By Kate Irwin
Jack Dorsey thinks Web3 is a joke, so he’s making Web5 instead.
Dorsey’s TBD, a subsidiary company within Block (previously known as Square), announced today that it is building “Web5: An extra decentralized web platform.”
TBD launched in July 2021 with the aim of creating “an open developer platform” focused on decentralized finance and Bitcoin. Now TBD has its first offering: a platform that promises a new version of the internet in which users will have full control over their own data.
“This will likely be our most important contribution to the internet. Proud of the team,” Dorsey wrote Friday morning.
Dorsey also took a not-so-subtle shot at “Web3,” which refers to the next iteration of the internet—one that its proponents argue will return the ownership of data to users through decentralized technologies like blockchain networks.
“RIP web3 VCs,” Dorsey tweeted.
Dorsey has in the past been critical of current Web3 models that rely on venture capital funding, singling out Andreessen Horowitz in particular. His use of “Web5” appears to be another deliberate, and cheeky, way to publicly address those concerns.
In terms of what Dorsey’s Web5 will actually do, TBD’s website states that the current iteration of the internet is still missing an “identity” layer.
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“On the web today, identity and personal data have become the property of third parties. Web5 brings decentralized identity and data storage to your applications. It lets devs focus on creating delightful user experiences, while returning ownership of data and identity to individuals,” TBD’s website reads.
TBD says it wants to create a decentralized web platform to solve this problem. It will be made up of “a new class of decentralized apps and protocols,” according to its website.
If you know anything about Dorsey and his love of Bitcoin (and disdain for all other cryptocurrencies), then it should come as no surprise that Web5 will rely on the Bitcoin blockchain in order to work. Dorsey’s Web5 will use ION, which is a layer-2 protocol built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain.
And unlike the Web3 apps that make use networks such as Ethereum, Web5 will not involve the creation and sale of new tokens.
“Let me clear this up right now, everybody: No. There are no tokens to invest in with web5. Kthx,” TBD’s Lead Mike Brock wrote.
But TBD’s introduction of Web5 today has everyone asking a different question: What happened to Web4?
Perhaps Dorsey just wants to get as far away from Web3 as possible.