Safety and security nets are in place while Portrait is in beta. Read more about the security measures in place.
This is the advanced section. Familiarity with distributed ledger technology is recommended.


At the heart of Portrait lies two main components: the Portrait Protocol and the application layer. In this section we will briefly introduce these components.

Portrait Protocol

The Portrait Protocol is a resilient and secure framework intended to enable essential interactions between users and the system. It employs a hybrid approach of on-chain and off-chain components through a network of smart contracts and hosting nodes.


The primary goal of the Portrait Protocol is to deliver a scalable and user-friendly solution for mainstream consumer internet applications while giving the end-user full autonomy over their data and interactions.

Key features

The Portrait Protocol addresses key challenges to optimize user interactions:

  1. Affordability: By shifting high-throughput state updates off-chain, Portrait reduces the need for gas fees.
  2. Responsiveness: The protocol operates only when there is sufficient demand, avoiding the maintenance of unnecessary data.
  3. Accessibility: Its lightweight design ensures that anyone can easily participate without requiring significant resources.
  4. Openness: Portrait is permissionless, allowing anyone to join the network by running their own node.
  5. Secure: With built-in encryption and authentication, the protocol ensures data integrity and security at all times.
  6. Near-insant finality: As a result of the off-chain approach, transactions are confirmed almost instantly, providing a seamless user experience.
  7. Abstracted complexity: Enabling users to abstract the technical interactions of blockchain technologies by delegating them to a designated service.

For a detailed overview of the Portrait Protocol, continue reading in the protocol section.

The application layer

This is the interface available through portrait.so (opens in a new tab) allowing you to create, host, and interact with Portraits. The application layer is designed to be user-friendly and accessible to anyone, regardless of technical expertise. It abstracts the complexities of the Portrait Protocol, allowing you to focus on creating and sharing meaningful experiences. There are two different versions of the application layer:

  • The web version, accessible through portrait.so (opens in a new tab)
  • The app version, which is a progressive web app (PWA) that can be installed on your mobile device.

Limitations of web version

The web version does not support the ability of hosting a Portrait. To host a Portrait, you will need to use the app version or install the desktop app.

For detailed information on hosting a Portrait, refer to the hosting guide, and for a technical deep dive, visit the hosting nodes section.

Continue reading about the application layer in the application layer section.