Web5 is the Real Future of Metaverse and the Internet
Jack Dorsey announced a new decentralized web platform, Web5, which will improve upon the Web2 (web application) and Web3 (blockchain) technologies to become the Web5 platform. MetaIncubator sees the limitations of Web3 technologies and is already working with startups that build toward this direction. For startups that are building apps with tons of data and cross-chain, cross-metaverse functions, you may like to consider the Web5 architecture.
The Background: Web5 and beyond
Scalability in blockchain (Web3) is one of the problems I am looking at for a while. As everyone knows, putting everything onto the blockchain would be too inefficient. Even some big crypto events (like the Bored Ape land sales) this year pretty much crashed most blockchains, like Ethereum and Solana. Jack and the team have provided a very elegant solution on how to decentralize data. It not only will improve efficiency, but also will finally achieve the principle that our data should belong to us, not the centralized network.
Architecturally, Web5 has three elements: Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs), Decentralized Web Nodes (DWNs), and Decentralized Web Apps (DWAs). Currently, when using web apps, all three elements, the user, his data, and the application itself are contained inside the software company. For example, when you use Gmail, your user account (ID), your data (emails), and applications (Gmail) all belong to Google and are stored on its servers.
The Current Situation with Web3
In Web3, blockchain, the user ID has two parts: the private key, and the public key. The private key is inside the wallet, but the public key or wallet address is stored in the blockchain (public address). Both the data (your transactions or balance), and apps (smart contracts) are stored in the blockchain and duplicated in each full node.
In this model, the users own their data, but processing speed and gas charges are limited. Every time you write to the blockchain, you need to pay gas charges. As a simple example, it is very expensive to store all your emails/chats in the blockchain.
Looking Ahead to Web5
Web5 DIDs leverage the digital signature not only for your identity but also for the list of the inventory of all your data. That is why they are called identifiers, not identities. Each of your datasets, such as music playlists and bank transactions, will have identifiers. However, data will need to be structured. For each different dataset, Jack proposes the use of Schema.org to structure your data, so all web apps will be able to read your data correctly.
For example, now you can move your emails from Gmail to Outlook, but it is only moving from one centralized database to another. However, as they both follow the same email schema, you have no problem reading your email on the other app. All those data are digitally signed and encrypted by the owner (you), so it is secure, safe, and verifiable that those data belong to you. They are called Verifiable Credentials (VCs).
In the future, you won’t even need to do email migration, as it will just work on any email application (DWA). In Web5, your emails will be stored in DWNs and the DWAs (Gmail, Outlook) will read your data dynamically with your authorization when you are doing email. You really own your data, and you can switch to any other DWA any time you desire.
Practical Considerations for Web5
For user identity, Jack’s Web5 platform uses W3C’s DID standard and ION network, which is a decentralized identifier network built as layer 2 on the top bitcoin blockchain. It only uses the bitcoin wallet address space to generate the identity, and it is not using any bitcoin for transfer. Generating the address is free, like when you create the Metamask wallet now.
MetaIncubator has worked with outstanding Web5-ready startups. We are always building for the future. I am so proud of Hypersign (https://hypersign.id). It is one of the startups we are currently incubating, and it has already been building DID infrastructure software according to W3C specification, which Jack also follows, for the last two years. In fact, the architecture is so advanced that it is compatible with Web5 architecture as proposed by Jack Dorsey. And it possesses its own blockchain that supports a more advanced Inter-Blockchain Communication protocol (IBC), so it will work with most blockchains also. More in the next blog.
MetaIncubator works with strong technical founders and helps them with product-market fit and financial planning so they will be on the right path to grow.