Nouns DAO and Brave: Engaging with the Web3 community to champion transparency and decentralized collaboration

A unique collaboration that led to a novel on-chain transaction to purchase paid advertising space by a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO)

Written by Lukas Levert, account manager at Brave, and Clayton Hartford, senior director of sales at Brave

On November 1st, 2021, the Nouns DAO took over the Sponsored Image in the New Tab Page of the Brave browser to kick off NFT.NYC, the world’s largest gathering for collectors and creators of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The ad campaign was aimed at Brave users in the United States. The Nouns DAO is a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), specifically an experiment at the intersection of crypto, governance, intellectual property, NFTs, and philanthropy. While the mission may be abstract, the fundamentals of the Nouns DAO are constant:

The Nouns DAO Treasury currently holds 16,133 ETH ($65,152,536 notional USD value) at the time of writing.

The success of the Nouns DAO can be attributed to its leadership and community. At the helm of the Nouns are Web3 pioneers including 4156 and Gremplin, leaders in today’s CC0 “No Rights Reserved’’ movement. Creators participating in the movement dedicate their work to the public domain by waiving all of their rights to the work worldwide under copyright law. The dedicated work can be freely built upon, enhanced, and repurposed without restriction.

There are dozens of for-profit projects independent of the Nouns DAO currently using the famous Nouns glasses in a variety of use cases ranging from artwork, apparel, video games, and beyond. In addition to derivative works, members of the community have put forward several charity-led projects, such as Proposal 12, which sought to fund a program that delivers prescription eyeglasses to kids in need.

Brave + Nouns DAO

In early October, after briefly speaking with one of the founders of the project, Brave was encouraged to submit a governance proposal to the Nouns DAO Discourse forum ( The Nouns DAO Discourse forum provides the venue for Nouns DAO governance proposals to be submitted for transparent community discussion and debate in advance of the formal governance proposal vote.

Brave’s proposal was submitted with the objective of using the Sponsored Image Brave Ads unit to introduce the Nouns project to Brave’s audience by featuring artwork created by the Nouns community. Brave’s Sponsored Image ad unit displays a full page image from advertisers among the images that display in rotation when a user opens a new browser tab in Brave. Sponsored Images are sold as exclusive single-day placements either globally, or to select countries of interest from the nearly 200 countries supported by Brave Ads. As an exclusive and fully viewable placement reaching all Brave desktop and mobile users, Sponsored Images provide brands with a high impact burst of awareness and site traffic for their campaigns.

With positive feedback on the proposal, the discussion moved to the Nouns Discord Channel in a dedicated sub-channel created for the Nouns Sponsored Image. There, members of Brave’s ad sales team collaborated with members of the Nouns community, providing feedback and support as the community submitted ideas and mockups. Several dozen concepts were considered and debated amongst the members of the DAO.

Once the group had agreed on the creative direction, the proposal progressed to the formal Nouns DAO governance vote for or against payment for the Brave Ads campaign from the Nouns DAO Treasury. The proposal also designated one of the Nouns founders (dubbed Nounders) as their representative to formally sign for the ad space under the pseudonym 4156. The Brave Ads proposal unanimously passed with 25 votes, invoking the execution of transaction releasing the funds for the campaign from the Ethereum blockchain.

Several days later, US users of the browser were greeted in their new tabs by the friendly Nouns in a New York City theme, where NFT.NYC had just kicked off.

Following the campaign, the Brave team shared success metrics with the DAO via their Discord channel, where the community decided to publicly share the results via X (formerly Twitter). The takeover generated a total of 12.2 million ad impressions, 141,646 clicks, and 71,027 visits to the page lasting 10 seconds or more as reported by Brave’s privacy preserving campaign metrics. As a result of the traffic generated by Brave, the Nouns DAO observed page view traffic increase from the low hundreds to +200,000 views on the day of the takeover.

In addition to the benefit of introducing Nouns to Brave’s user base, Brave used 70% of the Ethereum funds for the campaign to purchase Basic Attention Tokens (BAT) for distribution to Brave Rewards users who viewed the Sponsored Images.

Brave appreciates the collaboration and warm welcome from the Nouns community as the first DAO to formally purchase a Brave Ads campaign. Brave looks forward to future engagement with Nouns and other DAOs through the open and transparent DAO governance process that aligns well with Brave’s open source and community driven ethos.

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