As most of us might now be aware, Bitcoin was invented to replace banks, but blockchain, the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies, proved that it could replace almost any intermediary. This way, digital money came into existence. Following this, programmable money was introduced, and this was something that paper cash could never do. ‘Programmable money’ elevated decentralization to the next level; it had the inbuilt ability to execute the agreed contracts without human interference, yet with complete transparency. This is exactly the concept of smart contracts. American computer scientist Nick Szabo was the first to propose the concept of smart contracts in 1994. He defined smart contracts as computerized transaction protocols executing the terms of the contract.
This article will touch upon what smart contracts are and throw light on the most suitable programming languages that aid in building smart contracts.
What is a Smart Contract?
A smart contract is a self-executing contract where the terms of the agreement between the buyer and the seller are directly written into lines of code. The code and the agreements are contained therein exist over a distributed, decentralized blockchain network. Smart contracts allow for trusted transactions and agreements to be carried out among anonymous parties without the need for a central entity, external enforcement mechanism, or legal system. This way, the transactions are transparent, irreversible, and traceable. Implementing smart contracts across various blockchains is made possible through Solidity, the high-level object-oriented programming language.
Best Programming Languages For Building Smart Contracts
Let us now list down some of the best smart contract programming languages.
C++ is a general-purpose programming language that comprises of at least more than 4.4 million developers. Its greatest strength is the ability to scale resource-intensive applications and make them run smoothly. As the EOS blockchain supports smart contracts through its WebAssembly virtual machine, any language that is able to compile into WebAssembly (WASM) will be able to program smart contracts. However, C++ is the recommended language for developers to use on EOS.
Solidity was first developed by Gavin Wood, Yoichi Hirai, Christian Reitweissner, and many other core contributors of Ethereum to help develop smart contracts. With the Ethereum blockchain leading the way as a major smart contract platform, many alternative blockchains want to make use of Solidity compatible contracts to run on their networks. Smart contracts that are deployed on the Ethereum network can be easily ported to alternative blockchain networks.
blockchain. It supports inheritance, libraries, and much more and is statically typed. It is capable of building blockchain applications that boost industrial strength.
Java is a smart contract programming language that is popular and in-demand. It is an object-oriented and class-based programming language that was created by Sun Microsystems in 1995. A lot of its syntax and structure has been derived from C++. Java can be used to create smart contracts in NEO. NEO is a blockchain platform that facilitates the development of smart contracts and digital assets. The word NEO originates from the ancient Greek language and translates as ‘new,’ ‘modern,’ and ‘young.’ NEO aims to use smart contracts to become a decentralized, digital, and distributed platform for non-digital assets. Its specific goal is to become a digital alternative for asset transfers that are currently non-digital.
Java was designed to offer flexibility to developers to write code that will run on any machine, irrespective of the platform or architecture. The Java programming language is used to create smart contracts on the NEO blockchain.
Go, or Golang is an open-source programming language that was developed by Google. It supports concurrent programming, which means that it will allow multiple processes to run simultaneously. It is loosely based on the syntax of the C programming language. It is an easy language for developers. The number of Golang developers worldwide is estimated at 800,000. A vast portion of Hyperledger’s chaincode built using Hyperedger Fabric for smart contracts are written in the Golang programming language.
Smart contracts are an integral part of a blockchain. Just like blockchains, smart contracts are of intense interest to business. Smart contracts solve the issue of mistrust between business partners and parties. It saves time, reduces unnecessary expenditures, and enhances transparency. It excludes human participation in transactions as everything is done through prescribed program code. Safety is ensured in smart contracts as the data in the decentralized registry cannot be lost and is not prone to cyberattacks. Smart contracts are, no doubt, a secure form of payment in comparison to the traditional system.