f 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 Solidify, which sees wide usage in Ethereum smart contracts; JavaScript, which used on practically any website you go on; or a whole host of other languages that you may already have experience with.

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

What is C++?

For one thing, C++ is an object-oriented programming language, so you can package data and functions into “objects” that can be used over and over, saving you the need to generate new code every time.

C++ originated from the older C language which was 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. 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.

Move Semantics

Move semantics, another feature of C++, allows for huge performance boosts by providing 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.

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, having effective mult-thread capabilities along with optimizing single-thread performance.


C++ also happens to be one of the oldest and most used programming languages, which had its beginnings back in 1979. Because of this, it has had time to mature and develop in the decades since, adding in 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. Being 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. However, once you find yourself becoming more and more familiar with C++, it will open a whole new world for you in the blockchain ecosystem, since most blockchain technologies are written in this language. Eventually, you will find that all of the hard work is worth it for the huge value you get in return.

Updated on
October 30, 2019

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