I really enjoyed Jameson Lopp's data-driven post about the Bitcoin network in 2018.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Economic activity on Bitcoin dropped throughout the year, but much less than the price.
- The network became more performant in various aspects like the block propagation time & the time to sync a full node.
- Development of the Lightning Network is going strong. I suspect this is still experimental usage. i.e. People setting up Lightning channels to test it rather than actually buying things. But encouraging nonetheless.
- The pace of development of Bitcoin core is strong and has seen no decline.
It's interesting to contrast Bitcoin's path with Ethereum. In Bitcoin, there is a great focus on improvements and efficiency. Experimentation is pushed off-chain. In Ethereum, everything is always in flux and the roadmap and direction change frequently. Ethereum 2.0 is even a new start from scratch rather than an improvement of the current Ethereum.
Both are viable directions. And both are invaluable for us actually getting to a more efficient and decentralized world. The relentless focus of Bitcoin just as much as the wild ambition of Ethereum.