What is Web5, Jack Dorsey’s ‘Most Important Contribution’

The internet is evolving gradually, from dial-up connections and IRC chatrooms to social networks, and now a new step forward with the recently announced Web 5 by former Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey.

Here are the stages in the evolution of the internet:

Web 1.0 (1990s – 2004/2005): Static pages of free information, hyperlinks and surfing, IRC chats, blogs, instant messaging

Web 2.0 (2004/5 – Present): Social media, Wiki, Blogs, Forums, Live streams, user data as currency

Web 3.0 (2014 – Present): Blockchain-based internet using smart contracts. Term coined by Polkadot and Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood. Using wallets like MetaMask to login into websites, using tokens to buy and sell. Decentralized and democratic internet. Main focus on Privacy, Data Security, Scalability.

Web 5.0 (2021 -): Term popularized by Jack Dorsey. Singular identity and login for all of internet. Ownership of identity and personal information. User takes control back over their data and identity. Bitcoin blockchain based, rather that use of smart contracts.

TBD, a part of The Block Head, the venture founded by Dorsey, has published details of what looks like a working concept. Web5 is yet to be released, and will be open source. It will be a competitor to Web 3 which is based on Ethereum and Smart Contracts, and will bring the Bitcoin Blockchain to the internet.

(There is no investment being accepted in tokens or crypto for Web5.)

What is Web5?

The opening statement at TBD, a part of The Block Head states:

“We’re building the next generation of the decentralized web, returning data back to users. You’re welcome to join.”

What they are building?

Protocols (rules to govern applications that will be built by others),
Standards (benchmarks to meet while building applications)
Dev communities (groups to build apps for Web5)

What is the Web5 protocol?

It’s called the tbDEX protocol (which means it may change later). It’s the first system. It will allow users to share information and transact without middlemen to capture data or ask for fees.

What are the initial projects?

The web page currently lists two projects: TBDEX and Web5.


What it is: TBDEX will integrate conventional banks, financial institutions and organizations by assigning them a node, where they can enable transactions in fiat or crypto.

The Whitepaper states:

“…any PFI can run a node on the network without third-party approval by any individual, federation, or organization. Each PFI will be identified via DIDs and VCs. PFIs can be, but are not limited to, fintech companies, regional banks, large institutional banks, or other financial institutions; PFIs have access to fiat payment systems and the ability to facilitate fiat payments in exchange for tokenized cryptocurrency assets or vice versa.”

TBDEX is being built because the legacy fiat system is slow, costly, never quite final, and exclusion oriented. TDEX will be open, decentralized and permissionless, just like Bitcoin.


What it is: Described as “an extra decentralized web platform”. On a Web5 based app, the user will be in control of their data and identity.

The problem it will solve: “On the web today, identity and personal data have become the property of third parties.”

Solution: Decentralized identity and data storage.

But why is Web 3.0 not sufficient to address centralized platform data collection? According to Dorsey, there are two major flaws with current blockchain based apps and platforms – although they say they are open sourced and decentralized, they are actually controlled by a small group of venture capitalists and partners. The other flaw is single point of failure, like in Ethereum, as claimed by Dorsey.

Components of Web5: Decentralized identifiers, web node storage (DWNS) and apps (DWAS), and self-sovereign identity service.

Web5 features


Use Cases

TBD describes two uses cases.

Social identity and login: Alice can create a single identity using her Web5 wallet. There is no need to create a profile to login to a social platform! Moreover, all her lists, posts and activities are stored with her on her web node. When Alice goes to another platform, she can carry all of this along.

Single store of preferences, lists and likes: Bob creates only one list of his favorite music playlists. When Bob visits another music platform, the service can collect the playlists without him doing the work every time he goes to a different web platform.

Final word

The financial systems are leaving people behind. Web5 and TBDEX will give access to anyone with an internet connection. Just like the world wide web, Web5 is being built for the public good.

The mission of TBDEX shows concern about the following flaws in the current financial system:

  1. The focus on creditworthiness
  2. Paying of account fees
  3. Censorship or exclusion of some

All work of TBD will be open source and licensed under Apache 2.0.

Web 5 working concepts can be accessed here: https://developer.tbd.website/projects/web5/

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