The Best Blockchain Languages For Blockchain Development

Ergo Platform

January 17, 2024

The launch of Ethereum brought the rise of decentralized applications (dApps): programs powered by smart contracts that run trustlessly, transparently, and unstoppably on the blockchain.

The software that maintains the blockchain network itself (nodes and clients) is one set of applications, but the scripts and dApps that run on smart contract platforms are separate, and are generally written in a different language. Building these dApps is not the same as creating the underlying blockchain platform (which requires a different set of skills).

Overview Of Popular Blockchain Programming Languages

Today, there are many smart contract blockchains that offer similar functionality – but not all smart contract platforms are equal. Among other factors, the language in which smart contracts are coded makes a big difference to developer accessibility, functionality, and the security of dApps launched on the blockchain. Here are five of the most popular blockchain programming languages and what they offer.

Solidity (Ethereum and EVM-compatible platforms)

Solidity is the most popular crypto coding language in the world. It’s the default option for smart contract programming on Ethereum and all EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) chains, including Polygon, Arbitrum, Optimism, Binance Smart Chain, Avalanche, and others. Together, these blockchains account for many millions of daily active users (DAU).

Solidity was designed specifically for writing smart contracts on Ethereum and shares some notable similarities with the popular JavaScript language – though there are also significant differences. As the foremost smart contract language for Ethereum and EVM-compatible chains, Solidity has lots of advantages, but there are several issues that newer crypto programming languages have sought to address.

Benefits of Solidity

While Solidity was designed for Ethereum, its broad similarities with JavaScript means it is relatively accessible to developers familiar with that language.

The key benefits of Solidity come down to its first-mover advantage, huge network effect, and consequently, good support from a large and active developer community. There are extensive resources dedicated to teaching Solidity and creating decentralized applications. Additionally, there are many forums and platforms where new developers can get help from more experienced Solidity coders.

The open source ethos and transparent nature of blockchains means that this community is well placed to audit smart contracts and provide feedback on any security issues (though this also means that malicious parties can exploit vulnerabilities.)

Solidity includes various security features to help developers write secure contracts, such as function modifiers, which allow checks to be easily added to functions. It also supports inheritance, enabling the creation of modular and reusable smart contracts, and libraries that can be deployed independently and linked to other contracts. Integration with popular development tools and frameworks makes it easier for developers to work on Ethereum-based projects.


For all Solidity’s popularity and network effect, it does have some significant disadvantages. For developers who are not used to object-oriented programming, it can be confusing, even aside from the need to understand blockchain-specific concepts like gas, state variables, and decentralized execution.

Security can be a problem. While Solidity includes security features, mistakes in coding can introduce vulnerabilities that can lead to loss of user funds from decentralized protocols. Due to the constantly moving nature of Web3, it’s important for developers to stay up-to-date with the latest standards and best practices to reduce these risks. Developers need to be mindful of optimizing their code to minimize gas costs, since inefficient code can result in higher transaction fees. For proficient Web3 developers, using Solidity can result in higher gas costs than other languages.

Solidity lacks some features that are available in more general purpose programming languages. However, this “limitation” is intentional, since it enhances security and helps prevent certain types of attacks.

Vyper (Ethereum)

Vyper is another Ethereum coding language, though it’s not as popular as Solidity. It’s a “Pythonic” language, and its similarity to one of the world’s best-known programming languages means it is possible for millions of developers to write concise, human-readable code without the kind of learning curve they might have to work through with other blockchain programming languages.

Vyper was created in 2017 by Vitalik Buterin, one of Ethereum’s co-founders and still arguably the most influential person in the Ethereum ecosystem. While Solidity remains the favorite, Vyper places an emphasis on security and simplicity that make it an increasingly popular choice for EVM developers.

Benefits of Vyper

Because Vyper is a lot like Python, it’s extremely accessible to millions of developers who already know that language – and even those who do not, since Python is easy to learn. As a result, Vyper is the second most popular blockchain coding language for Ethereum and EVM systems.

Just like Python, Vyper is a highly readable language (which has various benefits). Its straightforward syntax and avoidance of some of the complexities found in other languages reduce the risk of introducing errors, and make the code easier to audit – something that contributes to overall safety.

Vyper has a strong emphasis on security in its own right. It restricts various features that might pose security risks, making Vyper code less prone to certain vulnerabilities (including reentrancy attacks). The language is designed to reduce the number of possible ways in which hackers might be able to exploit smart contracts.

One of the more obvious benefits of Vyper for end users is its relative gas efficiency. The language’s design choices mean that code is often cheaper to run. Congestion on Ethereum mainnet, and even some L2s, means that gas prices can rise to uneconomical levels, thus preventing dApps from being used. Therefore, developing dApps in Vyper can have an immediate financial advantage.


Like any other smart contract language, Vyper has its drawbacks. On the one hand, its relative simplicity is a strength, since Solidity’s complexity can introduce serious vulnerabilities. Vyper reduces the risk of these by removing certain features. However, as a result, it is less powerful and more limiting. Some of Solidity’s advanced features are missing, which can be a drawback for developers who require specific functionalities. It does not have modifiers, class inheritance, and recursive calls, and the programming language is not Turing-complete. Developers who choose to use Vyper will need to figure out how to work around these restrictions.

The widespread use and network effect of Solidity means that Vyper is comparatively less prominent as a blockchain language. Vyper, while gaining attention, has a smaller community and ecosystem. There is less support and fewer developers who are proficient in it (because it’s a simpler language though, this may not be a major problem). There are also Solidity-native tools that are currently unavailable in Vyper. For all of Vyper’s apparent benefits, developers need to decide whether its downsides necessitate a pivot to Solidity’s more comprehensive set of tools.

Rust (Solana)

Solidity remains the default crypto programming language for EVM chains. For non-EVM chains, Rust has emerged as a popular choice, including for Solana and Polkadot (although it’s also possible to use other languages with Solana, including C, C++, and Solidity). Solana alone has half a million DAU.

One of the great benefits of Rust is that it is used outside the blockchain sphere. It was created in 2006 and has been widely adopted by developers and major software platforms (including Amazon, Discord, Meta, Google, and others).

Benefits of Rust

Rust is an efficient and compact language that reduces unnecessary bloat. It is good for producing optimized code, which is ideal for blockchain and crypto programming, where space is at a premium. It’s also known for its focus on security and includes measures that reduce the risk of common programming errors (particularly memory safety – protection from various bugs and vulnerabilities that can arise when dealing with memory access) that may lead to smart contract exploits.

Rust also supports safe concurrency (the ability for different parts of a program to be executed out of order), which is important for Solana since it emphasizes parallel processing. Developers can write concurrent code without needing to worry about race conditions: problems that arise if operations are conducted in the wrong sequence.

Rust has a growing and active community as well as a wide variety of libraries and tools. The language was created to promote clean and expressive code, making life easier for developers and contributing to code that is easy to read and maintain.


Rust’s main downside is its learning curve and relative difficulty for developers who are unfamiliar with its lesser known paradigms. Transitioning from other popular languages can therefore require significant time and effort.

Finally, even if Rust is a superior choice to Solidity (a debate for smart contract developers), relatively few blockchains have tooling or support for Rust.

Haskell (Cardano)

Cardano was built in Haskell, a programming language that was created in the 1980s for teaching, research, and industrial applications. Cardano’s smart contracts are written in Plutus, which is essentially a subset of Haskell.

Benefits of Haskell

Haskell is a so-called “functional” language that encourages a high level of abstraction and mathematical rigor. This aligns well with Cardono’s research-driven ethos, and it can contribute to code that is reliable and secure. It also lends it to formal verification, a process in which the correctness of code is mathematically proven (again, potentially enhancing security). Haskell’s expressive and concise syntax offers the possibility of cleaner and more maintainable code.

Like Rust, Haskell supports concurrent programming. This allows developers to write scalable and efficient code, making it useful for smart contracts that may need to handle multiple transactions simultaneously.


Haskell has a reputation for being a difficult language to learn, particularly for developers who come from more popular languages and who might be unfamiliar with functional programming concepts.

Cardano has a large and active community, but Haskell is only used as a smart contract language within this sole ecosystem (however, this includes tens of thousands of daily active users). As such, usage is limited and the smart contract ecosystem is less mature when compared to other platforms with larger developer communities. Additionally, there is less tooling, documentation, and support for developers.

Lastly, Haskell applications can have higher resource consumption compared to blockchain programming languages designed for more resource-constrained environments. This sometimes makes it less efficient than it needs to be.

ErgoScript (Ergo)

Created in 2014, ErgoScript is a simplified subset of Scala. Scala is widely employed in the software industry for large-scale applications (including Twitter and Netflix), and it is now being used as a programming language for blockchain.

Benefits of ErgoScript

ErgoScript was designed to create smart contracts using Ergo’s eUTXO model. This extends the functionality of Bitcoin while maintaining a high degree of security and privacy. Unlike Bitcoin’s native script (which does not support loops or complex smart contracts), ErgoScript allows for Turing-Complete applications.

Where ErgoScript shines is with its native support for Sigma Protocols. These enable easy and secure deployment of highly composable cryptographic statements that can be used to build powerful, custom applications, including ring and threshold signatures.


Scala is a popular language, but it’s not as easy to learn as some others. Use of ErgoScript is also confined to Ergo – for now. Find out more about the benefits of ErgoScript for crypto programming, and learn how to build your first dApp on Ergo!

Comparing Blockchain Languages

It can be hard to compare smart contract programming languages because there are various trade-offs and key differences. However, there are certain criteria that developers may look at:

  • Relevant ecosystems and breadth of use. Some languages are far more widely used than others (Solidity being the most popular), meaning there is more support, more tools, and they have a longer track record.
  • Complexity of functionality offered. Some languages offer features that others do not. As was previously mentioned in this article, Vyper is less feature-rich than Solidity and is not Turing complete.
  • Accessibility. Some blockchain languages are easier to learn than others – Vyper being one of the easiest, thanks to its similarities with Python. On the other hand, languages like Haskell are more complex and their principles are not as easy to grasp for many programmers coming from other languages. Rust is widely used outside the blockchain sector but can only be used on a few smart contract platforms.

Select The Right Language For Your Blockchain Project

These five crypto coding languages are just some of the possibilities developers can choose from when creating dApps. In practice though, the number of choices does not mean developers can have their pick of any of them. Building smart contract applications is not like creating regular Web2 applications (where many different programming languages might do the job) and the choice may have more to do with the personal preferences of developers.

The first factor for deciding which language to use is dependent on which blockchain platform the dApp is being built. Different blockchains support different coding languages, so there is no “one size fits all” option. If you have already decided on a blockchain ecosystem, this will restrict the number of coding languages you can use. For example, if using Cardano, you are basically restricted to Plutus. If using Ethereum or an EVM-compatible platform, then you have the option of Solidity or Vyper (as well as some lesser-known languages).

If you have not yet decided on a blockchain platform then there is a wider choice. In this case, the decision may have more to do with which languages have the best support, or which ones are similar to programming languages you already know. All things being equal, Solidity and Vyper probably have the best support in terms of a developer community and tooling, and the EVM ecosystem offers by far the largest arena in the blockchain space.

Alternatively, if you are already familiar with a programming language then it might make sense to select a crypto coding language that is somewhat similar. If you know JavaScript, then Solidity probably makes the most sense. If you are proficient in Python but not so sure about JavaScript, then Vyper might make more sense. Rust is similar to C or C++. ErgoScript is based on Scala, so if you know that language and are simply looking to dip your toes in the water and play around with Web3 dApps, it may be the most viable option.


Developing dApps for Web3 can be very different from Web2. Aside from needing to understand blockchain-specific concepts (including gas/transaction fees), there are different languages that can be used. Each blockchain platform has a limited number of crypto coding languages that are supported (sometimes only one), meaning that developers are often restricted in their options.

Moreover, there are significant trade-offs to consider when selecting a blockchain platform and language to work with. Smart contract languages differ widely in terms of their network effect, tooling, and levels of support. They have varying levels of complexity and functionality (and consequently different security requirements). Some are more accessible than others, taking differing amounts of time to learn, and they may be more or less similar to other popular programming languages. Finally, the size of the ecosystems within which they can be used differs considerably.

All these factors and more make selecting a crypto coding language something that developers should carefully consider. The success of their dApp and the services it links to may hinge on the strengths of one particular coding language.

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