Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently announced his vision for a new decentralized web platform that is being called Web 5.0 and is being built with an aim to return “ownership of data and identity to individuals”. What is Web 5.0, and how will it be different from Web 3.0 and Web 2.0?
What do the terms Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 mean?
Web 1.0 was the first generation of the global digital communications network. It is often referred to as the “read-only” Internet made of static web-pages that only allowed for passive engagement.
The next stage in the evolution of the web was the “read and write” Internet. Users were now able to communicate with servers and other users leading to the creation of the social web. This is the world wide web that we use today.
Web 3.0 is an evolving term that is used to refer to the next generation of Internet – a “read-write-execute” web – with decentralization as its bedrock.
It speaks about a digital world, built leveraging the blockchain technology, where people are able to interact with each other without the need of an intermediary. Web 3.0 will be driven by Artificial Intelligence and machine learning where machines will be able to interpret information like humans.
What is Web 5.0?
Being developed by Dorsey’s Bitcoin business unit, The Block Head (TBH), Web 5.0 is aimed at “building an extra decentralized web that puts you in control of your data and identity”.
Talking about the idea on its website, the TBH says: “The web democratized the exchange of information, but it’s missing a key layer: identity. 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.”
Simply put, Web 5.0 is Web 2.0 plus Web 3.0 that will allow users to ‘own their identity’ on the Internet and ‘control their data’.
Both Web 3.0 and Web 5.0 envision an Internet without threat of censorship – from governments or big tech, and without fear of significant outages.
Replying to a Twitter question if there was any difference between Web 5.0 and Web 3.0, Dorsey argued that Web 3.0 isn’t truly decentralized or owned by its users, but is instead controlled by various “venture capitalists and limited partners”.
What are the use cases for Web 5.0?
On its website, the TBT presents two use cases for how Web 5.0 will change things in the future.
About changing the “control of identity”, it says: “Alice holds a digital wallet that securely manages her identity, data, and authorizations for external apps and connections. Alice uses her wallet to sign in to a new decentralized social media app. Because Alice has connected to the app with her decentralized identity, she does not need to create a profile, and all the connections, relationships, and posts she creates through the app are stored with her, in her decentralized web node. Now Alice can switch apps whenever she wants, taking her social persona with her.”
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Talking about giving users control over their own data, it cities example of another user, Bob, and describes him as a music lover who hates having his personal data locked to a single vendor as it forces him to regurgitate his playlists and songs over and over again across different music apps.
“Thankfully there’s a way out of this maze of vendor-locked silos: Bob can keep this data in his decentralized web node. This way Bob is able to grant any music app access to his settings and preferences, enabling him to take his personalized music experience wherever he chooses,” it adds.
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