Jack Dorsey, Web5 and the Internet Computer Protocol

Paolo ∞
Paolo ∞
Jack Dorsey, Web5 and the Internet Computer Protocol
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey announced the Web5 concept not long ago. The pillars of his vision are the same as the Internet Computer Protocol's.

Decentralized Web Platforms Are The Future of The Internet


Dorsey, founder and former CEO of Twitter announced his plans to build Web5 earlier this year. This is what Block, Dorsey's technology conglomerate best known for its payment service Square, is focused on developing: a decentralized web platform for the masses.

After a time of silence Block declared its intent to compete with Web3 VCs by clarifying its plan for Web5. Based on the premises of the presentation they published online, Block wants to build a decentralized web platform that is currently impossible to create on the majority of existing web3/blockchain infrastructures.

However, Block's goal is to build exactly what the Internet Computer Protocol already serves as: a decentralized web platform.

In fact, The Internet Computer is already capable of hosting everything that Web5 is promising in the future.

This raises a practical question: could a blockchain-based web completely replace the cloud-based web? Will it be necessary?

We are very early to this technology, so it's important that we dig deeper into this latest innovation of the internet in order to understand it.

In this article, we’re going to go deeper into the features Block’s Web5 is promising and the infrastructure of the Internet Computer which already work as a decentralized web platform.

What Is Web5?

Web5 is a Decentralized Web Platform that enables developers to leverage Decentralized Identifiers, Verifiable Credentials, and Decentralized Web Nodes to write Decentralized Web Apps, returning ownership and control over identity and data to individuals.

-Block
from Block's official Web5 presentation

The Evolution Of Web5, According to Block:

from Block's official Web5 presentation

In this slide, Block shows the differences between what the internet looks like today (Web2) and how they want to see the Web evolve.

Internet Computer Protocol Is "Web5"

The evolution Block outlines above is already happening. The Internet Computer Protocol is a decentralized web platform, exactly as Jack Dorsey imagines Web5. The Internet Computer Protocol solves the same problems outlined in Block's presentation by creating a public internet layer based on blockchain technology.

From its inception, the mission and vision of the DFINITY Foundation has been to create a public resource of decentralized cloud computing with high performance and infinite capacity through the Internet Computer.

How? Through the use of advanced smart contracts called canisters.

Anything can be built with canisters. Furthermore, dApps can be 100% hosted on the Internet Computer blockchain, which is made up of decentralized data centers and nodes, unlike other chains which are largely hosted on centralized cloud services.

Internet Computer dApps are 100% decentralized, 100% on blockchain.

If the Internet Computer, which is categorized as "Web3" already exists, why is Jack Dorsey and Block so focused on branding their product as "Web5"?

Why Are Jack Dorsey and Block Talking About Web5?

A lot of jokes have been made about Web5, as blockchain technology (which is still very new and underdeveloped) is referred to as Web3. So what about Web 4?

According to Dorsey and Block, Web2 + Web3 = Web5.

from Block's official Web5 presentation

It turns out that Dorsey's name for Web5 comes from the limiting assumptions of what Web3 is, and adding that with the existing internet, Web2.

However, the Internet Computer already functions as "Web5, providing a decentralized blockchain web layer where anything can be built 100% on-chain and is governed by the NNS (Network Nervous System), which is the largest functioning DAO in existence.

Block's Need For “Web5” Branding

Builders in the Web3 space currently claim to work with blockchain technology. This is not quite true. The advantages of the blockchain are neutralized by a dependency of centralized, legacy services.

Most “web3” dApps are in fact using a blockchain for minimal logic and data. The bulk muscle of these dApps are cloud-based, and this is antithetical to the Web3 vision, as cloud services are built and managed by private companies.

Is using cloud services a problem? Yes and no. We’re all using it, but the vision of Web3 is to maximize decentralization. A decentralized App cannot be built on top of centralized services.

How dApps Currently Work:

from the DFINITY Foundation

How dApps Work on the Internet Computer:

from the DFINITY Foundation

You can learn more about dApps and about some of the exmplar models currently running on the Internet Computer in our dApp guide.

The Pillars of Web5 Already Exist On The Internet Computer

The Three Pillars of Dorsey's "Web5" are:

  1. Decentralized Identifiers
  2. Verifiable Credentials
  3. Decentralized Web Nodes
from Block's official Web5 presentation

These pillars are already in existence and being used daily by people in the Internet Computer ecosystem:

Internet Identity As A Decentralized Identifier

The Internet Identity blockchain authentication system enables you to sign in securely and anonymously to dApps on the Internet Computer.

Internet Identity builds on the WebAuthn protocol and uses cryptographically secure authentication, giving users three options to verify their identity:

  1. Built-in biometric authentication methods on smart devices (e.g., Face ID, Touch ID, or fingerprint scanner).
  2. The password/PIN typically used to unlock devices.
  3. A hardware authentication device (like YubiKey).
Internet Identity: The End of Usernames and Passwords
The Internet Identity blockchain authentication system enables you to sign in securely and anonymously to dapps on the Internet Computer.

NFTs and SBTs As Verifiable Credentials

NFTs (Non-fungible Tokens) are digital assets with unique metadata that makes each one different. They can be traded, just like cryptocurrency. However, their unique properties allow possibilities such as serving as a unique virtual identifier, such as certificates of authenticity or ownership.

SBTs (Soulbound Tokens) are essentially NFTs, but "bound" to one specific address. This means that they are non-transferable.

Having Verifiable Credentials is possible through NFTs and SBTs. Depending on the use case, either could be used, whether in transferrable capacity or permanently. Both types of tokens can be stored on-chain on The Internet Computer, adding an extra layer of security unlike with cloud-hosted assets that exist on other blockchains.

The Internet Computer Serves Decentralized Web Nodes

Although the Internet Computer Protocol is barely one year out of Genesis, the DFINITY Foundation is committed to full decentralization.

This is evident by the unique node architecture of the Internet Computer, which is designed to globally pool together computing resources by independently-operated data centers.

the intenetcomputer.org dashboard
Unlike a public or private cloud, the Internet Computer blockchain is not owned and operated by a single private company. Instead, the Internet Computer blockchain is a public utility with updates and operations that are managed through an algorithmic, decentralized governance system defined in the protocol. Its architecture enables multiple computers to operate like one, very powerful, virtual machine.

The nodes located in data centers around the globe that make up the Internet Computer are organized into subnet blockchains that in turn connect to each other using Chain Key cryptography. The distributed architecture enables secure communication without firewalls or technologies that are vulnerable to attack.

The DFINITY Foundation is transparent about node statuses; anyone can monitor and keep up with the IC Network Status via the Internet Computer Dashboard.

The Internet Computer encompasses all three of Web5's pillars, so it seems correct to say that Web5 already exists.

The Internet Computer Is The Next Major Web Innovation

The concept of a decentralized web that puts you in control of your data and identity is powerful.

Decentralization doesn't just apply to how data is served, it means:

Reducing barriers set in place by technology giants that limit innovation, such as moderation and censorship.

A sense of ownership, which means there is incentive to care about the ecosystem one is involved in, whether you're an end user or builder.

Interoperability and scalability as key concepts, which allow users to port their data where they see fit, allowing more vigorous innovation.

Simply put, the Internet Computer already allow this with Web5's three pillars firmly in place. So whether you call blockchain-based web Web3 or Web5, the future is already here. Soon, people will be using the Internet Computer without even realizing it.

The next chapter of the blockchain story will be told on the Internet Computer.

Nyancat heading towards decentralization


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