What is Web5?

What is Web5?

An extra decentralized web that puts you in control of your data and identity”

Web5 is all about an evolution of the web as we know it today.

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A revamp of the current model we all know where personal data is held in centralized silos(Google, Amazon, Microsoft++) to a decentralized web where people have total control over their personal data.

We’ve been told our data is secure but the reality is that security breaches of corporate and government database happen regularly.

Most of us use globally unique identifiers like telephone numbers, email addresses, usernames on social media, passports IDs, drivers license IDs, tax IDs, health IDs, Loyalty card IDs and insurance IDs.

Products today also have identifiers like serial numbers, barcodes, EPCs, RFIDs and the web uses URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers) and unique URLs (Uniform Resource Locator).

The vast majority of these globally unique identifiers and the data they are connected to are not under our control.

They are owned by the entities that issue them and all associated data is held in trust within these entities.

Todays web is the result of modeling our centralized world into the web world. We gave up identity ownership for convenient services and now it’s time to change that.

Web5 is about taking back control of our identity on the web.


Web5 is…

A Decentralized Web Platform (DWP) that enables developers to write Decentralized Web Apps (DWAs) using Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) and Decentralized Web Nodes (DWNs), returning ownership and control over identity and data back to individuals.

Web5 is self-sovereign identity.

Decentralized Identifiers

At the core of web5 are DIDs.

Here is the definition of DIDs from the W3 consortium, the international community that develops open standards to support the long-term growth of the web.

Decentralized identifiers (DIDs) are a new type of identifier that enables verifiable, decentralized digital identity. A DID refers to any subject (e.g., a person, organization, thing, data model, abstract entity, etc.) as determined by the controller of the DID. In contrast to typical, federated identifiers, DIDs have been designed so that they may be decoupled from centralized registries, identity providers, and certificate authorities.

DIDs are self-owned and self-generated identifiers that enable decentralized identity authentication and routing.

  • No centralized providers or trusted authorities
  • No special utility tokens or subjective consensus
  • Highly resistant to all forms of interdiction
  • IDs can be made universally discoverable

Verifiable Credentials

Verifiable Credentials are data formats and models for cryptographic presentation and verification of claims. They can represent information found in physical credentials, such as a passport, medical card or drivers license


Decentralized Web Nodes (DWN)

Decentralized Web Nodes are data storage and message relay systems that serve as the foundation for decentralized apps and protocols.

DWN is an emerging standard from the DIF (Decentralized Identity Foundation) that is focused on developing the foundational components of an open, standards-based, decentralized identity ecosystem.

Here are some of the features that TBD has on the roadmap for their DWN.


Identity Wallets

Similar to a bitcoin wallet, identity wallets will provide a user experience with features and functionality to manage credentials and app data stored in the decentralized web nodes(DWNs).

Instead of creating accounts on all of the websites where you share your information, identity wallets will put all of that data under your control.

Here are some of the features that TBD has on the roadmap for an identity wallet.


Web5 Network Topology

Bringing it all together here in a network topology diagram, you can see how the combination of DIDs and Decentralized Web Nodes produces a Web of DID-secured messaging, data sharing, and credential exchange.

Web5 can replace the one-off protocols we have today such as the ones used for encrypted messaging and photo sharing, with universal standards for all types of semantic data exchange.


Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)

PWA stands for Progressive Web App, a standard for installable web apps that is implemented in all major browsers today. These types of websites give users an experience on similar native apps.

PWAs work offline, are installable, progressively enhanced, responsively designed, re-engageable, linkable, discoverable, network independent, and secure.

I took these definitions below from Mozillas definition and descripton of PWAs

  • Discoverable, so the contents can be found through search engines.
  • Installable, so it can be available on the device’s home screen or app launcher.
  • Linkable, so you can share it by sending a URL.
  • Network independent, so it works offline or with a poor network connection.
  • Progressively enhanced, so it’s still usable on a basic level on older browsers, but fully-functional on the latest ones.
  • Re-engageable, so it’s able to send notifications whenever there’s new content available.
  • Responsively designed, so it’s usable on any device with a screen and a browser—mobile phones, tablets, laptops, TVs, refrigerators, etc.
  • Secure, so the connections between the user, the app, and your server are secured against any third parties trying to get access to sensitive data.

These features and all the advantages offered by current web applications provide a great foundation for creating great apps for your users and customers.


I really like where this is going. Going to keep following this as it develops.

What are your thoughts on Web 5?

Additional Resources

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