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

6 mins
Updated by Ish Bautista
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You may have encountered the buzzwords web3 or web5, especially if you’re in the blockchain technology sector. Web3 decentralizes the internet, placing control of information back into the hands of users. It envisions a utopian internet where apps operate not through centralized servers but via peer-to-peer networks.

Pushing this idea even further, former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey introduced web5. This iteration aims to revolutionize the development of decentralized web apps (DWAs) by providing programmers with more advanced tools and functionalities. This article delves into what web5 is and how it sets it apart 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 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 real-time information.

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.

Finally, web5 is widely anticipated as the next major version of the World Wide Web. Web5’s 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.

A look at internet usage in 2024

Internet use in 2024: DataReportal
Internet use in 2024: DataReportal

Although the spike in internet adoption rates has slowed since its rapid climb in the middle of the last decade, millions of people continue to access the internet for the first time each month.

According to DataReportal, by 2024, 5.35 billion people will be using the internet, which constitutes 66.2 percent of the global population. Over the previous year, internet users increased by 1.8 percent, with 97 million new users going online for the first time in 2023.

What is web5?

The primary goal of web5 is to grant users full ownership of their data. To achieve this, teams have developed a more decentralized framework that simplifies how users manage their identities and control their data storage. Jack Dorsey has urged people to stay informed about the developments in this new phase of the web, pointing out that web3 lacks transparency in its ownership and governance structures.

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.

Dorsey’s leadership in these innovative projects reflects his commitment to reshaping how digital and financial services intersect through decentralized technology. His vision for Web5 aims to revolutionize the internet by ensuring greater user control and privacy through blockchain innovations.

Web5 toolkit unveiled by TBD

TBD projects: TBD
TBD projects: TBD

TBD, a subsidiary of Block (formerly known as Square), one of Jack Dorsey’s business units focusing on crypto products, has been actively developing Web5 technology. The company has launched a new toolkit to enhance the creation of decentralized internet applications, merging traditional web functionalities with blockchain technology.

This toolkit comprises several advanced technologies to support developers:

  • Decentralized identifiers (DIDs): Secure, self-owned identifiers similar to usernames or email addresses.
  • Verified credentials (VCs) and secure digital certificates: Tools that verify personal information such as name, age, and asset ownership.
  • The toolkit: Features decentralized web nodes (DWNs), facilitating decentralized data storage.

Hence, developers can access this toolkit on the official website and start building decentralized applications using the resources provided by TBD’s development platform.

How does web5 work?

how does web5 work

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

top web3 projects cover

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.

Why web5 could be the key to a truly decentralized internet

Web5, envisioned as the next evolution of the internet, is making significant strides toward realization in 2024. An open-source community has been developing this technology for over a decade, bringing it closer to widespread adoption. While its creators and early adopters continue to refine it, web5 demonstrates its potential to transform web browsers and services.

Web5 is set to become a fundamental part of our everyday online interactions as its usage grows, indicating its imminent integration into our digital lives.

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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 blockchain and has published author work with BeInCrypto, Hanshow, and NFT Monday. A project manager at Smart Prop Trader, Chris holds a number of professional qualifications and a BSC in Information Science from Moi University. Previously, Chris worked as a Digital Marketing Manager at Webnavs, where he honed his skills in...