Most Popular Programming Languages for Blockchain Development

Written by Ivan on Tech

Jul 04, 2020

If you have ever heard of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, the chances are high that you have heard of blockchain as well. The rise of blockchain has spiked the business world’s interest, and today, everyone is talking about this technology. But what is behind this technology, and which are the popular programming languages for blockchain? 

Programming Languages for Blockchain

Blockchain is mostly associated with cryptocurrencies, but the innovative potential does not stop there. Blockchain has proven to have great potential and can even revolutionize the whole economy, with everything from DeFi elements like decentralized exchanges to smart contracts

The sudden interest in blockchain has created many startups and made big companies such as IBM engaged as well. The increase in interest has also created a rise in demand regarding developers for blockchain. Since the technology is reasonably new, there is also a deficit of programmers, which is creating problems. 

Furthermore, the developers are well sought after and are offered high salaries. The high wages are an effect of a bidding war between companies trying to implement blockchain into their business in some way. 

High salaries are excellent on their own, but they can also make people question their own skills. Do they have what it takes, and are they deserving of the high pay? Off-course they deserve it since they are the solution to developing revolutionary technology, but they might start to question themselves.

Another question is: “What programming language is best for blockchain technology?”. This question has a lot of answers since there is no single language that is superior to others. In this article, we are going through some of the most popular programming languages for blockchain development, and when they are being utilized. 

Best Blockchain Programming Languages

Several different programming languages are being used today. For example, different cryptocurrencies that are running on the blockchain are also running on various programming languages. Since there are a lot of them out there, we try to cover the most popular programming languages for blockchain development: 

Java

The first language we are going to take a closer look at is the classic Java. This is one of the most popular programming languages in general, and they have over nine million developers. Java launched in 1995, which means they have 25 years of experience when it comes to programming. 

Java is an object-oriented programming (OOP) language, which means that the programmer can make objects interact with one another. OOP also means that the programmer is the one to define the objects by assigning a data type and structure. The developer also gives the data functions to the data. 

This programming language’s long lifespan has made it crucial for internet development, but it is also common for blockchain development. It can be used to create blockchains that are interchangeable using the method where every block created is marked with a” hash”. This means that once a transaction/change is verified, it is impossible to modify the block’s contents. 

JavaScript

Another of the most popular programming languages for blockchain is JavaScript. JavaScript is — just like Java — an object-oriented programming language that features functional a functional, and event-driven style of programming. Unlike Java, JavaScript also takes on a prototype-based programming approach.

This means that the language has something called prototypical objects, which is a template for an object that inherits properties from a new object. JavaScript programming is also one of the most popular programming languages in the world.

JavaScript has a massive community, with over 9.7 million developers all over the world. It is also easy to understand and will allow anyone to get to market fast. It is also a great language when in need of scaling up as a company is growing and developing. 

C++ 

C++ is an object-oriented programming language that is a development of the process-oriented C+ language. This also means that the most significant difference between C++ and C+ is the fact that they have different orientations. 

Great controls over the blockchain’s storage and memory are just one of the features provided by C++. It is also great for managing the chain’s resources, but it requires a lot of work and cooperation from miners. The fact that the language allows for great managerial opportunities of the resources means that C++ is great for scalability. 

Solidity

This programming language is relatively new and consists of a relatively small community compared to the giants of Java and JavaScript. The language has about 200,000 active developers. Instead of an object- or process-oriented language, Solidity is a contract-oriented programming language.

Even though this language is based on contracts, it shares many similarities with languages such as Java. The languages share similarities such as functions, variables, and classes for the functions.

Solidity is reasonably easy to learn for someone that is familiar with programming in general. The developers of the language also offer explanations regarding how the code works. 

Python

The purpose of Python was to develop a language that is easy to understand and easy to use for writing code. The language is really popular — even one of the leading languages — when it comes to the development of applications.

Historically, the language has been very popular for app and server development, but it has proven to be an excellent asset for blockchain developers. It is especially useful for developing smart contracts and decentralized applications. These are two things that are becoming more and more popular. 

The community is significant as well, and it features open-source support, which means that the community is helping each other become better. 

C# 

C# is an object-oriented programming language developed by Microsoft as a supplement for Java. The language is open-source and is excellent for developing applications for larger companies or for cloud services. 

The language has over two million developers around the globe and is excellent for building cross-platform code. This means that the code can be used on several different systems such as Android, Mac, and Linux. 

The language is also popular for writing blockchain code and specializes in writing smart contracts as well as decentralized applications, also called dApps. 

When are These Programming Languages Used in Blockchain Development? 

The programming languages that are mentioned above are just some of the languages used in developing blockchain technology. But when are these languages used, and which blockchains are using them today? 

All of these languages are used by someone to develop blockchains, so let’s go through them one by one.

Java

Firstly we have Java, which is widely used by programmers around the globe. The language is used to utilize features such as smart contracts that are used in cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum. But for Ethereum, Java is not the source of the smart contracts.

Some of the companies that develop blockchain using Java are IOTA and NEO, which are two cryptocurrencies as well as Hyperledger Fabric, which offers services for application development. 

JavaScript

Secondly, we have JavaScript, which is used by Lisk, which is a SideChain Development Kit (SDK), and this is used to develop applications by utilizing the blockchain that is developed by Lisk. 

C++

One of the most significant blockchain technologies utilized by C++ is EOS. The blockchain can support several different things, such as the cryptocurrency EOS as well as decentralized applications. Other than C++ is also the language used in developing the blockchain for Bitcoin, Ripple, Litecoin, and Stellar.

Solidity

Solidity, as a relatively new programming language, has already been established on the market. The programming language is behind one of the big cryptocurrencies Ethereum. One of the big technologies behind Ethereum is smart contracts, which are easy to write in Solidity. 

Python

Python — as well as Java — is one of the programming languages behind Hyperledger Fabric and the cryptocurrency NEO. Another project that is based on Python is Steem, which is a social media-based cryptocurrency.

C#

C# is the primary language in the cryptocurrency NEO, which is also powered by Python and Java. There is also a service developed in this language called Stratis, which allows companies to build their own private blockchains. This service was developed by Microsoft themselves as a way to help businesses get into blockchain. 

Which is the Best and Most Popular Programming Language for Blockchain?

Now that we know what languages are used in creating and developing blockchains, which one is to prefer? This is a hard question to answer since all the languages have their ups and downs. It is also strongly dependent on your own skill and preferences when it comes to programming. 

But to make the choice more comfortable for you, we are going through each of the most popular programming languages for blockchain development and determine their pros and cons.

Pros and Cons of Each Programming Language for Blockchain

Java

One first thing to consider is the existing library for the language, as well as the community writing the same code. Java, for example, has a big library, and with a community of over 9 million developers, there is a lot of support to find here. Java is also a fairly easy language to use compared to, let’s say, C or C++, which are a bit more complicated. 

But there are also a few disadvantages to Java, one of them is that the code is a bit slower than in C++. The language also needs something called Java Virtual Machine to be able to run correctly. This program is also necessary to run all the programs or applications written in the programming language of Java. 

JavaScript

JavaScript, just like Java, has a considerable community, which means there is a lot to learn from more experienced programmers out there. It is also a trendy language that a lot of people use, this means that it is easily adaptable. 

javascript programming language with script code on laptop screen vector graphic

JavaScript is weakly typed though, which means that the data is not predefined, to begin with. But this is a problem that can easily be solved using typescripts. Other than that, it is also a low threshold to get into this language, which means it is suitable for beginners. 

C++ 

C++ is great since it is strongly typed, which means that the data is predefined, and this makes it easier to code. Other than that, C++ is also considered a high-speed programming language that has a lot of benefits. Lastly, this language is great for coding on different platforms which is great since most applications and websites are aimed at several different platforms. 

C++ is hard to learn though and is not something that a beginner can pick up a short amount of time. The language is also hard to debug which can make it frustrating to work with. 

Solidity

Solidity is the new kid on the block and this contract-oriented programming language is easy to learn for beginners. It is also growing fast which means that the community is growing with it. One other big advantage is that there are a lot of guides provided by the developers which are useful if you ever run into problems. 

The fact that this is a new language is also a disadvantage for the programming language. This means that it lacks maturity in comparison to that of, for example, Java, which has been around for a long, long time.

Python

One of the big advantages of Python is the fact that it is easy to learn compared to most counterparts. There are also a lot of libraries that have been pre-made which is one of the factors that make the language easy. Furthermore, Python is a fast language and the code runs smoothly. All these pros are what makes Python one of the most popular programming languages for blockchain. 

One con with this language is the fact that it is mostly used as the language for servers. The extensive library also comes with drawbacks since not all of them are clearly defined. 

C# 

One advantage of C# is that it is relatively easy to learn and that it is a very popular language amongst developers. The fact that there are a lot of developers means that the community is big which in turn means that there is a lot of help and knowledge to be found. 

One of the big disadvantages is that the programming language is created by Microsoft. This means that the programming language is more oriented towards Microsoft. For example, there is not a lot of support for Linux.

Programming Languages for Blockchain Summary 

There are a lot of different programming languages out there that can be used to develop blockchains, and the once above are just a few of the most popular once. It is difficult to determine merely one winner for which of these languages that is the best. It is all dependent on the needs of the user and also personal preferences. For example, if you are a beginner trying to develop a blockchain, you might want to try Python or Solidity since they are easy to learn. 

This means that it is totally up to you what language you want to use when developing a blockchain but we hope that this guide has helped you make that decision. 

If you want to learn more about coding and blockchain development in general, visit the blockchain education platform Ivan on Tech Academy for a great selection of blockchain courses.

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