CCN: Archive.org is one of the most popular websites in the world. It receives many millions of visitors per day, serving as the premier way to browse old pages on the web or access its extensive library of free content. The non-profit website blogged yesterday about how excited it was to discover its Basic Attention Token holdings – all $2,500 worth of the ICO-funded cryptocurrency.
Archive.org Cashes Out BAT Donations
Thanks to @brave and its alternative to the ad-supported web — we just counted up the micropayments in our tip jar, and it’s anything but tiny! https://t.co/zlERME1GFG
— Internet Archive (@internetarchive) April 15, 2019
Readers may recall that CCN previously revealed we had received roughly the same amount of Basic Attention Tokens, which we didn’t think was something worth celebrating.
To the contrary, Archive.org writes:
“Two years ago, this seemed like a fun experiment. A way for the Internet Archive to support a like-minded tech organization, and at the very least, try out something new. This experiment, turns out, has amounted to something far more significant. And worth sharing.”
“Last week, we hooked up our cryptocurrency wallet to our Brave creator account. Those tiny micropayments that Brave users had tossed into the Archive’s virtual tip jar had accumulated, growing into more than 9k Brave Attention Tokens (BAT) – the equivalent of $2500 USD!”
Internet Archive Took in $17 Million in 2017
Estibot estimates the Archive.org domain to be worth about $183,000. That doesn’t take into account several factors, including the fact that it probably couldn’t be sold. Archive’s donation page says that the average donation is $45:
“We are powered by gifts averaging $45.00. If everyone who uses the Internet Archive donates just $5, we can keep offering these services for free and ad-free. That’s right, for the price of a paperback, you can sustain a library the whole world trusts.”
That means that the equivalent of less than 100 donations came in through the Brave Creators platform – in a two-year period. Something worth celebrating? A vision of the future? Archive.org asks everyone who uses the platform to donate $5, but it’s unlikely that most of the people who use Brave amounted to that much on an individual basis.
Before the controversial notion of offering their own advertisements came about, the BAT ICO raised millions in a matter of seconds.
Archive.org has maintenance costs on a level with Wikipedia and other huge websites. The system allows anyone to store a website in their archive for free; it thus requires a lot of storage and data. Then there is the team who maintains such cool projects as the free video game archive. At least 330 billion web pages are stored in the site, with more every day, and multiple versions of many. Coinmarketcap.com, for example, saves several snapshots per day in the archive.
Even ten times this celebrated sum of $2,500 would be a drop in the bucket for a two-year run. Archive.org’s weekly expenses likely exceed this figure. It’s probably not even enough to keep a decent coder employed for a single month. In fact, according to the State of California, Archive.org received over $17 million in 2017. This is to say that their non-BAT contributions for one year were nearly 700,000% of their BAT contributions for two years.
Idealism Doesn’t Get The Job Done – Product Is Job One
So why is Archive.org so happy about such a small sum? Well, it gives them hope for an idealistic future. It also probably helps that Brave’s native ads don’t threaten their funding model.
“This was an unexpected windfall. It was also proof that the current web, the one that’s driven by ads that know our every move, doesn’t have to be the web of the future.”
Indeed, ads with tracking and privacy-invasion, as well as malware, are problematic. There are many ways to deal with such advertisements without killing off one of the last egalitarian and truly free industries out there in online content. Mozilla’s doing its part by thwarting trackers by default, while Brave continues its mission to siphon off website revenue and give publishers back a paltry cut.