Are you actually the rightful owner of the website you spent days and nights building? You may have uploaded content, built a well-furnished website, and developed a robust website. Web5 was created to provide an escape route from centralized networks that come to control our data.
One of the original free- the-Internet guys Jack Dorsey, founder and former CEO of Twitter, proposed the theoretical concept of Web5 (even as the world is struggling to transition from Web2 to Web3).
Many of us are wondering where did Web4 go even as we visualize the most immediate (and possible) future of Web3, which "which focuses on decentralized applications that use zero-knowledge proofs to secure data, tokenize content, and protect user identities" (1).
The web5 is a combination of the web2 and web3 with the read and write feature of the web2 and decentralized feature of the web3 this combined version lays off significant intervance of the third party controlling units and creates a read-write-perform.
With the help of decentralized web nodes (DWN), decentralized identifiers (DID), and verifiable credentials or self-sovereign identify service (SSIS), Web5 aims to end total data interruption and develop an entirely decentralized version that gives users access to decentralized storage, centralized identities that can move between servers without re-entering the logic process, and authenticated credentials that unlock and grant access.
What inspired the development of web5?
And yet we cannot wait; netizens are tired of rampant fake news and identity duplication. This is because the prevalent Web2 is demand and user-driven. The founder of WWW, Sir Tim Berners Lee, maintains that this leads to centralization and compromises the autonomy and true goal of the internet.
Not only is the big brother watching but also mismanaging the aggregated data. In contrast, Web5 offers data privacy and secures the sovereign digital identity of the user (2).
But Dorsey differs on the suitability and viability of Web3 and its professed aims. His idea leapfrogs and combines Web2 and 3 (hence Web5). According to him, it is much more centralized than claimed. What we need is an adaptation of DLT, a technological system that is cardinal to decentralized bitcoin.
Further individualizing the user experience, Web5 enables seamless interoperability between web-based functionaries, browsers, or apps. Just feed your data once, and one's web identity will be automatically replicated elsewhere.
Although web3 is described as being decentralized, it actually isn't decentralized, despite being a similar version of web2. The key owners of web3, however, are venture funders, beneficiaries, and API infrastructure.
Tokenizing every service provided by web3 by connecting assets to blockchains is completely at odds with what web5 has to offer. Web5 focuses exclusively on a single Bitcoin or blockchain with a specific use case.
The "extra" in the decentralized web
Jack Dorsey's venture, The Block Head (TBH), has claimed that Web 5 will truly make the individual sovereign in control over data while verifying his true identity. An explanatory article in Forbes refers to the double tools of decentralized identifiers and verifiability of credentials as the foundation of Web5 (3).
Despite being a very influential demand group, web users, the most critical demand group of the internet, have been unable to hold our data safe from prying third parties. Web 3 promises command over one's data in a decentralized setup where ill-meaning intermediaries are eliminated, and we decide what to share with whom for what purpose (4).
The open-source approach of Web5 indicates that when a user checks in and presents his data, it is verified using a cryptographic key through the already fed-in DIDs. This enables choice over the consent of the individuals and the elimination of any third parties. In its truest sense, data ownership is the future where one can wallet their digital self, which becomes easily portable.
How does web5 function?
The idea behind web5 is the combination of numerous software components, which enables programmers to concentrate on designing a user experience that is autonomous and to construct a real decentralized area with decentralized identification and storage applications.
A decentralized Web Node (DWN) is a data store designed to give users control over nodes that sync similarly to one another and a decentralized method of content storage.
Using the specified decentralized identifiers, DWN will be used to find the data that is associated with them (DID). DID, a permanent identifier, eliminates the need for centralized registration by allowing you access to the websites and applications you visit.
It also adjusts data based on previously saved data, so that, for instance, if you have a playlist loaded in one music application and join another, you won't need to create one from scratch as the DID will analyze your data and adjust the playlist wherever you go.
The next step is to provide verifiable credentials as the self-sovereign identity service (SSIS), which gives users complete access to and control over their data. Built on the blockchain, smart contracts provide a safe, decentralized method of managing digital identities.
Self-sovereign identity SDK is a toolkit that gives programmers the ability to design applications that best utilize the SSIS tenets. a method for managing identities that enables programmers to design apps that give users access to and control over the data.
In a presentation, the TBH provided real-life case studies of how Web 5 would help us. For instance, it will help Alice navigate her digital identity by possessing a digital pocket that hosts her data.
After registering herself with a decentralized social media to "personal her knowledge," she need not repeatedly feed in the information again for other apps. Every new addition or deletion in her bank account details will be reflected in all other apps she uses.
Another illustration mentioned before is Bob, who like most of us, is tired of (re)creating favorites and playlists on different music apps. Now he can truly enjoy without worrying about starting from scratch on a new app as the portability of his liked albums is confirmed.
The consumers and service providers will also be promised a good CRM experience since customization and personalization would be more authentic.
Too good to be true?
There are concerns about who will own the wallet- whether it will be the same old story of a few digital giants again owning our data under the garb of user convenience. The company mentions that Web5 "lets developers focus on creating delightful user experiences while returning ownership of data and identity to individuals." (5)
The 51 attack is a dangerous possibility where a single user can manipulate the blockchain's mechanism and disrupts its ledgers for nefarious purposes. Web 5 is based on bitcoin's technology; it is not too far-fetched to imagine that one day our data may well be on its way to becoming the most potent identifier of an individual in the coming decades, could be so easily manipulated and grabbed.
Even as the foundational idea of Web 5 remains to tie the loose ends of Web3 and Dorsey lamenting the hijacking of the internet by big cos, it is a moot point on whether Web5 will go down the same road.
Adrian Book, in a Medium post, cautions that Dorsey has failed to elaborate on the technology needed to make the shift and is also unclear about the funding and profit aspect of his enterprise (6).
Critics point out the dangers of such an important tech-tonic shift in the danger of becoming a one-person show or companies finding newer ways to restrict the promised portability by making what Tracey calls "walled gardens" of wallets.
And yet it is where we are headed
The sales pitch for Web5 might appear too good to be true. Still, it captures the consumer sentiments in a rapidly digitalizing world very well as businesses and communities must integrate into a post-pandemic world.
The three pillars of decentralization, confirming identity and portability, are a frontal balm on many of the festering wounds of our inegalitarian digital lives. If implemented in toto, it would be a revolutionary step in democratizing and making the internet a thriving, safe, and vibrant place.
Even before the globe could survive on the web3, the web5 is guaranteed to create a stir among all the industries thanks to emerging firms like Fifthweb (7) that have already entered the race of constructing the futuristic web for obtaining the true decentralized character.
This makes Web5 more of a conceptual intervention in the tech space than a scientific contribution as it uses decades-old blockchain technology. The concept that Web2 was controlled by the scientists, Web3 by the VCs, and Web5 by the people is what sells. So as Web5 puts "individuals at the center" perspective, the much-discussed aim of liberating the internet, aka Dorsey's tweet of "RIP web3 VCs," looks to be fulfilled.