Web3 is one of the latest cutting-edge tech buzzwords. It means little in practice, serving as a sounding board for new ideas about the evolution of the Internet. But however bleeding edge you might be, there is always someone who claims to be further ahead of the curve. Former Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, has put himself forward as one such trailblazer. Now heading the fintech firm Block, Dorsey has skipped a whole number and coined the term Web5 to shill his own cryptocurrency-powered future of communication.
Build It with Bitcoin
Web5, as envisioned by Dorsey, is to be based on blockchain technology, specifically the Bitcoin network. The Bitcoin network’s nature as a distributed peer-to-peer platform makes it decentralized and difficult for any individual or organization to control. This contrasts with Dorsey’s view of Web3, which he has slammed as a centralized concept run by and for the benefit of venture capitalists.
Web3 and Crypto
Web3 is already being sold as a blockchain-based decentralized platform, upon which cryptocurrencies, blockchain ledgers for records, NFTs, and VR metaverses are meant to be built. But Dorsey has stressed that participants will not ‘own’ Web3. Rather, they will be trapped in the same incentive loops and social engineering systems that characterize big tech today.
The concept of Web5 focuses on protecting the privacy and digital identity for the user, letting them manage their own online identity instead of giving information in the form of passwords, biometrics, browsing data, etc., to third parties. A blockchain wallet can serve as an ID, currency storage, and data bank for every user that only that user controls.
A Cry for Attention?
Dorsey’s bold announcement is bombastic and clearly timed to generate hype. But developers have also pointed out that dependency on the Bitcoin network, the oldest and most primitive crypto blockchain, limits Web5 in many practical ways.
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