Smart contract programming languages

Navigating the Landscape of 8 Smart Contract Languages

More smart contract programming languages signify a broader effort within the blockchain community to tackle challenges and unleash the potential of dapps. Through ongoing innovation and learning from the strengths and weaknesses of these languages, the blockchain community is on a steady path towards a more secure, efficient, and user-friendly crypto space.


In the world of blockchains, smart contracts have emerged as a groundbreaking tool. They sum up agreements in code and autonomously enforce their terms. They are self-executing contracts with terms directly coded, making a new age of transactional efficiency and diminishing the hurdles often found in traditional contract law.

The advent of smart contracts has undoubtedly propelled the digital economy, paving the way for inventive applications across a wide range of sectors. From simplifying processes in finance to enhancing transparency in supply chains, the widespread impact of smart contracts showcases their transformative potential.

This article aims to explore the leading programming languages for smart contracts of 2023, highlighting their distinctive features, operational frameworks, and the value they bring to their respective fields. Through a thorough deep dive, we want to bridge the current knowledge gap, promoting a deeper comprehension of smart contracts and their crucial role in today's space.

smart contracts


Solidity (website) has emerged as the preferred programming language, specifically tailored for developing smart contracts on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). It's the go-to choice for crafting Ethereum smart contracts, making it a popular pick in this domain. With its syntax resemblancing to JavaScript, Solidity gently welcomes developers familiar with JavaScript into the blockchain space.

One of the appealing factors of Solidity is the strong support it enjoys within the Ethereum ecosystem, being a fundamental part of Ethereum smart contracts. This robust backing eases the path for developers. As time marched on, a plethora of development tools and frameworks have sprung up around Solidity, smoothing out the processes of development, testing, and deployment of smart contracts.

Moreover, a lively community of developers gravitates towards Solidity, providing a rich reservoir of help, tutorials, and libraries which is not as easily found with less known smart contract languages. Additionally, the active upkeep and regular updates keep Solidity fresh with new features, optimizations, and security enhancements.

On the downside, the mix of flexibility and complexity in Solidity might birth security loopholes in smart contracts if not handled with care and thoroughly reviewed. Ethereum has faced its share of security hitches, many traced back to Solidity smart contracts. And while its resemblance to JavaScript softens the learning curve, Solidity brings to the table unique blockchain and smart contract concepts that could be stumbling blocks for beginners.

The use of Solidity also predominantly resides within the Ethereum ecosystem. Although some other blockchains do support the EVM, diving into different blockchain platforms might require acquainting oneself with new languages.

Solidity is the most popular of smart contract programming languages


Rust (website) is a low-level programming language cherished by many for its simplicity, high processing speed, and efficient memory usage. It brings a level of ease to programming as it allows for editing and correcting code as needed. While Solidity holds the reigns when it comes to building most of the notable blockchains today, Rust stands out as the chosen language for creating smart contracts on the Solana platform.

Engaging with Rust reveals a set of advantages. Its high processing speed makes it a go-to for tasks demanding performance, and its memory efficiency is a boon in environments where resources are a premium. The language is designed to provide enhanced safety and concurrency, making it a robust choice for a wide range of applications. The ease of correcting and editing code, as mentioned, reduces the barrier to refining and optimizing the program over time.

However, no language is without its drawbacks. Rust's learning curve can be steep for those new to systems programming, potentially slowing down the initial development process. The language's strict compiler and emphasis on memory safety, while beneficial for preventing errors, can be demanding for newcomers.

Rust's application isn't confined to Solana; it finds a home in various platforms appreciating its performance and safety features. For instance, it's being utilized in blockchain projects like Polkadot and Near.

Rust smart contract programming language


Move (website) is a programming language developed by Facebook's Libra project, now known as Diem. It is crafted specifically for implementing custom transactions and smart contracts. One of its standout features is the ability to define custom resource types with semantics inspired by linear logic, a feature that aids in ensuring digital assets are handled in a safe, secure manner.

The creation of Move comes with several advantages. Its capability to define custom resource types is a powerful tool for developers, making it a unique choice for crafting secure digital transactions. The linear logic semantics help ensure assets aren't duplicated or lost, addressing common issues found in other blockchain platforms. Additionally, the language is designed with safety in mind, incorporating a set of formal verifications to minimize the risk of bugs and other issues.

On the downside, Move is relatively new and not as well-known or widely used as languages like Solidity or Rust. This could potentially lead to a smaller community and fewer resources for developers to lean on. Moreover, its unique design could pose a learning challenge for developers unfamiliar with its linear logic-based approach, possibly extending the learning curve and development time.

Move finds its primary application on Sui and Aptos, where it plays a critical role in defining the core operations of the blockchain and its overall structure.

Move Blockchain


Vyper (website) is a programming language that emerged as an alternative to Solidity for developing smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. Unlike Solidity that emphasizes functionality, Vyper puts a spotlight on security and simplicity. It’s intentionally designed to make it difficult for programmers to write misleading code, which is a notable step towards preventing bugs and ensuring that smart contracts do exactly what their developers intend.

One of the pros of Vyper is its focus on security. By minimizing the attack surface, it aims to provide a more secure environment for smart contract development. This is crucial in the blockchain space, where contracts often manage valuable assets and any vulnerability can lead to significant losses. Besides, Vyper’s simplicity makes it easier for developers to understand the code, which can also contribute to fewer bugs and better maintenance. Its strict syntax and smaller feature set can lead to more readable code, which is a benefit for both the original developers and anyone who might work on the project later.

However, Vyper also comes with some cons. Its strict design philosophy and simplicity can be limiting for developers used to the extensive toolkit offered by Solidity. There might be some functions or features available in Solidity that Vyper doesn’t support, potentially making it a less attractive option for certain projects. Moreover, Vyper is not as mature or popular as Solidity. It has a smaller community and fewer resources available, which can slow down development or make finding help more difficult.

Currently, Vyper is mainly used on the Ethereum blockchain, just like Solidity. It’s another option for developers looking to build smart contracts on this platform, especially if they’re prioritizing security and simplicity over a broad range of features.

Vyper smart contract programming language


Cairo (website) is a programming language primarily utilized within StarkNet, a layer-2 blockchain developed atop Ethereum. Its standout feature lies in transforming program logic into STARK proofs, which are then verifiable computations settled on the Ethereum blockchain. This unique characteristic makes Cairo a potent tool for crafting fast and scalable smart contracts.

On the positive side, the integration of STARK proofs significantly elevates the speed and scalability of smart contracts, addressing two pressing issues often encountered in blockchain development. By offloading computations onto a second layer and only settling the final results on the Ethereum blockchain, Cairo enables a more efficient use of blockchain resources, thereby reducing costs and increasing throughput.

However, on the downside, Cairo's usage is somewhat confined to the StarkNet and StarkEx ecosystem. This narrow scope of support outside its native ecosystem can be a limitation for developers looking to employ Cairo in diverse blockchain environments. The restricted interoperability might deter some developers from adopting Cairo, especially those working on projects not aligned with the StarkNet/StarkEx infrastructure.



Clarity (website) is a programming language specifically fashioned for creating smart contracts, primarily on the Stacks blockchain. The design of Clarity places a high emphasis on predictability and security, which are crucial for building trust in blockchain transactions and applications.

One of the notable advantages of Clarity is its "decidable" nature. Unlike many other languages, Clarity doesn't have a compiler, which means the code written is the actual code executed without any intermediary transformations. This feature eliminates a host of potential bugs and security issues tied to compiler behavior, making smart contracts more predictable and safer.

Additionally, Clarity's precise language allows developers to ascertain the exact cost of executing a contract before it runs. This transparency in execution cost is a significant advantage as it helps avoid unexpected fees, making transactions more user-friendly.

On the downside, Clarity’s strictness and lack of a compiler could pose a steep learning curve for developers accustomed to other programming languages. This characteristic may initially slow down the development process as programmers familiarize themselves with Clarity’s unique environment. Moreover, being a relatively new language, Clarity might not have as extensive a community or as rich a set of libraries and tools as more established languages like Solidity.



FunC (website), compared to Solidity, stands as the primary programming language for smart contract development within the TON ecosystem. Within TON, a variety of TVMs (TON Virtual Machines) are operational, securely housing these contracts on a blockchain. While developers have the liberty to deploy their unique smart contracts, it comes at a cost as a fee is attached to this service. For individuals well-versed in Solidity programming, the initial transition to FunC may pose a challenge. However, with time, becoming accustomed to its syntax and exploring additional features becomes feasible.

One of the notable advantages of FunC is its ability for off-chain execution. This unique capability allows for executing certain code segments without depending on the TON network, which in turn can boost efficiency and cut down transaction times.

Additionally, FunC is supportive of sharding, a feature that empowers the TON blockchain to handle transactions in parallel across multiple shards. This is a significant enhancement, especially for large-scale applications, as it can lead to improved scalability and less network congestion.

Not to be overlooked is FunC's built-in governance feature which facilitates decentralized decision-making and voting on code alterations. This aspect not only enriches the language but also contributes to making the ecosystem safer by promoting a more democratic process for code modifications. Through these advantages, FunC showcases its potential as a robust language for smart contract development in the TON ecosystem, aligning well with the needs of modern blockchain networks.

Functional Programing Languange

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WebAssembly (website), abbreviated as WASM, is a binary instruction format that has been designed for secure and efficient execution on web pages. Though not a blockchain-native technology, it's being adopted in the blockchain space for smart contract development due to its robust features. Platforms like Polkadot and Ethereum 2.0 are exploring or have already adopted WebAssembly to enhance their smart contract capabilities.

One of the major advantages of WASM is its performance. Being a binary format, it’s more efficient and faster compared to JavaScript, which traditionally powers web applications. This efficiency translates well to the blockchain environment where resource utilization and speed are critical for smart contract execution.

WASM also stands out for its portability and security features. It's designed to run on all modern browsers, irrespective of the operating system, ensuring a wide reach and ease of deployment. On the security front, WASM operates within a sandboxed execution environment, preventing unauthorized access to the host system, which is crucial for blockchain applications where trust and security are paramount.

However, there are downsides to consider. The learning curve can be steep for developers not familiar with system-level programming. Unlike other high-level smart contract languages, working with WASM might require a deeper understanding of the underlying hardware and memory management, which could be a barrier for some developers.

In the blockchain domain, WASM is being adopted or explored by several platforms looking to benefit from its performance and security features. Polkadot, for example, has embraced WASM for its smart contract execution. Similarly, the Ethereum community is exploring eWASM, a restricted subset of WASM, for the Ethereum 2.0 upgrade, aiming to improve the performance and flexibility of its smart contract ecosystem.


Final Thoughts

In the thriving world of blockchain technology, smart contract languages are pivotal for crafting decentralized applications (dApps). The variety of languages like Solidity, Rust, Move, Vyper, Cairo, Clarity, and WebAssembly (WASM) each brings its unique features, benefits, and challenges, catering to diverse needs within the blockchain sphere.

Solidity, as the most popular and widely adopted, forms the cornerstone of Ethereum's bustling ecosystem. Its mature tooling and robust community support make it a reliable choice for developers. Yet, it does come with security concerns and potential high gas costs, which are often hurdles for developers.

On the flip side, Rust, known for its high processing speed and memory efficiency, stands as a strong alternative, especially appealing for developers aiming to build smart contracts on platforms like Solana. Move, mainly utilized in Sui and Aptos, emphasizes safety and security, crucial for managing digital assets.

Vyper, though less mature than Solidity, underscores security and simplicity, striving for a safer smart contract development environment. Meanwhile, Cairo introduces verifiable computation, particularly beneficial within the StarkNet ecosystem.

Clarity, tailored for the Stacks blockchain, zeroes in on predictability and security, allowing developers to pen high-stake smart contracts with assurance. WebAssembly, while not a blockchain-native tech, is venturing into the blockchain realm, offering high performance and security.

The choice of language significantly sways the functionality, security, and efficiency of the dApps crafted. As the blockchain arena continues to mature, it's plausible that these languages will evolve, and new ones might surface to better meet the shifting dynamics and demands of this vibrant domain.

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