Jack Dorsey’s new crypto-like project is jumping “4” and jumping the shark at the same time. Through his bitcoin-based company TBD, his Web5 project promises to be everything Web3 isn’t, AKA in his own words, “decentralized.” In TBD’s slideshow describing the project, “decentralized” is used about as much or even more than the word “the.” TBD, a subsidiary of Block, proclaims Web5 will fulfill the original promise of a truly democratized internet space through their “Decentralized Web Platform.” Through this development kit, users can establish apps and web nodes to create options for decentralized identity and data storage.
In the past, Dorsey has been heavily critical of crypto and Web3. While the next wave of the internet has promised to be a truly democratized system not owned by any one individual, Dorsey has said the space has been taken over by venture capitalists.
According to its official website, Web5 is an “extra decentralized web platform” that will provide users with power over their identity and their data. The next step in the evolution of the internet, it will aim at removing third parties’ control over their users’ information. The announcement claims:
Web5 brings decentralized identity and data storage to your applications. It lets developers focus on creating delightful user experiences, while returning ownership of data and identity to individuals.
Web5 leverages Bitcoin, the decentralized monetary network, and a plethora of sound computer science technologies to create a new ecosystem of decentralized identities, data storage and applications in which the users are in control of their personal information.
Fairly decentralized developments in the internet over the past couple of decades such as BitTorrent and Tor have shown that blockchain technology is not a necessary component for decentralization. Rather, the blockchain has only proven to be needed for a very specific purpose – mitigate the double-spend problem to successfully bring peer-to-peer money to the digital realm with Bitcoin.
TBD’s Web5 is made up of software components and services such as decentralized identifiers (DIDs), decentralized web node (DWNs), self-sovereign identity service (SSIS) and a self-sovereign identity software development kit (ssi-sdk). These components let developers focus on building user experiences while more easily enabling decentralized identity and data storage in applications.
Features Will Be Available On Web 5
As mentioned, this web platform is built to provide two core use cases: individuals will have the ability to “own their data”, and they will be able to “control their identity”. These use cases will be supported by wallets, decentralized web nodes (DWNS), and decentralized web apps (DWAS).
In that way, one user will be able to grant authorization to apps and manage their own data without the need for a third-party company. Wallets will also remove the need for users to remember long passwords, as they can simply use their wallets to unlock the apps and always “carry their data with them”.
According to the official website, this decentralized web platform will operate like TBD, as a public good:
Today’s financial systems leave people behind. We build systems for anyone with internet access. And we’re creating it like the web itself: as a public good. Our projects are open source and, where appropriate, built on open standards.
Web5 Will Be Developed by TBD
TBD is a business recently created by Dorsey’s Block, Inc. in order to focus on developing Bitcoin infrastructure.
However, Dorsey now stresses that Web5 could be a larger effort than those other plans. He said in a tweet that Web5 “will likely be [my team’s] most important contribution to the Internet.”
Dorsey, who has long been critical of Web3, then took a jab at Web3 investors by writing “RIP web3 VCs.” Dorsey himself has been subject to blowback for his Bitcoin maximalism and criticism of Ethereum.
Dorsey was also instrumental in helping Twitter adopt crypto before he stepped down as CEO of the social media company last year.
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