No-Code Websites on Arweave: The Co-Founder of Portrait Talks to

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Q: Yesterday, you just announced the entry of Portrait into the Arweave ecosystem. Before anything else, please tell us what Portrait is and what it does.
A: Portrait is a protocol that allows users to create and control decentralized, no-code websites for Web3. This means that anyone can create a website without needing technical or design experience. Portrait allows users to create a customizable website that showcases their interests, goals, and values, and because it’s built on a self-sovereign ecosystem, users have full control over their data.

Q: How did you stumble upon Arweave? What convinced you to integrate Arweave inside your product?

A: We stumbled upon Arweave while researching decentralized storage solutions for Portrait. Portrait is a storage-agnostic protocol built on top of InterPlanetary Linked Data (IPLD). This means that Portrait is not tied to a specific storage protocol, and can work with any data storage solution that supports IPLD.

IPLD is a data model that allows for the creation of a decentralized, linked data structure. It enables the creation of links between data blocks that can be stored across different networks and systems, allowing for interoperability and cross-referencing of data. By using IPLD and tags on Arweave, Portrait is able to cross-reference data stored on the Arweave network. Tags on Arweave are similar to hashtags on social media, and allow users to label and categorize data for easier discovery and organization.

Using these tags, Portrait is able to link and cross-reference data stored on the Arweave network, allowing users to easily access and interact with their data. What convinced us to integrate with Arweave was the fact that it offers practically permanent storage that is both decentralized and censorship-resistant, which aligns with the values of Portrait. 

Q: How deep are you planning to integrate with Arweave? You are probably using Bundlr to let your users store their data permanently on Arweave, but have you considered allowing them to keep whole websites on Permaweb?

A: In terms of integrating with Arweave, we are currently running a pilot program to store the Portrait website data on the Arweave network using Bundlr. The Bundlr integration process with Arweave has been smooth and straightforward, and we are pleased with the results so far. If the pilot program goes accordingly, we are also planning to add media onto Arweave in the future.

We are currently in the process of testing and evaluating different options for storing the Portrait website data on the Arweave network. One potential solution that we are considering is storing the data directly onto Arweave, without using a middleman. This would allow us to offer our users a decentralized and permanent storage solution for their website data that is directly integrated with the Arweave network.

We are still in the beta phase of development, and as such, we are actively seeking user feedback and testing out different solutions to determine what works best for our users. Our goal is to build a protocol that is both decentralized and user-friendly, and we are committed to continually improving and evolving our protocol in response to user feedback.

Q: We get all the time the feedback that Web3 is great, but UX is a pain, so I’ll stick to using Web2 solutions. How does Portrait reconcile the Web3 with Web2? Can we have both decentralization and usability? Or is there a trade-off?

A: At Portrait, we believe that decentralization and usability do not have to be mutually exclusive. We are working to make the Web3 experience as user-friendly as possible, while still maintaining the decentralization and self-sovereignty that is essential to the Web3 ecosystem. Portrait is the web2 to web3 onramp because it offers users a familiar and user-friendly web2 experience, while leveraging the power and benefits of a web3 technology stack.

By using a web2-like interface, users can easily create and customize their own decentralized websites without needing any technical or design experience. This makes it easy for anyone to create a beautiful and user-friendly website that showcases their interests, goals, and values on the decentralized web.

At the same time, the web3 technology stack that powers Portrait provides users with the benefits of decentralization, self-sovereignty, and censorship resistance. This means that users have full control over their data and online identity, and can create websites that are resilient, secure, and censorship-resistant.

It is worth noting that at Portrait, we have implemented a number of features to reconcile the decentralization of Web3 with the usability of Web2. One of these features is our on-chain registry contract, which includes two functions for updating the state of a Portrait. The first function allows users to delegate the authority to update the version of their Portrait to another party, who can pay for the transaction by signing a message. This allows users to update their Portrait without having to pay for the transaction themselves, making it more user-friendly.

However, as a fallback, we have also included a function that allows users to update the version of their Portrait themselves, in case they do not have anyone to delegate the task to. This function does come with a trade-off in terms of usability, as users must pay for the transaction themselves, but it is a necessary measure to ensure that users have full control over their data and can update their Portrait if needed.

It is important to note that the challenge of reconciling decentralization and usability, often referred to as “Zooko’s Triangle,” is a common one in the Web3 ecosystem. Zooko’s Triangle is a concept that refers to the trade-off between security, decentralization, and usability in a decentralized system. In order to achieve all three of these goals simultaneously, it is necessary to find creative solutions and approaches.

Q: I have to admit, I’m in the middle of testing your beta version, so I have limited insights regarding Portrait functionalities, (Also, if you are up to it, I will be glad to have another chat after the holidays and after I manage to play a little more with Portrait) so, what functionality you believe the one that differentiates you from other no-code website builders?

A: One of the key differentiators of Portrait is its protocol-based design. This means that Portrait is not just a tool, it’s a protocol that will continue to exist even if the original creators cease to exist. In addition, Portrait is built on a self-sovereign ecosystem, which means that users have full control over their data and cannot be censored. This makes Portrait an attractive option for users who value decentralization and self-sovereignty. In contrast to other solutions in the Web3 space, Portrait offers a simple and intuitive interface that allows users to create and customize their websites without needing technical or design experience.

This makes it accessible to a larger audience, including those who are not technically or design-savvy. As the Web3 ecosystem grows, it is likely that the majority of users will be non-technical, and Portrait is well-suited to meet the needs of this audience. We do not consider all companies in the Web3 space to be direct competitors, as we may have different target audiences or focus on different subsets of decentralized websites.

We are actively supporting and collaborating with other companies in the space, as their offerings can be complementary to Portrait. For example, some companies may provide decentralized storage solutions that can be beneficial for Portrait, while others may focus on specific types of decentralized websites, such as blogging. Ultimately, our goal is to create a user-friendly and limitless protocol that allows anyone to create and manage their own decentralized website.

Q: In the end, do you have anything else to say to the Arweave community?

A: We would like to thank the Arweave community for their support and for welcoming us into the ecosystem. We are excited to be a part of the Arweave community and to explore the possibilities for collaboration and integration. To celebrate this, we’re temporarily opening up our beta for Arweave, so come and test Portrait out!

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