Using Brave on mobile? Here's why you shouldn't self-tip

The web browser Brave is a good way to protect your privacy online and earn some crypto at the same time (in the form of BAT or Basic Attention Tokens). You can then use any tokens you earn to reward content creators of your choice. Alternatively you can connect your browser to a digital wallet service called Uphold and then convert your tokens to your local (fiat) currency.

Brave is also available as a mobile app for iOS and Android, but there's one big limitation: you can't yet link it to an Uphold account, so it isn't possible to withdraw your BAT from mobile.

If you are a Brave Verified Creator, an idea may occur to you at this point. Can't I just tip my own website? That would transfer the BAT from my mobile app to my Brave Rewards account, which pays out to my connected Uphold Wallet.

Well, yes, with some major caveats. Here are the reasons why this is not advisable:

1. Brave charges a 5% fee on any tips

So if you tip yourself 10 BAT, you will (at most - see point three below) only receive 9.5 BAT. Why does Brave charge this? Its FAQ says:

Our fee has to cover infrastructure costs which provide an always free Brave browser as well as the Brave Rewards system for publisher support. It is our intention to minimize those fees as we grow and realize economies of scale.

2. Withdrawal support for mobile is coming

At least it is according to the moderators on the Brave Community website. Uphold Wallet integration for the desktop browser only launched in October 2019, so it is reasonable to expect that integration for the mobile app will come next.

The question really is, why would you give up 5% (or more) of your BAT now, when you will be able to withdraw all of it later down the line?

3. Self-tipped BAT may be lost entirely

The Brave team has always discouraged self-tipping. Back in February, Brave Community support team manager Asad explained:

Self-tipping is something we generally frown upon, especially if the goal is to move BAT grants off of Android/iOS (where there is no built-in withdrawal support) into your own Uphold account. BAT earnings on mobile are only intended (for the moment) to be used to support your favorite content creators.

However more recently they have taken a harder line. Just two days ago, Asad clarified:

We recommend at this point that you do not self tip AT ALL.

Doing so will very likely get your account suspended, and even if you are cleared, there will be no way to get back that BAT you self-tipped.

Brave users have been sharing their personal experiences of self-tipping on the forums, and it seems that small tips (10 BAT or less) have been getting through, whereas larger tips are disappearing into the void. So if you are insistent on self-tipping then do it in a number of small increments.

However what makes it more difficult is that "verified creators get paid for tips during the first week of each calendar month" - so you won't know for quite a while whether your self-tip has disappeared or not! That's quite nerve-wracking.

Welcome message from Brave

The message you see after clicking 'SEND A TIP...' on Brave mobile

In some cases, the Brave team have worked to recover the missing BAT - but there is no guarantee they will do so. And, given Asad's harder line quoted above, it seems increasingly unlikely to me that they will help in future.

So my strong recommendation to you would be not to self-tip. Instead, if you have BAT on your mobile device, consider tipping it to content creators of your choice.

This is especially the case for any BAT gained through Brave's 'Grants' scheme, as I understand these tokens (as opposed to those earned through viewing ads) have an expiry date. So if you self-tip, you may lose them; if you hold on to them, you may lose them. As the old saying goes, 'when you love something, give it away'.

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