The crypto ecosystem sits on top of distributed ledgers, which are broadly called blockchains. Apart from recording and verifying transactions, some crypto blockchains like Ethereum let users launch agreements or special actions that execute on their own. These are known as smart contracts and to create them effectively, programming languages are a must.
The importance of programming
Crypto exchanges, decentralised apps (dApps), the automated buying or selling of orders, and even NFT-based games often rely on smart contracts to run smoothly. A smart contract failure can cause platform outages, and exploitation of the codes could devalue the entire ecosystem. Programming languages thus, help crypto platforms and protocols run effectively.
C++ is a programming language commonly associated with Bitcoin. While the Bitcoin whitepaper explaining the peer-to-peer electronic cash system is written largely in English, the Bitcoin Core software, which makes transactions possible, uses C++. It is maintained by a community anyone can join by running Bitcoin Core full nodes. It is hailed for being an accessible programming language that users of Java, C, and C# can easily learn due to existing similarities. It is also one of the most used programming languages, playing a role in the development of operating systems like MacOS and Windows, gaming devices, search engines, and even machine learning. C++ is a major influence for many other programming languages in use today. However, some see C++ as an outdated programme. Mark Russinovich, Microsoft Azure’s CTO, recently asked developers to stop using C and C++.
Solidity, Rusk, Python and Haskell
Rust has the unique distinction of being called the “perfect programming language” in 2021 by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. Come 2022, Mr. Dorsey noted that Rust was a “close second” to C. In the crypto world, Rust is commonly associated with the Solana blockchain, which is known for its high speeds and relatively low transaction fees. The Polkadot blockchain, which helps to better connect blockchains with each other, also uses Rust. However, developers have complained that Rust is too difficult to learn. A 2018 survey showed that more than 22% of users did not feel productive using the programming language.
Created by Dutch programmer Guido van Rossum, Python is a general-purpose programming language. Cryptocurrency is just one of its many use cases. Python is used by developers who are interested in the Bitcoin Core as well as non-Bitcoin cryptocurrencies, known as alt coins. Python’s detailed library and graphic user interface options make it ideal for blockchain developers who are just entering the space to develop dApps. The programme can also be used widely by both Web3 and non-crypto-related app developers. On the other hand, those looking to apply for crypto-based positions with their Python qualifications are likely to face considerable competition as it is one of the most popular languages in existence today.
Some of the most valuable blockchain projects in the crypto industry don’t necessarily rely on the most popular programming languages. Cardano, for example, is a blockchain that takes pride in its academic rigour and scholarly approach to the crypto sector. Its smart contract programming language is based on Haskell. The Cardano Foundation itself admits that Haskell is not well-known, and that it is not a popular programming language for beginners. Haskell is classified as a purely functional programming language, and is hard to learn. But it is said to be well-suited to deliver accurate crypto projects due to its immutability feature.