Block and its products, including Cash App, Square, and TBD

You’ve probably heard of Web3: a vague term for decentralization that doesn’t really mean anything specific, but sounds cool. Some projects and companies have tried to build hype by adding more numbers, but one attempt at a “Web5” isn’t going well.

Web3 usually refers to internet and technology projects aimed at decentralization, such as cryptocurrency and NFTs. It’s hyped by some people as the next evolution for the web, compared to Web 2.0, which was another buzzword that came into being in the early 2000s with the rise of powerful web applications. None of these words really mean anything, so other projects have taken on the name “Web4” to position themselves as even more futuristic. Snoop Dogg joked in June that he was “working on Web6.”

Block, the company behind the Square payment platform and Cash App, announced on November 29 that it was filing a legal trademark for the term “Web5.” Block has been promoting the idea of a Web5 through one of its subsidiaries, known as TBD, which primarily describes it as a decentralized digital identity system. Block was hoping to trademark Web5 to “prevent confusion about the meaning of ‘Web5’ and ensure the term is used as intended — to refer to a truly open, decentralized layer for the new internet.”

There’s some irony in the concept of “Web5,” described as an even more decentralized and open version of the internet, being legally owned by a single company. Mike Brock from TBD attempted some damage control, saying on Twitter, “our goal here is no different than what other open source and open standards do. Linux is trademarked too, and the mark is held by the Linux Foundation, for example.”

Six hours later, TBD posted another tweet, saying it “heard loud voices in the community” and the attempt to trademark Web5 was “suspended […] under further notice.” That language sounds like TBD and Block might try the legal route again in the future.

The crypto ecosystem is filled to the brim with scams, and the collapse of crypto exchange FTX is still causing ripple effects throughout the industry. Block’s attempt to trademark Web3 is one of many attempts by large companies to separate good-faith projects from outright scams, but when most projects are solutions looking for a problem, the line is pretty blurry.

Source: TBD (1, 2)
Via: TechCrunch

Profile Photo for Corbin Davenport Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport is the News Editor at How-To Geek, an independent software developer, and a podcaster. He previously worked at Android Police, PC Gamer, and XDA Developers.
Read Full Bio »