John Woods, CTO of the Algorand Foundation, announced on Friday that a developer preview of Python on Algorand will be released on Monday 11th. The release is part of Algorand’s upcoming AlgoKit 2.0 upgrade, which would considerably reduce the costs, complexity, and learning curve of developing in Algorand’s ecosystem.
This Monday we'll release a developer preview of Python on Algorand.
It's taken over a year to build, with a multidisciplinary team of god-tier engineers – I'm proud of their work.
Python's simplicity brings inclusivity and drastically lowers engineering costs. Now anyone can…
— John Woods (@JohnAlanWoods) December 8, 2023
The addition of pure Python development was the most celebrated addition when the AlgoKit upgrade was first announced back in September. As one of the most flexible, easy-to-learn, and used programming languages in the world, the release could open the doors to millions of developers looking to explore the blockchain space.
The announcement of the developer preview came via Wood’s X (formerly known as Twitter) account, in which he also explained the development had been in the works for over a year. Despite harsh times, blockchain marches on.
Woods called the release a “watershed moment for Algorand” as it would make Algorand truly accessible by allowing “anyone” to build apps on Algorand. While the developer preview will be available next week, the public release won’t be available until February 2024.
Good Riddance Teal and Beaker
While Python developers have been able to develop Algorand applications using Python up until this point, this required them to use the Pyteal and Beaker libraries. While useful, this option resulted in limited performance and functionality, high verbosity, and additional complexity, making it difficult for inexperienced developers to interact with.
In his Tweet, Woods explained that Algorand’s native Python support would operate as a “pipeline from Python AST to IR languages down to pure TEAL and then AVM bytecode”.
As this approach will make Algorand’s Python development more efficient, accessible, and powerful, Pyteal and Beaker will no longer be needed. This means that developers using these libraries will be required to update their code once both are deprecated sometime in the future.
Betting Big in Accessibility
The increased accessibility expected to come with the release of AlgoKit 2.0 is only a small part of Algorand’s efforts to reach a bigger audience. Back on November 30, the Algorand Foundation announced it had partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNPD) to “launch a blockchain academy to provide UNDP staff with knowledge and insights into the applications of blockchain technology.”
The academy, which would launch in 2024 as per the announcement, will be available to over 22k UNDP employees across more than 170 countries.
The recorded lectures and hands-on assignments will focus on blockchain’s potential to improve financial inclusion, supply chain transparency, real-world asset tokenization, and digital identity. HesabPay, Wholechain, Koibanx, and Quantum Temple, some of the projects that make part of the Algorand ecosystem, will also participate in the effort.
Bringing More Projects to the Ecosystem
Algorand has also recently announced the finalists of the “Build-a-bull Hackathon” that started back in October of this year. The global hackathon allows thousands of developers to pitch their projects in categories ranging from DeFi to Gaming.
With a total prize pool of 200k USDC and 5 categories, the 3 finalists in each category will be competing for a prize of as much as 40k USDC. Students who participated in the hackathon will also be eligible for a prize of 5k USDC university prize, while all track winners will compete for an additional 10k USDC and $25k in AWS credits.
A prize of $10k was also awarded by the Algorand Foundation earlier this month as part of the “Impact!” pitch competition. The event took place as part of the Algorand Impact Summit and saw LW3 crown itself as the winner. The project offers an Algorand-powered traceability solution meant to bring additional transparency to end consumers.
Like other projects, Algorand is making progress as the crypto markets blast higher.