Blockchain Technology and C++ Programming

Wayne Wu

Wayne is a graduate from the university of Waterloo with a B.A. in psychology. He is interested in all things tech and design. You can find him taking pictures from time to time.

There are many languages available for developing blockchain. Discover why C++ is one of the top languages when it comes to blockchain programming. Learn more about C++ programming and blockchain in this beginner guide.


If you’re looking to become a blockchain developer, you’re not starved for choice in terms of what languages are at your disposal. You can go with Solidity, which sees wide usage in Ethereum smart contracts. You can choose JavaScript for any website you go on. Or, a whole host of other languages that you may already have experience with.

Among all these languages, C++ remains one of the top languages to use in blockchain programming. In fact, Bitcoin, the most well-known cryptocurrency and its blockchain, is written with C++.  This should be a sign of its strength as a programming language. But what makes it so useful in blockchain development?

What is C++?

C++ is one of the earliest known coding languages, introduced back in 1985 by Bjarne Stroustrup. It is an object-oriented programming language. You can package data and functions into “objects” that can be used over and over. This saves you the need to generate new code every time.

C++ originated from the older C language which was a process-oriented language. So while it had clear advantages from being object-oriented, it still maintained much of the efficiency and flexibility of C.

It is also just as secure, which is a cornerstone of blockchain technology.

The development of blockchain software has a specific set of requirements and challenges. Security and reliability are key concerns, as is effective resource management. Blockchain functions involve a lot of interaction with untrusted nodes. But still needs to be able to deliver quick service to any and all of those nodes. The success of a cryptocurrency can even be thought of as hinging on this prompt service. To achieve all of these needs and to do it well, it is essential to have complete control over CPU and memory usage.

When you think about the other qualities of blockchain, C++ starts to look more and more like a go-to choice for development.

Memory Control

Blockchain applications are fairly memory-intensive and resource-demanding. They need to perform transactions and interact with all the nodes at faster speeds, all while maintaining the overall security of the ecosystem. The capability of C++ to effectively control memory and CPU usage makes it shine in this regard.

Compile Time Polymorphism

A characteristic of object-oriented programming languages is polymorphism. This is also known as using a certain feature in various ways. By using C++ to code your blockchain, tasks can be executed separately and effectively. This can enhance the performance of the digital ledger.

Move Semantics

Move semantics, another feature of C++, allows for huge performance boosts. It provides a way to move the contents within one object to another, rather than copy them. This way, you only get the specific data you need, when you need it. The efficiency of move semantics in C++ is extremely valuable when you’re programming blockchain applications.

Code Isolation

C++ is an archaic but revolutionary programming language. It has namespace features that can be shifted from one place to another. However, collisions can occasionally occur and distort the entire system. The language’s ability to segment and group numerous APIs differently makes code isolation a smaller challenge for coders.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Advanced Multi-threading

Within blockchain programming, there are tasks that parallelize and tasks that do not. While most languages are effective at only one of these two types of tasks, C++ can handle both very well. By having effective multi-thread capabilities along with optimizing single-thread performance.


C++ also happens to be one of the oldest and most used programming languages. It had its beginnings back in 1979. Because of this, it has had time to mature and develop in the decades. It added useful elements such as debuggers and analytical tools to help improve the efficiency of various functions. Through the amount of updates that have been made to C++, along with the complexity of the language itself, it’s not hard to see why it was used to develop Bitcoin.

Of course, C++ is not without its shortcomings. It is quite a complex language. The learning curve can be quite steep for developers who are just starting out. The same complexity can also often be difficult to debug, despite the inclusion of debuggers over the years.

Other Alternatives

There are also a few great alternatives to C++ for blockchain programming that are still beginner-friendly. In some cases, function just as effectively as C++ itself.


Solidity is a high-level programming language that can make use of C++ classes along with Javascript scripts efficiently. Solidity can be a very solid choice for getting your start in blockchain development. Solidity makes it even easier for newer programmers to get started. It provides tips and instructions for using its code. If you have decent proficiency in modern programming languages, you will not have a problem with picking up this one.

Notably, this language was created by Ethereum, one of the most popular cryptocurrencies in the world. It is natural to use Solidity if you want to program for Ethereum. Compared to C++, it is fairly new and therefore still trying to gain traction in the community. The Ethereum cryptocurrency has inherent ties to is famous for its efficiency and speed.


While not a coding language, Scrypt is a hashing algorithm that is worth mentioning. Hashing algorithms play a key role in the process of mining cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 algorithm which has been around for a relatively long time, whereas Scrypt is fairly new, and is used in Litecoin.

A defining feature of Scrypt is that it was designed to be less susceptible to the types of hardware solutions endemic in conventional ASIC-based mining. In short, this makes cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin that use Scrypt more accessible to would-be miners.


Python is another modern language by coding standards. It is also easy to pick up due to its simple syntax being similar to the English language. This coding language can be used to perform a variety of tasks. It can create web-based applications on servers, connect to database systems, and perform complex mathematics.

Because of its ubiquity and a wide scope of functionality, you will find that almost every blockchain ecosystem has at least one public tool written in Python.

You will find that C++ is in many popular cryptocurrencies and blockchain projects. Most blockchain technologies are written in this language.  Becoming more familiar with C++ will open a whole new world for you in the blockchain ecosystem. This includes Bitcoin, Ripple, Stellar, and Monero. While C++ is difficult to learn, all find that all the hard work is worth it for the huge value you get in return.

Wayne Wu

Wayne is a graduate from the university of Waterloo with a B.A. in psychology. He is interested in all things tech and design. You can find him taking pictures from time to time.

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