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Thorsten Hirsch
Thorsten Hirsch

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Web5: A Better Web3 Approach?

tl;dr: On June 10 Jack Dorsey (ex Twitter CEO) announced Web5, which is basically Web3, but without the token scams.

The Blockchain Wars

The crypto space is somehow divided in Bitcoin maximalists, who accept no other god blockchain. Their position is that Bitcoin is the only valid use case for blockchains. It's also the only distributed and secure blockchain, as well as the only one that's not a Ponzi scheme. Unfortunately it is wasting enormous amounts of energy.

On the other side we have Ethereum and all the more advanced blockchains, which are basically frameworks for building decentralised apps on top. The problem: many "apps" are just coins, whose developers might or might not be scammers, using the coins to fund their projects outside of the regulated investment channels. Most of these blockchains do not kill our planet, as they use other consensus mechanisms than Bitcoin. Well, Ethereum still does, but at least they admit it's a problem and try to migrate.


Jack Dorsey is a Bitcoin maxi, but he also likes the Web3 idea of decentralised apps with self-sovereign identity and user controlled data management for privacy. So he and his company TBD are now developing the building blocks for such applications in the Bitcoin space.

The key difference to Web3 is: only identity is stored on-chain. Everything else is stored on user-run nodes. This means: no smart contracts, no "shitcoins" (I don't like this term), and no fraudulent tokenomics with air drops, yield farming, or staking.

Building Blocks

β€’ Decentralised identifiers (DiDs). They are unique IDs for every user, like a public key (wallet address) in Web3. They are implemented as a Layer 2 protocol on Bitcoin (like Lightning) called ION.

β€’ Verifiable credentials (VCs) are additional information for each user. This might your home address, a digital signature, your age, or something else. AFAIK access can be implemented with ZK algorithms to protect privacy.

β€’ Decentralised Web Nodes (DWNs). DWNs are decentralised computers. They store data and facilitate communication between DiDs. Analogous to smart contracts in Web3, but run locally (I guess this means on a single node) instead of "on the blockchain" (which means on every node).

β€’ Decentralised Web Apps (DWAs). Users interact with Web5 using a DWA. This is like a web app with a key difference: users control their own data and there is no intermediary.


Since applications cannot be implemented directly in Bitcoin (due to the lack of smart contracts) Web5 brings building blocks, such as an L2 protocol for identity and data management. This seems like a bad deal for developers, as everything gets more complex, but it might solve the problems and frauds we see in Web3 to some extent... so why not give it a try?

Further Information

You can read more about Web5 on TBD's project website:

They also have slides (PDF).


I have to thank @ntkris, because I copied a lot from his tweets for this article.

Top comments (3)

jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel πŸ•΅πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Fayard • Edited

rant: on

Web5 already? Massive FOMO. I barely understood Web3 and never heard about Web4.

Man I dislike this "Web n++" naming so much...

Even the original "Web 2.0" thing was vague and arbitrary. Since then , further iterations have less and less to do with the world wide web.

IMHO calling something "Web42" seems like a cheap way to imply without proving it that whatever your thing is, is going to be the future and is going to be hugely important like the actual world wide web. Which was a world historical revolution similar to the invention of the wheel, the printing press or the industrial revolution. How likely is that?

Bitcoin is a good example: Bitcoin is clearly not the future. It's the future like lead in gasoline was the future. Solving a short term issue while creating massive long term pollution. Bitcoin is something that must be given up voluntarily or more likely regulated away if we want to have a future, given the energy-climate crisis. Which is not gonna go away while Bitcoin advocates close their eyes or don't even care.

Maybe your thing is the future though. I don't have a clue. Who am I to know what the future will look like?

But my point then is that extraordinary claims like this should come with extraordinary evidence.

And a mere list of complex technologies isn't that.

Sure, your technology is much more complex than the world wide web or the wheel. But that's not a good thing per se. In fact that's probably what makes it less universally useful.

rant: off

thorstenhirsch profile image
Thorsten Hirsch • Edited

I completely agree. The Ethereum developers coined the web3 term very early and so far I feel it's inappropriate to use it, because Ethereum hasn't delivered on its promise to be "the next web", yet.

However with Jack coining the term web5 (and skipping web4) the name has become completely nonsensical. I'm not sure if this was the intention, but yeah, who would now want to name a new technology web4 or web6? So maybe the best thing web5 has already brought us was to kill these controversial names for good.

Now it might come to you as a surprise (at least it was for me), but Jack's web5 technology is actually based on W3C standards, e.g. DID - and it is not just a proposal, it already has the "Recommended" status. So web5 might actually be the future of the web despite its clickbait name.

criptoportalx profile image
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