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Building on the Cardano Blockchain Network with the Haskell Programming Language

Ford Stephen


A Short guide to the Smart Contract, Cardano network and the ADA ecosystem

What is a Smart contract?

A smart contract is a software contract that allows two parties to pre-define the terms of a financial transaction and rely on it being completed automatically by the software. Smart contracts are widely accepted as being more secure than manually written agreements because they are written in a specific programming language that cannot be altered without invalidating the contract itself.

There are several reasons as to why choosing programming languages in Blockchain development is complex.

Firstly, the distributed nature of Blockchain makes it hard to run an application without duplicating the code on all nodes in the network, which can increase the size of the code as well as the chances of bugs in the code.

Secondly, not all languages perform the same way when it comes to execution speed, runtime memory footprint, and flexibility when choosing a suitable programming language.

It is necessary to consider all of the pros and cons before settling on a particular one.

Cardano Smart Contracts compared to current Smart Contracts

Cardano is a new Blockchain platform that aims to achieve greater efficiency and scalability than current systems. It is also more secure, thanks to its provable proof-of-stake algorithm. Here’s a closer look at some of the reasons why Cardano may be better than Etherum.

First and foremost, Cardano is built with the aim of being a universal platform for smart contracts. This means that it can be used to create anything from decentralized apps to more traditional commercial contracts such as loan agreements or shareholder agreements. The ADA Cryptocurrency will also be used as a medium of exchange for these transactions.

In terms of its code, the programming language is Haskell, which was created in the 1960s by Professor Alan M. Borning. The purpose of creating this code was to enable computers to work on complex tasks using simple languages that are easy for people to understand. This code aims to solve many of the problems that exist in traditional programming languages, such as security flaws and untraceable transactions. For these reasons, it is widely considered to be one of the most secure codes in existence today.

Cardano also boasts a number of other impressive features. For example, you will be able to create your own Dapps without requiring an “uncle” node to process your transaction. This is due to the platform’s new Ouroboros algorithm, which allows for faster processing times. It also eliminates the need for mining, leading to fewer resources being used overall — a philosophy that will also see less of the energy-intensive proof of work used to secure other Blockchain.

Brief Introduction to Haskell Programing Language

Haskell is an algebraic functional programming language which allows the creation of safe smart contracts that can be deployed to a decentralized network like Cardano. It has been designed from the ground up to be highly modular, type-safe and stateless to allow for the creation of large decentralized applications. Furthermore, it was designed to require as few dependencies as possible, specifically targeting cross-platform support to create large decentralized applications that can work on all major operating systems and hardware, a Haskell program runs in a single thread and cannot interact with other threads until it has been loaded and executed. This means that an Haskell smart contract can perform operations asynchronously without affecting other concurrent tasks within the same application or within the network.

Why Haskell is a suitable language for building smart contracts in Cardano

  1. Haskell is a flexible and powerful general-purpose programming language that is similar to C in structure but simpler to learn and more powerfully expressive than Python or Ruby, for example. It is statically typed, purely functional and has first-class functions. This means it can express problems more directly and efficiently than other popular languages.
  2. The Haskell community is small but incredibly active with hundreds of active projects and many high-quality libraries and frameworks. These include concurrency libraries such as async, database integration libraries such as hsqldb and web server development tools such as Happstack. Building on existing libraries makes Haskell applications easy to integrate with existing infrastructure and services in a decentralized setting.
  3. Haskell is designed for cross-platform use. Its lack of dependency on either a particular operating system or architecture makes it easy to compile on virtually any system from Windows to MacOS to Linux to even mobile phones. This makes it ideal for Cardano development as it can be run on a wide variety of platforms from developers’ laptops to servers to embedded devices like Raspberry Pi’s.

Writing Smart contracts on Cardano Blockchain Network

Plutus is a Haskell framework for compiling Smart Contract code in order to run on the Cardano Blockchain. Other programming languages you can use for the Cardano Blockchain include Glow Lang, Marlowe, etc., but Plutus is the fastest among them.

Plutus is based on Haskell, so using it requires prior knowledge of Haskell programming.

According to Cardano Testnets, Plutus contracts consist of parts that run on the Blockchain (on-chain code) and parts that run on a user’s machine (off-chain or client code).

A Plutus smart contract is a Haskell code that runs in a user’s wallet and sends code to the Blockchain to be run by the nodes in the Blockchain. The smart contracts are run on the Blockchain, not on the user’s machine.

Plutus smart contracts have definitions that are used to define the smart contract and its state. Inside these definitions are endpoints, which define the smart contract’s behavior. These endpoints are functions that are executed by the wallet. They are known as off-chain functions and are used to build transactions and send them to the Blockchain.


Cardano’s smart contract programming language and Marlowe, the domain-specific language for financial smart contracts, are both built on Haskell. Cardano’s off-chain and on-chain codes are both written in Haskell.

However, Haskell isn’t one of the most popular programming languages.

Cardano, on the other hand, selected Haskell because it believes its Plutus and Marlowe smart contracts can be properly built-in in a precise, formally proven language that delivers a high level of assurance right away.

This follows the devastating effects of the resulting vulnerabilities, code failures, and smart contract exploits on Blockchain and smart contract languages, which have resulted in substantial financial losses, generally in the billions of dollars.

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