A free and open Web is a cornerstone of contemporary democracy. And it is under threat — you know it in your bones, and so do we. That’s why we’re building the Fractal Protocol: to rebalance the incentives on the Web in order to help it remain free and open. In this introductory article I’ll cover:

  • why it’s critical to keep the Web free and open;
  • how our current ad market threatens the Web as we know it;
  • how we can finally bridge the gap between data privacy and integrity;
  • what we are doing about it, how we’re approaching it…


At Fractal, we’ve been obsessing over customer onboarding for the past 2 years. We have assembled a brilliant and interdisciplinary team who successfully and meaningfully transformed the experiences of thousands upon thousands of users undergoing identity verification.

We realised very quickly that assuring compliance is increasingly costly for our clients, especially those working with a highly international user base. We also didn’t like what we see in this market: closed solutions, hidden pricing, a lack of developer friendliness and no clarity on how the product actually works.

So after this period of learning and extensive testing, we are now ready…


As understood by an engineer with no background in economics, finance or trading

Our economy has evolved to consider and account for a variety of different assets: stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities, intellectual property, and many others. Trading some of these assets is constrained by their physicality, as it may be cumbersome to physically trade ownership, or even to subdivide the asset.

In order to help address this issue, we invented securitization. That’s the process of transforming ownership of an asset or a right into an easily tradable security. We predict that, with the emergence and maturity of blockchain technology, and the development of open standards, we will be enabled to expand on…


And how to provably associate a DID with a person

ixo is the blockchain for sustainable development impacts, aiming to help standardize the measurement and rewarding of impact. Through their protocol and native IXO tokens, ixo plans to incentivize the funding and tracking on impact projects through unlocking a new economy for collecting and verifying impact data.

It’s crucial for ixo to encourage data integrity. As such they’re highly involved in the decentralized identity space, because it’s important that the several network stakeholders are properly identified. ixo uses the W3C DID and Verifiable Claims standard drafts to facilitate this process.

(See also: on decentralized identity, I previously wrote about ERC…


My introductory talk at Commit Porto 2018

I was invited by Commit Porto to give an introductory talk about blockchain at their 2018 edition. Below is the video, the slides and the transcript.

Background: Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash

Video recording

Slides and transcript


Implementing a simple KYC claim verification for a crowdsale

At Fractal, we’re focused on improving the ICO experience, from both a UX and a regulatory compliance perspective. One of the crucial bits of a successful ICO is proper participation eligibility verification (KYC, AML, CFT, capital markets regulations, etc). As such, we’re closely watching the identity space, following projects such as Sovrin, Taqanu, uPort, and Civic, and experimenting with potential integrations.

Fabian Vogelsteller, the creator of the Mist Browser and web3.js, is working on a new identity standard for Ethereum, ERC 725. …


NEO and Qtum. Yes, that’s it.

tl;dr: This post covers the only two viable and live alternatives to Ethereum as a distributed application platform (NEO and Qtum) and explains my confidence in Ethereum’s dominance.

Photo by Dominik Scythe on Unsplash

I just devoured Ed Posnak’s ongoing series, On The Origin of Smart Contract Platforms. It’s a well-argued collection of essays on several high-profile smart contract platforms — at the time of this writing, he’s covered Tezos, DFINITY, NEO, EOS, Cardano, Lisk, Qtum, and Waves.

As it turns out, there aren’t currently many alternatives to Ethereum when it comes to supporting arbitrarily complex distributed applications. …


Purpose, creation, distribution and usage of protocol and application tokens

tl;dr: This post attempts to shed some light on what Ethereum tokens are: what they’re for, as well as how they’re created, distributed, and used.
We’ll look into token economics, how a blockchain-based app works, and how this relates to value and ICOs.

As with any disruptive technology, Ethereum is still hard to grasp for a lot of people. It always takes some time for folks to become accustomed to think within a new paradigm. …


Why are smart contracts so revolutionary?

(If you’re new to blockchain technology, start with my short introduction: What can Blockchain do for you?)

Smart contracts are all the rage these days, and for good reason.

When Ethereum appeared in 2015, it took the blockchain community by storm by demonstrating that it was possible to do so much more with the technology than just digital currency. Suddenly, a whole new class of decentralized applications could be conceived of, and deployed onto a blockchain which could support them.

A smart contract is just a computer program on a blockchain: the basic unit of a dapp, a decentralized application…


Writing, testing and deploying an Ethereum smart contract and its web interface

This weekend I spent some time with my team looking into tooling and deployments particular to the Ethereum blockchain, and put together a little experiment: Forever on the Chain.

It’s the equivalent of a digital tattoo: a smart contract that anyone can use for free (minus transaction costs) to leave a permanent message onto the Ethereum blockchain. This message is stored in the blockchain forever, etched into thousands upon thousands of computers, unchangeable and immortal.

Even though permanence is one of the core blockchain concepts, this still worried some folks, so I also wrote a non-technical post about the tool…

Júlio Santos

Co-founder, product and engineering at Fractal. Building the Web’s Identity Layer with Fractal Protocol. Technical leader, software engineer and entrepreneur.

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