 settlement, Uphold learns 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 Uphold outside of Brave Rewards (through their mobile app or their website loaded in any browser), then Uphold’s terms and conditions apply and Brave is not involved. We are consulting with Uphold to clarify certain terms and conditions. We will provide an update once we learn more.

Thanks, and we hope that helps!