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Web5 Explained: What It Is and How It Is Different From Web3

6 mins
Updated by Ryan Glenn
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Web3 — or web5 — is a buzzword you might have heard floating around the web recently — especially if you are a fan of blockchain technology. Web3 is a decentralized internet that gives users control over their information. It also refers to a utopian version of the internet where apps do not run on servers but through peer-to-peer networks.

The concept of web3 has been around for more than seven years, with some of the biggest names in tech investing billions into the space. Recently, former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is taking this idea one step further with his concept: web5. 

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We explain what web5 is here and how it differs from web3.

The evolution of the internet

evolution of web5

The early days of the internet involved simple hypertext and quickly evolved into more complex technologies. It laid the groundwork for a more sophisticated web, steadily expanding the kind of content published online.

Web2 was next in line. Darcy DiNucci thought up the term “Web2” in 1999. This platform focuses on user-generated content, ease of use, a participatory culture, and users’ ability to share information. It focuses on connecting people through social networks and sharing information in real time.

Web3 takes this one step further, bringing together all forms of connected devices into one place. Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood coined this term in 2014. Web3 enables users to communicate without worrying about compromised privacy or shared data without consent.

Web3 is a decentralized web where users have complete control over their data. It’s a place where people can discover new content and connect without organization restrictions that currently control the internet. As a result, users can communicate without fear of a platform disclosing or compromising their data without their consent or knowledge.

Lastly, the recently announced web5 is widely anticipated as the next major version of the World Wide Web. Its primary objective is to make it easier for programmers to develop decentralized web apps (DWAs) that use credentials that can be independently verified and web nodes that are not centralized. In contrast to the existing system, where middlemen control identifiers, this system uses decentralized identifiers to regain control and ownership of data.

What is web5?

what is web5

The main aim of web5 is to ensure that users have complete ownership over their personal information and data. To do this, teams are working on building a more decentralized system. This allows users to easily manage their identities and control where they store their data.

The current web is accessible to everyone for the exchange of information, but it’s missing a key layer. According to [TBD],

“We struggle to secure personal data with hundreds of accounts and passwords we can’t remember. On the web today, identity and personal data have become the property of third parties.”

Jack Dorsey has already advised individuals to be conscious of what is occurring in this new era of web3. Regarding its ownership and management, web3 is not transparent, according to him.

All these issues are what Web5 aims to solve. The idea is to decentralize our data safely and securely while making it easier for us to use our data!

Tim Berners-Lee referred to Web5 in TED talks as the “emotional web” in 2009. He described it as a system allowing users to create digital identities. People will have complete control over their data and be able to monetize it if they choose.

In the age of mobile devices, some have speculated, web4 already exists. They mean that is a place where devices have become our main way to get information and talk to other people.

For example, on your phone, you can search for information about anything anytime, anywhere. Many people refer to this as web4 because it relies heavily on mobile technology rather than desktop computers or laptops like previous generations did before.

The team behind web5

The team behind web5 is led by Jack Dorsey, the former CEO of Twitter and current CEO of Square. He is also the founder of The Block, a subsidiary company focusing on building new financial infrastructure using bitcoin technology. The Block announced plans to build a new decentralized web (web5) centered on Bitcoin at the beginning of this year.

One of Block’s subsidiaries has been working on web5 — known as TBD. The company has explained what exactly Web5 is. According to TBD, web5 combines the current web (web2) and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. In other words, it brings old-school web functionality with blockchain technology. TBD is one of several business units at Jack Dorsey’s Square that focus on cryptocurrency products.

How does web5 work?

how does web5 work

First, DWNs (Decentralized Web Nodes) are the main core structure of the distributed network for the web nodes that form a peer-to-peer network of web5 users. Users run DWNs themselves on their computer or device. This makes it possible for different web5 users to share, pass and identify information.

The distribution of DWNs among users thus results in a mesh datastore with no central server or authority controlling them. This also makes it possible for users to interact with each other without having to rely on third parties such as Google or Facebook, which often have their agenda when it comes to privacy issues.

Since users control their DWN, they can decide whether to make their data public. It is, therefore, necessary that the user grants access to the data. In any case, the data is private. In the case of private data, the application will call it automatically.

Pillars of web5: TBD

Web5 also works by using DIDs (Decentralized Identifiers) and verifiable credentials. This is a fundamental component that you can use to create self-sovereign identities. The combination allows for the creation of a decentralized identity. This means that users can identify themselves without relying on any single party. In other words, a DID is just a component that touches the public blockchain, meaning it doesn’t have to be stored on the blockchain itself.

DIDs are unique identifiers. They’re self-controlled and user-generated, allowing users to maintain ownership over their identities. Verifiable credentials are used to prove different aspects of an identity. They are used to get credentials from other parties who attest to the capabilities, credibility, and reputation of those who own them. When combined into one conceptual entity called “self-sovereign identity services” (SSIS), these two concepts allow users to establish true ownership over their digital identities.

Web3 vs. web5

comparing with web3

The primary vision of web5 is comparable to that of Web3, yet each has its unique characteristics. Web3 apps’ concepts take the form of smart contracts deployed on public blockchains like Ethereum. Many individuals refer to web3 as a decentralized application (DApps). Its underlying code resides on a blockchain-based decentralized network.

On the other hand, web5 includes decentralized web applications (DWAs) that are not blockchain-based but can communicate with DWNs. This results in forming a peer-to-peer relaying network that exists independently of any public blockchain.

With web5, you have control of your data, which you can save on DWNs. On the other hand, web3 stores data on the decentralized network or distributed file system with IPFS capable of distributing and storing data in a peer-to-peer network system.

When will web5 be available for public use?

Web5 is currently just an open-source project that is still a work in progress. The team still needs some time to figure out when web5 will come out and how it will be used. Mike Brock, in charge of TBD, recently confirmed that there would be no tokens to invest in the web5 ecosystem.

Web5 is the decentralized internet we need

Web5 is the next version of the internet. It’s not quite a reality yet, but it’s close enough that we can see what’s coming with the next version of web browsers and services.

The team behind web5 has been working on this open-source technology for over a decade, and it shows. The creators and early adopters of the idea are still fine-tuning it, as it is still in the early stages of development. The more people who use web5, the more likely it will become part of our everyday lives.

Frequently asked questions

What is a web5?

How does web5 work?

Does web3 have a future?


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Chris Adede
Chris Adede is a versatile professional with five years of experience in content creation, IT, and project management. He has expertise in cryptocurrencies, fintech, and...