Good morning dear readers of Tecnogalaxy, today we will see in detail what is the Web5.

The world is still gaining ground around Web3, a suite of decentralized protocols that add a (arguably) censorship-resistant financial layer to the Internet. Then why did Jack Dorsey, the creator of the Web2 Twitter platform, immediately switch to what he calls “Web5“?

WHERE THE NAME WEB5 COMES FROM

It turns out that, despite the name, Web5 does not follow the Web4 yet to be created. The Web5 platform, announced in 2022, the decentralized and encrypted financial branch of Dorsey’s payment company, Block, is firmly based on Web3 technology, but promises “an extra decentralized web platform”.

To get to the Web5 name, TBD has just added Web3 (an Internet powered by smart contracts based on blockchain) to Web2 (centralized content platforms, such as Twitter or Facebook). Simply put: 3 + 2 = 5.

THE OBJECTIVES OF THE WEB5

Web5’s central idea is to “put you in control of your data and your identity”, a fundamental principle of Web3’s decentralized identity systems. Instead of inviting users to sign up for an account on a centralized platform (such as an Instagram account), Web3 protocols refer to users via their cryptographic wallet addresses.

Protocols like Ethereum Name Service allow users to turn the confusing alphanumeric string of their wallet into a word or phrase (like MARIO.eth) similar to how Domain Name Service (DNS) allowed websites to have addresses like coindesk.com rather than a long string of numbers like 55.125.181.444. Decentralized data storage is an existing concept and is provided by platforms such as Filecoin and IPFS.

Dorsey’s Web5 offers similar functionality. Instead of an Internet that relies on accounts provided by companies that hold customer data “prisoners in databases”, Web5 pushes for “a new class of decentralized apps and protocols that put people at the center”.

There are three pillars at the heart of Web5: decentralized property identifiers, verifiable credentials, and decentralized web nodes for storing data and forwarding messages. It looks very similar to what decentralized identity services have done since Ethereum Name Service was launched in May 2017.

WHAT CHANGES FROM WEB3?

So, what’s new here, other than yet another stab in decentralized identities? Part of the answer may lie in Dorsey’s loyalty to bitcoin and his aggressive rejection of Web3 culture. For Dorsey, bitcoin, launched in a truly decentralized way in 2009, is the only cryptocurrency that matters. As a result, Web5 runs without “special utility tokens or subjective consent” which is part of protocols controlled by governance-token, decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) such as Ethereum Name Service.

In this way, Web5 sounds like an attempt to free Web3 from the centralized points to which Dorsey attributes the merit of having tainted the mission of decentralization. Zion, a self-defined Web5 app, uses the Bitcoin base layer to help content creators collaborate with fans.

The other difference from Web3 is that Web5 works with existing Web2 services; it does not try to replace them entirely. The example of Groove adding a playlist to the decentralized identifier of a Web5 user, which another music service, Tidal, can use to model their playlists within the app. The decentralized identifier prevents the user from having to recreate their preferences on another platform.

The other example of Web5 in TBD’s action involves a user who grants his hotel, airline and rental car provider the ability to add information to his database about his trip. You can revoke your access at any time and choose another service to “help you view your itinerary”. Again, the idea is to tie down data that is usually locked within centralized services. Consider it similar to when sites and apps use a user’s Google account to log in, but in this case it will be a single access with a decentralized network of nodes.

Will it work? Time will tell. So far, the only decentralized identity service that has taken hold to any extent is the Ethereum Name Service, and the only cached data storage system is the interplanetary file service. But it is not clear how the Web5 would make money.

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