What is Web5?

TBD’s Definition of Web5

I should first give credit where it is due: the TBD initiative at Block, headed up by Daniel Buchner and initiated by Jack Dorsey, coined the term Web5. On the front page of their website introducing Web5 to the world, here is how they define it:

My Proposed Definition of Web5

After discussion with dozens of SSI pros (listed in last week’s post), I’ve discovered a surprising amount of agreement — though not unanimity — with this proposed definition for Web5:

Web5 Technologies

I originally grouped this list by tech stack (Ion, Aries, KERI, etc.), but since several items were used by more than one stack (VCs, DIDs, etc.), it’s now simply alphabetical.

What About Blockchain?

Blockchain can enable “autonomous control of authentic data and relationships”, which is why we used it when we conceived and wrote Hyperledger Indy, Aries, and Ursa and built Sovrin. Blockchain underpins most of the Web5 Technologies listed above, so it certainly has its place within Web5. That said, with Web3 — which I define as the decentralized transfer of value — blockchain technology is required due to its double-spend proof and immutability characteristics, whereas with Web5 blockchain is useful, but not required. Therefore, I consider blockchain to be primarily a Web3 technology because Web3 couldn’t exist without it.

It’s Up to You

Anyone who reads my last piece and this one will get the clear feeling that I like both the label and vision of Web5, and my affinity for it has only grown as I write about and use it in conversation. It just works well in conveying a nice grouping of all these abstract concepts, and in ways that the comparable mess of prior terms did not.

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