Today, we’re talking about Web5. No, you didn’t read that wrong – Web5 is the newly-conceived brainchild of former Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, and his new company, TBD.
And no, you didn’t miss Web4, either. Web5 aims to combine the best of both Web2 and Web3 to create a brand-new digital paradigm.
But what exactly is it, and how does it differ from Web3? Let’s find out.
To get to grips with Web5, we need a quick recap of the previous versions of the web. In the very first iteration of the internet, Web1, pretty much all you could do was view websites. Next, came the current version of the internet that we all know and love, Web2. Web2 allows us to interact with people all around the world in a variety of ways.
Then there’s Web3, which as of yet, is still in development. The aim of Web3 is to address a major flaw of Web2 – the fact that a handful of powerful, centralised entities (like Facebook and Google) control it. Web3 is entirely decentralised and, as a result, puts the power in the hands of the people.
So, that brings us to Web5.
Web5 represents a brand-new vision for a decentralised internet. Built on the Bitcoin blockchain, it allows the creation of a platform on which users can build their own apps, and thereby store and control their own data. It essentially returns the ownership of personal data back to the user.
How is it done? Decentralised apps can be developed by leveraging the following three pillars: decentralised web nodes, verifiable credentials and decentralised identifiers.
Web5 also ensures portability of personal identities – it allows users to identify themselves on multiple applications, without having to rely on multiple different credentials, and be remembered across the entire ecosystem.
The development of Web5 came as Jack Dorsey voiced his dissatisfaction for Web3 – he previously described it as a centralised movement that benefits venture capital companies, and stated that Web3 systems tend to be based on “single point of failure systems” like Solana and Ethereum.
So, both Web3 and Web5 are decentralised, right? Then what’s the difference?
Well, while it’s true that Web3 is decentralised, it does still store user data in centralised third parties like OpenSea and Coinbase, since it’s down to the companies themselves to create user accounts. According to Dorsey, this can be addressed with a self-sovereign identity service (SSIS) - a decentralised identity management service that enables individuals and organisations to control their own digital identities.
But is Web5 really a whole new digital paradigm, or is it just an extension of the still-under-construction Web3? We want to know your thoughts.