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Ask CryptoVantage: What Are the Best Programming Languages for Crypto?

Cryptocurrency jobs are in vogue. A LinkedIn report in January cited a 395% rise in crypto job postings in the US in 2021. The two most common postings were for blockchain developers and engineers. In comparison, other jobs in traditional tech saw a 98% jump in job listings.

Another LinkedIn post reports blockchain developers are the most in-demand professionals in the programming world. To prove this, blockchain developers in the US earned in the ballpark of $175,000 in 2021, while their software counterparts earned $77,000.

This points out that while cryptocurrency and blockchain jobs are currently hot, developer jobs are hotter. And companies are willing to fork out big money to match with the best talent.

Also, despite  massive layoffs and the market being in a slump, interest in crypto jobs continues to spike. A Google Trends study reported a score of 100 through June 12-18, which was a 614% increase from searches in 2021.

As a crypto and blockchain developer, you need to know your way around several programming languages.

Below, we highlight the three top programming languages you need to get on top of if you want to work in the crypto space.

What's the best way to start coding cryptocurrency?

#1. Rust

Although a bit of a spring chicken in the programming world, Rust has become a top contender for programming pros worldwide. Programming Q&A site Stack Overflow listed the language as the most popular programming language — based on programmers’ feedback for six consecutive years. And that enthusiasm seems to have crossed over to the crypto space.

Currently, several blockchain projects implement Rust as their programming language. That includes:

  • Ethereum rival Solana
  • Privacy networks ZCash and Grin
  • Scalability platform Elrond
  • Interoperability platform Polkadot

Other projects, while not necessarily running on Rust, allow developers to use it. Examples are Ethereum, Cardano, Ankr, Qtum, and Nervos.

So what’s the deal with Rust’s sudden popularity? Perhaps we can get a clue from Solana founders Anatoly Yakovenko and Raj Gokal, who, in a YouTube chat with UpOnly explained their reasoning behind choosing Solana over other languages. The duo’s answers boiled down to Rust being harder to learn than other languages like Solidity.

Yakovenko opined that “everyone loves Rust”. He continued: “The hard part with EVM is, are you gonna get smart people full-time thinking like “how am I gonna build on scale” or are you gonna get someone that copies something from Solidity and slaps a token on it?”

The implication here is unlike, for example, Solidity, Rust is more advanced and more likely to attract top-tier professional programmers.

In addition to being hard to learn, another of Rust’s selling points is speed. It supports high performance and nabs bugs before they slow down the system. Due to that, Rust lends itself as an ideal programming language for crypto.

#2. JavaScript

JavaScript is one of the most popular programming languages ever. 98% of websites deploy the language in some form, per W3Techs. It’s so ubiquitous and with such a low barrier to entry that it prompted software developer and Stack Overflow founder to famously remark: “Any application that can be written in JavaScript, will eventually be written in JavaScript.”

Already, JavaScript is increasingly making inroads into blockchain and crypto. Ethereum supports writing in the language and has a team dedicated to making that process simple. The Lisk SDK by decentralized platform Lisk is a software development kit that helps programmers build JavaScript applications.

JavaScript features a cross-platform framework called NodeJS that allows you to create crypto applications, including your own coin. A cursory look on the web reveals countless guides for creating a cryptocurrency using NodeJS and user accounts of successful trials.

Unlike Solidity, in which you’ll need to master the new language, most developers already know their way around JavaScript. Think of it as the entry point before you work your way up in crypto coding.

JavaScript is the only programming language incorporated in nearly every web system. This means you can get started right away with experimenting with crypto applications.

#3. Solidity

Unlike Rust and JavaScript, Solidity is a crypto-specific programming language. Solidity is nearly synonymous with smart contracts, having been first deployed to write smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. The idea of Solidity was hatched by former Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood and went to be developed by other early Ethereum contributors, including Christian Reitwiessner.

The Bitcoin network is an excellent channel for sending money, but it’s not so programmable. On its part, Ethereum is programmable because it allows developers to build and launch applications. You can also deploy and store your smart contracts on the network without permission from anyone. Ethereum has the Ethereum Virtual Machine that features the Ethereum bytecode, a runtime environment that interprets Solidity.

Several crypto projects employ Solidity for smart contracts, including:

  • Ethereum
  • Ethereum Classic
  • Polkadot
  • Smart contract platform Avalanche
  • Binance Chain (Binance Coin(BNB), stablecoin Binance USD (BUSD), and decentralized exchange Pancake Swap
  • Blockchain protocol Tendermint
  • “Ethereum competitor” Tron
  • DeFi projects, including UniswapCompound
  • dApp platform ZhCash

This means Solidity is a language anyone looking to work in crypto needs to acquaint themselves with. Solidity borrows syntax from other languages like JavaScript and C++. That means if you’re well versed in them, you’re on your way to learning Solidity faster than if you had no coding experience.

Solidity is the most used scripting language in smart contracts, and smart contracts are a key component of crypto, so learning Solidity is integral to your skill set if you want to work in crypto.

Final Word: Coders Will Always Be in Demand

Despite these hard times for crypto, people are expressing interest in jobs, and companies are on a hiring spree — with developer jobs particularly in demand.

If you’re looking to take a stab at the job market as a developer, mustering Rust, JavaScript, and Solidity will set you ahead.

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Hope Mutie

About the Author

Hope Mutie

Hope Mutie is a professional writer and editor whose interests include fintech, cryptocurrency, and blockchain. She engages with crypto audiences by curating content that’s fun-to-read, educational, and offers unmatched value. Hope is part of the brilliant team at Go Full Crypto – a podcast and service that enables your transition into crypto.

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