Broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) may be key for an effective HIV-1 vaccine. Although bnAbs can be detected in a small percentage of HIV-1-infected individuals, they have not been successfully elicited by any vaccines. Germline ancestors of bnAbs generally do not neutralize HIV-1, but they can gradually gain potency and breadth for neutralization of heterologous HIV-1 strains when they become more mature through accumulation of high levels of somatic mutations after a few years of infection. Since bnAbs develop in the absence of diverse heterologous HIV-1 variants in an infected individual, one plausible hypothesis is that broad neutralization of diverse heterologous viruses is a byproduct of the antibody maturation process. This hypothesis is supported by observations that bnAbs continuously evolve to gain neutralization breadth and potency, even after all autologous plasma viruses become resistant to bnAbs in infected individuals. Importantly, those individuals do not benefit from the development of continuously more matured bnAbs because autologous viruses have completely escaped from these bnAbs. This theory may have significant implication in AIDS vaccine development.