Every other day there is some guy reviewing bitcoin and its usually all about price development, hashrates, transaction volume, google trends, press hits or whatever onedimensional metric he thinks is accurate to measure how "successful" bitcoin has been recently.
This is supposed to be a review thats a little different. Instead of (over-)interpreting some obscure numbers and putting something like a price tag or benchmark on how far bitcoin has come i just want show you what wasnt there in 2010. This overview is by no means complete. I left out some projects of which i dont know if they are still active. Others i might have just missed. In some sections there is so much i only give a link or prominent example. If you think of anything you think should definitely be in here, please tell me.
First, to put things in perspective, a quick glance at what was new in 2010:
First buy (pizza)
First exchange (mtgox)
First public gpu miners (poclbm, diablo)
First pool (slush)
First Wiki Pages
When i became aware of bitcoin sometime around end of january 2011 that was pretty much it. One client, one exchange with one currency, one Pool, two miners and an economy that consisted of a few enthusiasts trading something like socks or carrots just to show its possible.
I hope this overview and the progess it presents makes all you bitcoin enthusiasts even more enthusiastic and gets all you sceptics to check out some cool stuff you might have missed in your ignorant defiance of bitcoin awesomeness. (thats what the links are for, morans!)
So without further dwelling in nostalgia here is an unreflected, unresonably long list of things most likely not known to mankind for more than 360 days: Important changes in the Original Bitcoin Original Client
Faster blockchain DownloadLibrariesBitcoinjLibbitcoin Bccapi Desktop ClientsMultibit Electrum Mobile Clients Bitcoin spinner Bitcoin wallet for android MtGox MobileWeb WalletsStrongcoin.comBlockchain.info Wallet Instawallet.orgMining
Pool software (Pushpool
More mining software (Phoenix
Frontends (Gui Miner
Pool hopping software (Bithopper
)P2Pool First public fpga miner Info and StatisticsBitcoincharts.comBlockchain.infoRowIT network status charts Economy
Way Too Many Exchanges to list here https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Category:Exchanges
and Shopping Cart Interfaces https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Category:Shopping_Cart_Interfaces
Finally the one alternative blockchain with an actual purpose: Namecoin Conclusion
2010 was the year of the firsts. Many new things became possible like trading, gpu mining and pooled mining. Imho, 2011 was the year that made many of those things actually doable. Trading bitcoins, securing them, setting up pool servers and miners, integrating bitcoin into shops and programming bitcoin applications all went from arcane arts to activities a reasonable tech-savvy person can dare to try. Consequentially, the amount of bitcoin related projects and services grew massively. To compare this with my statement about the beginning of the year, we now have multiple clients and mining programs and more exchanges, supported currencies and pools than anyone with only twenty fingers+toes can count. plus you can actually buy some stuff. 2012 Outlook
All those projects and services are still very new. Most of them still need to prove that they are stable, secure and continue to be actively maintained. Selection and maturation of existing projects doesnt sound very exciting, but is an important step to becoming a trustworthy currency. On the other hand i believe there are still a few revolutionary developments ahead of us. Personally, i am very excited about the new standard transactions hiding out in the satoshi client v0.6. Security will always be an important issue for bitcoin and will always require a certain amount of dilligence on the user side. Providing the means to maintain a high level of security to the board masses is still a great archievement and will be of paramount importance for a wide adoption of bitcoin.
When the mainstream press discovered bitcoin this summer, it wasnt ready. Getting Bitcoins was hard, securing them was harder and judging which services to trust was nigh on impossible. A lot has happened since then and if and when the next surge of media attention comes, bringing new people with it, there is a good chance less disasters will happen and fewer people will leave frustrated or scared.
Does that mean 2012 will be the year of the big breakthrough? Imho No. Bitcoin is still far away from being usable by Average Joe. But i believe 2012 might very well be the year bitcoin finds its first economic niches big enough to sustain bitcoin specific businesses. And its downhill from there.tl:dr:
edit: put the pizza in its place