What Programming Language is Bitcoin Written In?

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A hand is holding a bitcoin in front of a circle of cryptocurrencies.
Table of Contents
A hand is holding a bitcoin in front of a circle of cryptocurrencies.

Key Takeaways:

  • Bitcoin was written in C++ as the chosen programming language by Satoshi Nakamoto
  • C++ offers portability, scalability, and control over memory usage, making it suitable for handling large volumes of data efficiently in the Bitcoin blockchain
  • Other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Litecoin, Stellar, and Monero are also written in C++

What Programming Language is Bitcoin Written In?

Bitcoin was written in C++.

This was the programming language which Satoshi Nakamoto had chosen. 

The development started in 2008, and the main reason for this language was adaptability. In the Bitcoin development, the blockchain developers implemented this language into the Bitcoin Core. 

C++ is a high-level, general-purpose programming language designed for system and application development.

It was already released in 1985 and it is one of the oldest programming languages. 

Another key advantage of it is portability, which allows it to run on different operating systems without changing the code. 

It is also easily scalable across multiple platforms and enables developers to build highly efficient software, which makes it a powerful language for developing complex solutions like a blockchain. 

This programming language is always recommended if developers try to create a new currency. C++ is not the only suitable language as there are some more to choose which we will present to you below.

Why is Bitcoin Written in C++?

C++ has a good adaptability and is probably the main reason the developers have chosen this language. 

There are other advantages which probably made this programming language to be the perfect fit. 

C++ is an object-oriented language having the ability to create objects, classes and data structures to store information.

This makes it the ideal choice to develop the Bitcoin protocol, as it needs to handle large volumes of data efficiently. 

Because the blockchain has to work decentralized, it is beneficial if the code can be maintained across multiple platforms. This makes it easier for the developers to maintain the code regardless of what platform they use. 

C++ is scalable and portable across all platforms, which suits this requirement. Another plus is that C++ provides a great control over memory usage compared to many other programming languages. 

Because the blockchain is a public ledger, it offers a huge target point for malicious activities. All nodes in the network are not verified if we can trust them or not. 

This is intentional because the system delivers the trust itself and it needs to be accessible to everyone to provide its benefit. But this also can lead to nodes trying malicious attacks with the memory as a target. 

If they could allocate huge amounts of memory, they could be able to kill processes because of getting the memory to its full capacity. C++ allows control of this part, which prevents such scenarios. 

Another plus is the age of this language, as it is one of the most-distributed languages over a vast community of developers. This ensures that many developers could support the development.

How Are Cryptocurrencies Programmed?

Cryptocurrencies are programmed in the same way as every other software. 

These languages are used to design software that can power a cryptocurrency. 

Every cryptocurrency needs a blockchain to work, so the blockchain needs to be programmed. The key factor to consider when programming blockchains is that they need to be decentralized and publicly accessible through the internet without restrictions. 

Also, large amounts of data needs to be transferred quickly without allowing errors. This could lead to incomplete validation processes, which could interrupt the blockchain’s purpose of chaining blocks together. 

In such cases, the users would probably lose their trust in this system and it might collapse. The ultimate currency needs to have a set of rules and protocols to make it tamper-proof. This needs to be programmed into the codebase. 

Based on this codebase, the tokens can be generated which are then used as the currency. The code needs to be open-source to make it easy to change. 

Open-source sounds in the first step critical, but every change in the code must be validated by all nodes taking part in the network. This is the advantage of decentralization. 

The decision-making is also decentralized and no single instance can decide, it can only propose a change. The network then has to decide by a majority if the proposed changes will be accepted.

What Programming Languages for Blockchain Development Can We Use?

Even if Bitcoin was developed on C++ because of its many advantages, there are more programming languages suitable for blockchain development. 

Blockchains are not only there for cryptocurrencies, their use cases can differ. 

We can use blockchains to create NFTs, applications or as data storage. We can use it for documents, domain names or even property rights. The use cases are nearly limitless. Because of this variety, we can also use different programming languages. 

Suitable options would be Java, Python, Solidity, JavaScript, C#, Go or Rust. There are even more coding languages available, which always depend on the specific use case a developer wants to achieve for his blockchain. 

Each language provides distinct advantages, so some may be more suited than others, depending on the application. Some blockchains even developed their own language to fit it perfectly for the needs of it. 

Ethereum is the most-common example which uses its own language, Solidity. Let’s look at some of these languages and what benefits they can provide to blockchains.

What Are the Best Programming Languages for Creating Cryptocurrencies?

The most popular programming language to learn is Solidity. 

The reason for this is that it is used by Ethereum. 

Ethereum has up to now the biggest blockchain in terms of applications. Bitcoin is the biggest cryptocurrency, but it is limited to only this use case for now. 

Ethereum offers many original use cases, so if you want to develop smart contracts, NFTs or applications, then this programming language can be beneficial to learn. JavaScript is another language worth learning. It is the language of the internet. 

You can build websites and web apps with it and easily develop environments to connect to blockchains and smart contracts.

Another favorable language to learn is “Go”. It is used for the backend to create high-performing applications. 

“Go” is fast and easy-to-use and even clients for Ethereum were already developed in this language. As a con, it is relatively new and there are not as many resources or libraries available. 

Python is one of the best programming languages to learn and it is a good fit if you’re new to programming. It’s easy to use as an object-oriented programming language and can handle big data. 

Simplicity is another language developed specifically for blockchains. It was developed to create smart contracts and is therefore one of the best languages for this use case. C++ is always good to learn as a developer and is a great language for blockchains. 

It is not only used as the Bitcoin programming language but also for other blockchains like Ripple or Litecoin. Rust is another language used by blockchains like Solana or Polkadot. There are even more languages available and they all depend on your needs.

What Language is Ethereum Written In?

Ethereum uses its own language called Solidity

It was specifically designed for the smart contracts this blockchain provides us. 

It is the oldest and most stable blockchain programming language. Compared to Bitcoin, Ethereum also can provide smart contracts. For this use case, the programmers developed their own programming language to meet their specific needs. 

These contracts are important because they allow the use of different applications from software over games to NFTs and many contracts and documents.

They are executed over the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and are always based on a smart contract. 

Ethereum allows for application development called “DApps”. These applications are decentralized and work on top of Ethereum’s network to provide the benefits of the blockchain.

Because of this many possibilities, Solidity is one of the best languages to learn if you want to develop on this blockchain. 

Another reason to learn this language is that many blockchains are built on top of Ethereum, so building a new blockchain also on top of it is easier.

Is It Difficult to Write the Code for a Blockchain Platform?

Writing code is always challenging, no matter which project. 

If you code a software or a blockchain doesn’t matter. 

What differs is that the blockchain also requires an excellent knowledge of the topic, especially cryptography. Therefore, programming all the parts to make the blockchain concept work requires technical expertise. 

Blockchains are a new technology and many people don’t understand it. This can make it harder to achieve results in this area. 

If you want to start in the blockchain business, then it will be helpful if you are already experienced in programming, so you only have to focus on gaining knowledge about blockchain technologies. 

Understanding of mathematics and cryptography are necessary to really grasp the concept and apply it to development.

You will also need a good understanding of distributed systems, consensus algorithms or data structures. 

The complexity of the blockchain makes it difficult to code. However, as with all other topics, everyone can learn the fundamentals of blockchain to create their own solutions.

Can I Learn Blockchain Technology Without Coding Languages?

Yes, you can learn everything you need to know about blockchain technology without knowing how to code. 

The problem here is just that you won’t be able to apply this knowledge. 

If you want to do your own business on the blockchain, you can use blockchains so you don’t have to build them. But if you want to provide any service, the likelihood is high that at some point you will need to program a service or feature to achieve a solution. 

As long as you need to start any kind of development, you always will need to program. Even if you hire people to do, it is always recommended to have some knowledge so you know what you do.

What Cryptocurrency is Written in C++?

A good place to code for blockchains is C++. 

Besides Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Litecoin, Stellar or Monero also use this programming language. 

Ripple is also programmed in its core based on C++. Litecoin originated from a fork of Bitcoin and is therefore also built on C++. Stellar and Monero are both written in C and C++. The advantages of C++ make it a good fit for crypto. 


Is Python Used in Blockchain?

Yes, python is also used for blockchains. 

What needs to be stated is that no blockchain relies completely on Python, but uses it as an additional language for specific parts of the blockchain. 

It further is used to program external software to be used with blockchains. Ethereum even has their own documentation for python developers on how to develop decentralized applications for their blockchain.

Is Solidity Similar to C++?

Solidity differs from C++ and is not a similar programming language. 

Solidity was developed influenced by programming languages like C++, JavaScript and Python. 

In terms of syntax, both languages share similarities, but solidity is easier to use than C++ on the level of Python or JavaScript.

There is also no complex memory management. 

Solidity was designed specifically for smart contracts and as the first smart contract programming language, it has the biggest community and is worth learning if you want to develop in this environment.

Is Python Useful in Blockchain?

Python is a powerful programming language but is more suited to program decentralized applications that can interact with blockchains. 

Blockchains themselves are programmed in languages like C++.

The strength of Python lies in its easy and fast way of creating an application with an extensive library of tools and frameworks.

Conclusion: What Programming Language is Bitcoin Written In?

Bitcoin was written in C++, chosen for its adaptability and ability to handle large volumes of data efficiently. While other programming languages like Python are used for specific parts of blockchains, C++ remains a popular choice due to its portability, scalability, and control over memory usage. However, there are various programming languages suitable for blockchain development, each with its own advantages and use cases.



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About the Author:
Jordan Adams, with a rich background in Finance and Economics and specialized knowledge in blockchain, is a distinguished voice in the cryptocurrency community. Their journey in fintech and digital currency trading has equipped them to offer unique insights into digital finance. Jordan's writing demystifies cryptocurrency concepts with well-researched, practical advice. Engaged in the crypto community, Jordan shares timely market insights, fostering understanding of complex technologies and their practical applications in the evolving digital currency landscape.