A plan in which a legal entity would use the term “Web5” as a trademark has been laid to rest after much backlash. Tuesday night late, To be determinedthe Bitcoin-focused division of Jack Dorsey’s payments company Block (formerly Square), announced an ill-conceived plan to trademark the term, hinting at his vision for a decentralized, privacy-focused iteration of the future web that TBD has been promoting for the past few months. In its announcement, TBD explained that the “Web5” trademark would protect the term from misuse and ensure it is “used as intended.”
However, this move did not go down well with the TBD community, as many balked at the idea that free and open-source technology needed such a gatekeeper.
“Welcome to the true decentralized web. you need our permission to use the term decentralized web…,” another user commented at the time retweet the announcement. “can no longer distinguish truth from satire.”
Other comments also seemed to mock this idea that we should even name and brand every iteration of the web – as is now being done with Web3.
According to TBD, the plan to use the “Web5” trademark arose from problems it saw applying the term to other products and services that were “diametrically opposed to the principles of Web5 that we lay out.” In other words, swindlers and scammers used the term inappropriately, TBD believed. For example, people have tried selling things like “Web5” tokens or selling NFTs like “Web5”.
The company said seeking protection for “Web5” would allow TBD to avoid confusion over the term’s meaning and defend its principles. The plan was to allow later commercial and non-commercial use of “Web5” – so long as participants agreed to keep key features, including its decentralized principles, identity solutions, and open-source protocols.
“Ultimately, we hope to form a coalition of companies, individuals and other stakeholders to uphold these standards,” TBD’s original announcement read.
In subsequent tweets, TBD Lead Mike Brock responded to complaints by noting that such a plan would not be unusual for the space. Linux is a trademark, he said. And the Free Software Foundation also owns trademarks. But while some agreed, others felt that this move would go against Web5’s general decentralization principles.
“So some centralization, get it,” mocked an user.
In front of a number of monthshas TBD promoted the term Web5, explain how Web5 technologies could bring decentralized identity and data storage to applications while returning ownership of data and identity to individuals. This concept is intended to combat issues with today’s web where identity and personal data have become the property of third parties. In theory, Web5 would allow users to connect to apps using their decentralized identity, rather than constantly creating new profiles for services they wanted to try. And if they wanted to switch apps, users could take on their social persona by engaging their connections and relationships with them.
But only 6 hours after revealing his plan to create the trademark “Web5”, TBD announced the plan was scrapped due to community backlash.
“…we have heard loud voices in the community concerned about the possibility of trademark law being misused in a way that would undermine the mission of decentralization. We hear you,” wrote the companyadmitted that his move could undermine people’s confidence in his mission.
“Therefore, we are suspending and revoking our previously announced plan with further notice.”
TBD was asked for comment but did not immediately respond.