Web 5.0: What It Is & Why It Will Be Better Than Web 3.0
Ever since the World Wide Web was first brought online in 1993, technological advancements have been developed and introduced for the purpose of improving the internet and providing people with a better user experience.
Web 1.0 is notable for introducing technologies like the shopping cart and the ability to create static web pages. This era of the internet lasted from 1989–2005. Then came Web 2.0, which facilitated much more interactive features, as well as user-generated content.
Soon, Web 3.0 entered the scene and, despite how new it is, this stage of the internet is based on web services and semantic markup. The focus of Web 3.0 is on the individual user. However, just as we’re getting used to the idea of Web 3.0 and further developing it along with Web 4.0, we’ve received news that Web 5.0 is fast approaching.
This guide explains what Web 5.0 is and why it's going to be better than Web 3.0.
What Is Web 5.0?
Web 5.0 is meant to be a decentralized web platform that provides developers with the ability to create decentralized web applications with verifiable credentials and decentralized web nodes. The purpose of this platform is to reclaim control and ownership of user data.
Despite the fact that Web 5.0 remains in development, there are already clear indications of what this platform is going to be. At the moment, it's believed that Web 5.0 will be a combination of Web 2.0 and Web 3.0, and it will focus on creating a linked web that is not only intelligent, but also emotional. This means being able to communicate directly with its users, just as people can communicate with each other.
Once it reaches its final form, Web 5.0 should be fully executing and highly powerful. The goal of this project is to create emotional interactions between computers and humans. At the same time, the project also seeks to give users total control over their identity and data. The status quo is such that the internet is neutral when it comes to emotions — since it can't identify how the user is feeling — and user data is owned by third parties. However, Web 5.0 should be transformational in this regard.
An example of a website that could be available with Web 5.0 is one that maps a person's emotions. When wearing headphones, users can interact with the content on the website, which will in turn interact with the person's emotions, perhaps via any identifiable changes in facial recognition.
Who Is Jack Dorsey?
Jack Dorsey is a popular programmer, philanthropist and internet entrepreneur who’s primarily known as the co-founder of Twitter, Inc. He also founded Block, Inc., which is a financial payments company.
Over the years, Dorsey has been at the forefront of many internet-based technologies, giving him a comprehensive understanding of how the web works and how it can be improved.
In recent months, Dorsey has expressed criticism of Web 3.0 and its current limitations. Dorsey believes that ownership is a primary concern when it comes to the implementation of Web 3.0.
He has stated that users don't actually own this version of the internet, and that ownership is still tied to limited partnerships and venture capitalists. His belief is that Web 3.0 is still a centralized program with a slightly different label. Dorsey's bias that Web 3.0 is still centralized in some regards has led him to a vision of what can be achieved with Web 5.0.
What Is TBD?
TBD is a recently created platform that's considered to be the Bitcoin-focused subsidiary of Block, Inc. As mentioned previously, Dorsey has a vision for Web 5.0. It was announced in early June 2022 that TBD would be working on developing Web 5.0, the basis of which is built on Bitcoin’s foundations (see more below under
Web 5.0 Road Map). According to TBD, Web 5.0 will bring data storage and decentralized identity to applications that individuals own outright.
The platform will also allow developers to create fantastic user experiences while also making sure that each user owns their data and identity. TBD believes that personal data and identity are currently owned by third parties, and that this ownership merely shifts to other third parties when it comes to Web 3.0.
Even though the Web 5.0 project was announced in early June, it remains under open-source development, which means that there’s yet to be a firm release date for the platform. The leader of TBD, Mike Brock, has stated that their Web 5.0 platform will beat out other Web 5.0 models by not only using a blockchain approach to developing an identity-focused and censorship-free experience.
While TBD has begun development on Web 5.0, their team expects development to be challenging because of the need to discard many assumptions of what decentralizing the internet actually means.
How Will Web 5.0 Work?
To better understand what Web 5.0 is, consider how virtual assistants are able to predict users’ needs by studying their behaviors. Even when there aren't many clues, virtual assistants can make accurate predictions of what users require. Web 5.0 is essentially a predictive virtual assistant on a much broader scale. This version of the internet will be able to interpret different pieces of information on much more complex levels, which means that these interpretations will use emotion as well as logic.
As such, Web 5.0 should act in a manner that’s symbiotic with a person's everyday life — which means that it will be organically tied together with everything a person does. Artificial intelligence (AI) allows computers to communicate in ways that are similar to a human’s. With this technology, computers can reason, think, and finally respond with user input — which means that Web 5.0 may be a lot closer than many people imagine.
Keep in mind that Web 5.0 is also meant to focus much more on the individual when compared to Web 3.0. In theory, Web 5.0 should provide each user with a completely new and different experience. If it can perceive a person's emotions and create the appropriate response, then the interactions would vary from person to person. As advancements continue to be made with AI and technology as a whole, a complete picture of what Web 5.0 is should come into focus.
Key Features of Web 5.0
While Web 5.0 should have many features that will benefit users once it’s been fully developed and implemented, there are two core features currently of focus with this platform: The ability to control your identity, and the ability to own all of your data. With the current web, your identity and data are effectively owned by corporations and other third parties.
Control Your Identity
One of the main use cases for Web 5.0 involves being in control of your own identity. For example, let's say that Sarah has a digital wallet that's able to securely manage her data, authorizations and identity for external connections and apps. Sarah uses this wallet to enter her sign-in data to a non-centralized social media application.
Since this application has been connected with her identity, she won't need to go through the trouble of creating a profile. All of the posts, connections and relationships that are made with the app are stored on her decentralized web node. At this point, it's possible for Sarah to change applications whenever she wants — in which case her social persona would go with her.
Own Your Data
Another use case of Web 5.0 involves owning your own data: Jake loves music, but hates that his personal data is locked with one vendor. This approach to personal data storage requires Jake to find the same songs and create the same playlists with every music app that he uses.
Even though these apps are currently vendor-locked, Web 5.0 makes it possible for Jake to store his data on a decentralized web node, which gives him the ability to provide each music app he uses with access to his preferences and settings. As such, his personalized music experience could be automatically added to every platform he accesses.
Pros and Cons of Web 5.0
Even though Web 5.0 isn't fully formed at this point, there are already some clear pros and cons you might want to be aware of.
The primary benefits associated with this platform include:
The eCommerce industry will be able to adapt to the emotive aspect of the internet, and create real-time interactions with users.
The increase in emotive elements with this version of the web will be more conducive to users’ creativity.
Web 5.0 is set to be a fully decentralized platform that's powered by the blockchain, and is built on the structure already available with Bitcoin.
Users can keep their data and identity private with full ownership.
While there are many benefits of using this platform, there are also some potential downsides that include the following:
The platform is still in its infancy, which means that the end results of Web 5.0 remain unknown.
Some of the tangible benefits of this platform depend on businesses adopting it.
Web 5.0 vs. Web 3.0
The key similarities between Web 5.0 and Web 3.0 include the following:
Both of these platforms are built with a focus on blockchain technology.
People will be able to interact with one another without needing an intermediary.
Searches and suggestions can be tailored to user needs because of the focus on machine learning and artificial intelligence.
While these platforms share many features, there are also some key differences:
Web 5.0 will allow computers to respond to emotional cues because of a person's electric signals in their brain, which isn't possible with Web 3.0.
The Web 5.0 version of the internet is meant to be fully decentralized, which means that intermediaries or governments can't store or control a user's data.
Web 5.0 is the only platform that will allow users to seamlessly switch from app to app with their digital wallet.
Evolution of The Web
The Novelty of Web 1.0
The internet was first brought to fruition by Tim Berners-Lee when he worked at CERN, a European research center. Some of the core technologies associated with the internet that were created by Berners-Lee include HTTP, HTML and URL.
Web 1.0 first began in the early-to-mid 1990s, which was when web browsers like Netscape and Internet Explorer were introduced. While the World Wide Web was novel over three decades ago, Web 1.0 was a very basic version of what the modern internet is today.
At first, users had access only to fully static web pages, which were stored on servers. The types of actions that users could perform were limited to reading news articles, writing and sending emails, and retrieving pages. There were only a few interactive features whic users could access with Web 1.0. It wasn't until the creation of online banking that interactive functionality gradually expanded.
The Rise of Web 2.0
As technology continued to develop, the Web 1.0 platform was growing and expanding to include additional interactive and dynamic features. Despite the inclusion of new features, Web 1.0 didn't allow for much user creation. In the early 21st century, Web 2.0 was developed and introduced. This version of the web was the mainstay until Web 3.0 became more widely adopted over the past few years.
Web 2.0 changed many of the assumptions that existed with Web 1.0. While web pages were static with Web 1.0, they became interactive and socially connected with the emergence of Web 2.0. User-generated content also became far more common.
After the introduction of Web 2.0, many companies focused on creating and launching applications to bring large numbers of people onto their platforms. With this approach, companies were able to collect user data, which made it easier to monetize their users.
Web 2.0 can be viewed as a read/write network as well as a social web, both of which are interactive. The inclusion of user-generated content meant that users were able to operate software and develop content. These features made it possible for users to upload a video to YouTube, or interact with other users on Facebook.
The Transition Into Web 3.0
While Web 3.0 is still evolving, it's mainly centered around making sure that applications are able to connect with additional applications independently, which also allows them to execute functions without user input. The data and information stored on the internet are much more connected via technologies like machine learning, the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality.
With Web 3.0, applications are able to interpret data to create additional analyses and efficiencies. The innovations of Web 3.0 allow for features such as contextual search which, once fully implemented, will allow for:
Tailor-made search options
While applications are able to execute functions and connect data without user input, Web 3.0 doesn't permit these applications to provide context or make complex decisions. This is where Web 5.0 becomes useful.
Web 5.0 Road Map
As mentioned previously, this version of the internet that's being developed by TBD will be based entirely around Bitcoin, which is mainly due to Jack Dorsey's support for Bitcoin and his belief that Bitcoin is the most secure decentralized network in the world. By relying solely on the Bitcoin blockchain, Web 5.0 won't need to use the various protocols and centralized blockchain networks on which Web 3.0 is based.
While TBD has yet to fully establish a detailed road map of Web 5.0, there are some details that point toward what the next developments will be. The goal of this project is to create a class of fully decentralized protocols and apps that allow social communications, financial interactions and apps to be filtered through Web 5.0 decentralized apps that store your user data with you. To achieve this goal, TBD is focusing on further developing:
A self-sovereign identity service
A self-sovereign identity SDK
A decentralized web node
Do We Really Need Web 5.0?
You may be wondering if Web 5.0 is really necessary. Based on everything that's been discussed and detailed in this article, there are some clear benefits associated with this version of the internet that aren't currently possible with the Web 3.0 version. For starters, Web 3.0 isn't fully decentralized.
According to Jack Dorsey, people don't fully own and control their identity and data with Web 3.0. At the moment, Web 5.0 should be viewed as an enhanced iteration of Web 3.0. While the advancements might not appear as notable as those adopted in the transition from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, they should provide users with significant additional advantages.
The Bottom Line
While Web 5.0’s technology is still being developed, it’s an appealing platform that promises to provide users with the ability to own and control their data and identity. Once Web 5.0 has been implemented, it may be possible to store all user data in a decentralized digital wallet, which makes for a much more secure user experience. If you want to keep current with any new Web 5.0 developments, Jack Dorsey and the TBD website will be providing regular updates.