Blockchain is conceivably one of the most disruptive technologies that have recently appeared on the tech scene. You'll find Blockchain at the core of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that have enjoyed the spotlight for the last few years. But you will also find it in finance, Internet of Things applications, healthcare, and even government.
What exactly is Blockchain?
In its essence, a blockchain is a distributed database that allows direct transactions between two parties without the need for an authoritative mediator. It may sound simple, but the idea behind Blockchain holds significant implications for institutions ranging from banks to governments or even entire marketplaces.
Even though Blockchain is written in C++, many developers and data scientists turn to other languages for building their blockchains.
Let's say that Peter wants to pay Anne $10. If they use physical cash, then Peter will no longer have his cash after the transaction is done. In case they decide to use digital money, the problem becomes more complicated. Digital money is a digital representation of value and can be duplicated in some ways. If Peter sends a digital copy of a file worth $10, Anne can't be sure if Peter has deleted his copy of the file. If he still has his copy of the file, he can send it to someone else. This devalues the currency relative to other monetary units and diminishes user trust.
The most popular way of solving the double-spending issue is to have a trusted third-party. In case of making a transaction, it might be a bank. This represents a single point of failure from both availability and trust viewpoints.
Public-key cryptography is an encryption scheme that uses pair related keys:
the public key (used to encrypt, freely shared),
the private key (used to decrypt, known only to the owner, also known as an asymmetric key).
Asymmetric cryptography accomplishes two functions:
authentication, where the public key verifies that a holder of the paired private key sent the message,
encryption, where only the paired private key holder can decrypt the message encrypted with the public key.
Here are five good reasons why Python makes an excellent language for a Blockchain project.
1. It's advanced and easy to learn
Python has been around for a while now, and its position on the tech scene is growing stronger. Since it's supported by a large and passionate community of developers, Python has significantly evolved as a language and is now at an advanced stage, which guarantees stability and reliability.
It's a technology with a bright future, so you can rest assured that your project won't be based on a language that is on its way to becoming obsolete.
Moreover, Python has a gentle learning curve, making it easier for developers to master it within a reasonable time-frame, and even allows for less experienced developers to contribute to projects immediately.
2. Python is simple and minimalistic
Simplicity and minimalism are at the core of Python's philosophy. Its simplicity derives from many different features – for example, in Python, white spaces signify code blocks, and developers don't need to worry about adding curly brackets or keywords. They can use Python to code a blockchain without having to write a lot of code.
3. Python is popular right now
Another feature that makes Python an excellent choice for a Blockchain-based project is its popularity. Have a look at this year's TIOBE index, and you'll see Python occupying the third place among all programming languages. And the index shows that its popularity is continually growing.
In practice, this means you'll have an easy time building your project team because there are plenty of developers out there who specialize in Python, including professionals with an academic or scientific background. But easy access to Python experts isn't everything. The language’s popularity also means that your team will take advantage of Python's vibrant community, which shares knowledge and builds useful libraries.
4. It can be run compiled or uncompiled
Contrary to C++, Python is a scripted language that doesn't require compilation to become understandable to machines, which makes developers’ lives more comfortable.
Imagine running an application and noticing a bug. If you're using a compiled language, to fix it, you'll have to stop the application, return to the source code, fix the bug, recompile the code, and restart your application. In Python, all it takes is fixing the bug and reloading your application – you won't have to recompile code. And that's a massive advantage in building blockchains.
Translating code on the fly can negatively affect the performance of scripting languages. That's why Python offers the option of pre-compiling the code along with many other techniques that speed it up, giving developers working in Blockchain a choice.
Blockchain has specific requirements when it comes to code and language.
In general, when choosing a programming language for a Blockchain project, make sure that the language is secure, performant, and scalable. You need an advanced and reliable language to make your blockchains as safe as possible – and Python can help you with that.
Since anyone can add to your blockchain, your network and code should be able to deal with a growing query list. Python has that covered as well. Finally, a Blockchain application needs to allow anyone to add to the chain without these transactions being processed in parallel. You need a speedy and versatile language for that – and that's why you should choose Python.
Python allows us to create a simple blockchain in less than 50 lines of code. First, we need to define what our block will look like. Each block in the blockchain is stored with a timestamp and an index. Blockchain integrity is key, so it should be ensured with a cryptographic hash of the block's index, timestamp, data, and a hash of the previous block's hash (or the genesis block at the start).
Python is recommended for blockchain if you're trying to address an Internet of Things use case. In Python, you can easily perform many tasks with a single command. It makes the work of building blocks with the relevant information and linking them together a much easier one to do. Python is clean and has a huge collection of libraries already available, to name just a few of the reasons why you should go with Python.