This article is sponsored by Carbon.
Initially released in 2016, Carbon is a Web2 browser for Android devices. Built based on a custom fork of Chromium, the browser prioritized three key elements: fast browser speed, a small file size, and simple UX improvements when browsing. It also prioritizes user privacy, automatically blocking online ads and website trackers by default.
Since its launch, it has garnered over 5 million downloads, 25 - 30,000 daily active users (DAU), and over 200,000 active installations mainly across five geographies, the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, India, and Turkey.
While Web3 innovation has mainly occurred on blockchains and dApps, the entire sector is still heavily reliant on legacy Web2 browsers (and browser extensions) to interact with them.
As Carbon X Labs begins building the next iteration of Carbon, they now aim to build out a fully immersive Web3 browser that supports the growing needs of the Web3 generation. Primarily, the team seeks to address three key gaps it sees with existing browsers today, namely:
Problem 1: Lack of Privacy, Decentralization, and Slow Browsing Speed,
Problem 2: Lack of Web3 Features as Standard, and
Problem 3: An inferior Adblock / Filtering Solution.
We explore these problems and how Carbon intends to fill these gaps with new features below.
Key Gaps with Browsers Today
Problem 1: Lack of Privacy, Decentralization and Slow Browsing Speed
The most popular browsers today are Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari. While they purport to offer privacy features such as Chrome’s ‘Incognito Mode” and Safari’s ‘Private Browser’, in reality, these do not offer any form of privacy other than clearing user cookies and browser history.
These browsers still allow trackers, ads, and other scripts to track user activities as they browse the web. In addition, both browsers are owned by large companies and may profit from monetizing user browsing data.
Most browsers today are also very large in size, some even over 250MB, and this has impacted the browsing experience, making it sometimes slow and laggy.
Carbon aims to address these challenges by offering as standard and free-of-charge to users a built-in VPN, known as dVPN, firewall, as well as the option to connect to 3rd party privacy networks such as ToR. There will also be a premium offering, known as Carbon Pro, which will offer an enhanced version of dVPN, firewall, and 24/7 support.
To further decentralize the project, Carbon will also issue a token, $CSIX to users of the Carbon Browser. We will go into more detail about the utility of the token in a later section of this article.
Problem 2: Lack of Web3 Features as Standard
As we mentioned earlier, most of the interactions with dApps and blockchains have come through legacy browsers and extensions. If you’re a degen user you would at least have a few Web3 wallet extensions installed on your browser.
However, this reliance on extensions creates an often clunky user experience. Extensions also pose a security risk as they may come from malicious publishers or contain malware.
When it comes to imagining what a browser with native Web3 features might look like, the sky is really the limit. Consider a browser with built-in ENS / Handshake domain support, a multichain Web3 wallet with atomic swaps, and decentralized file storage capabilities via IPFS.
These are just some of the features on the Carbon roadmap as they seek to offer Web3 users a much-improved experience and security, while they interact with dApps and the metaverse.
Problem 3: An Inferior AdBlock / Filtering Solution
Chrome and Safari do not offer adblock as standard, requiring users to download a freemium or paid extension to block ads. Other browsers may offer native adblock software, but they often cause white gaps or spaces to display where ads would normally be.
Digital advertising is a nuanced topic - while intrusive ads should be blocked by default, arguably “acceptable” ads still have their place on the internet.
Carbon aims to strike a balance through two main solutions - one, by partnering with Eyeo, a leader in AdBlock and ad filtering technology to develop a custom fork of the Eyeo AdBlock SDK, and two, through the Carbon AdX Marketplace.
Eyeo’s AdBlock SDK aims to build a more sustainable value exchange between advertisers, publishers, and online users by supporting an acceptable ads program. It also offers a superior adblock / filtering experience by simply removing ads, instead of just covering them up with a white box.
Meanwhile, to meet the needs of “acceptable” advertisers, Carbon will be introducing its own Self-Serve Ad Marketplace, known as the Carbon AdX Marketplace.
This marketplace will help publishers sell ads directly to advertisers while adhering to the acceptable ads program to ensure ads served to users are non-intrusive and valuable.
The platform will offer a concierge-like service with ad server integration, DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP), Adzerk, Ezoic, and more.
The $CSIX Token
The $CSIX token is designed to be the native token for the Carbon browser, which comes with a range of utilities, as well as the opportunity to participate in governance to shape the future of the Carbon browser.
As a start, users can stake their $CSIX for additional yield, but further utilities such as using the token to pay for Carbon Pro subscriptions, and rewards with other partners including Amazon and selected charities, are in the pipeline. The $CSIX token will also serve as a discounted payment currency for the Carbon AdX Marketplace.
The $CSIX token will have a maximum supply of 1 billion, with 140M tokens to be distributed daily as rewards to active users over a 12-year period. This long issuance schedule is designed to ensure steady growing user acquisition with minimal sell pressure.
Carbon aims to reward users based on their geography, time spent on the browser, and use of native Web3 features such as wallets, swaps, or bridges once they become available.
An interesting feature of $CSIX tokenomics is the “burn” mechanism. During the normal course of operations, a percentage of protocol profits will be re-distributed back to stakers as yield, but additionally every year a percentage of protocol profits will be burnt until only 50% of the supply remains.
For more information on the tokenomics of $CSIX, you can refer here.
Three weeks after the launch of the $CSIX token on February 17, 2023, the Carbon browser has already received more than 57 million downloads and 45,000 DAUs.
The traction is noteworthy as the browser is still currently only available on Android devices, though apps on iOS, Mac OS, and PC are planned for later in the year.
Since its launch, the $CSIX token is also now tradable on KuCoin, PancakeSwap, BKEX, and Hotbit.
Staking was also launched on February 24, 2023, allowing $CSIX holders to earn yields on their staked tokens.
On the same day, the project team also released their updated roadmap for 2023.
Notable milestones include the anticipated launch of the iOS App on testnet in Q2, as well as the launch of Mac OS and PC apps in Q3.
The AdX Marketplace is targeted to launch in Q2, Browse-to-Earn $CSIX rewards are targeted to begin in Q3, and a Community Governance DAO is to be convened in Q4.
Finally, Carbon recently announced that it is integrating with Presearch, to bring users a search engine that is decentralized, private, and community-driven.
Presearch is a decentralized privacy search engine that launched in 2017 and has amassed over 4.3M registered users and is one of the most popular blockchain websites. With Presearch users can search online and still keep their privacy.
Presearch has over 72,000 nodes run by community operators powering the search engine. With the partnership between Carbon and Presearch, both parties aim to bring greater awareness of decentralized, private alternatives to browsing and search.
You can visit here the Carbon Website to learn more about the project and follow Carbon on Twitter to stay up to date with the latest updates.
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