In recent years, the words “cryptocurrency” and “blockchain” can be heard more and more often in the news and, as a result, there is an influx of a large number of people interested in these technologies, and with it a huge number of new products. Often, for the implementation of some internal logic of the project or fundraising, smart contracts are used – special programs created on the Ethereum platform and living inside its blockchain.
Solidity is an object-oriented smart contract programming language for the Ethereum platform.
The language was proposed in August 2014 by Gavin Wood. Subsequently, the development of the language was carried out under the leadership of Christian Reitwiessner by the Solidity team as part of the Ethereum project. This is one of several languages designed to translate the byte code of the Ethereum virtual machine. It became widespread with the advent of blockchain technologies, in particular, a stack of technologies based on Ethereum, for creating smart contract software.
So what are smart contracts?
Nick Szabo first described smart contract technology in the 1990s. He defined smart contracts as a tool that formalizes and protects computer networks by combining protocols with a user interface. Szabo also discussed the potential use of smart contracts in various areas, which include contractual public relations, such as credit agreements, payment processing, and copyright management.
In the world of cryptocurrencies, a smart contract is an application running on the blockchain. As a rule, it acts as a digital agreement, which is supported by a certain set of rules. These rules are predefined by computer code that is replicated and executed by all nodes of the network.
In essence, in relation to the blockchain, smart contracts allow you to create trust protocols. This means that both parties can take on obligations through the blockchain, without knowledge or trust in each other. Participants in this process may not worry about the correct fulfillment of obligations, because if the conditions are not satisfied, the contract is canceled. Besides, the use of smart contracts can eliminate the need for intermediaries, significantly reducing operating costs.
Although the Bitcoin protocol has supported smart contracts for many years, they were polarized by the creator and co-founder of Ethereum Vitalik Buterin. In addition, each blockchain may present a different method for implementing smart contracts.
Ethereum Solidity: Key Benefits
- Solidity is a statically-typed language that supports inheritance and libraries.
- Solidity can be used to program smart contracts on other platforms: Monax, Burrow blockchain, Tendermint, Counterparty, and Zeppelin.
- Solidity is supported by many IDEs, the most popular of them are Remix, the official ID of Solidity, Microsoft Visual Studio, JetBrains IDE, EthFiddle and EtherAtom.
- Ethereum used to support two other languages Serpent and Mutan. Alternatives to Solidity nowadays are LLL (Low-level Lisp-like Language) and Viper.
Without a doubt, smart contracts have had a great impact on the world of cryptocurrencies and revolutionized blockchain technology. Since end-users may not interact directly with smart contracts, perhaps in the future they will serve as the basis for a wide range of applications, from financial services to supply chain management.
The potential of smart contracts along with blockchain can have an impact on almost all areas of our society. But only time will tell if these innovative technologies can overcome many barriers to widespread adoption.
Solidity is one of the three languages for the development of Ethereum smart contracts and, perhaps, the most developed one. Ethereum capitalization reached 22 billion US dollars, and by the end of 2020, Ethereum 2.0 is planned to be released, which will increase network bandwidth and add a new mechanism for achieving Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus.
Based on these facts, Solidity has a bright future, both for the language itself and for developers who study it. Although this programming language is relatively new, it is estimated that more than 200,000 developers are already working with it.