Though it seems like just yesterday we entered 2014, bitcoin's place in society and the industry as a whole has completely changed throughout this year.
With its current price of $310, buying a bitcoin today costs less than half of what it would have put you back on 1st January ($770), but don't let these numbers fool you.
Outside of its falling price, bitcoin has weathered considerable hardships in 2014, and the industry has subsequently matured as bad actors have been weeded out in favour of more dependable, transparent and legitimate entrepreneurs entering the space with the support of a great deal of venture capital.
To get a better idea of the 'big picture' of bitcoin's evolution throughout the course of the year, we identified the most popular news stories published by CoinDesk in 2014. While these stories don't tell the full story of what happened in the industry this year, they offer a glimpse into the topics that most grabbed our readers' attention.
Here are CoinDesk's top news stories of 2014:
Leading Adult Site Porn.com Now Accepts Bitcoin
The year started off with a bang when news broke that one of the largest adult entertainment sites on the Internet, Porn.com, would begin accepting bitcoin payments for its... content.
It wasn't long before Mt Gox started to dominate the news cycles in the early months of 2014. On 7th February, we reported that the Japanese exchange had halted all bitcoin withdrawals; CoinDesk removed Mt Gox from its bitcoin price index (BPI) three days later.
In the midst of the Mt Gox chaos, a transaction malleability problem with the bitcoin protocol was taken advantage of to launch DDoS attacks against a number of prominent bitcoin exchanges including Bitstamp and BTC-e.
In what may be the biggest story of the year in bitcoin, a leaked document published by Ryan Galt revealed that Mt Gox had allegedly lost more than 700,000 of its users' bitcoins, valued at around $350m at press time.
For the cover story of its big return to print, Newsweek enlisted reporter Leah McGrath Goodman to uncover the identity of bitcoin's creator Satoshi Nakamoto in early March. Goodman named California resident Dorian Nakamoto as the mastermind behind bitcoin. However, the story resulted in staunch denials from D. Nakamoto and considerable backlash from the bitcoin community.
As Colorado began selling marijuana for recreational purposes on 1st January, the bitcoin community seemed particularly interested in reading about a marijuana vending machine that announced its plans in April to accept bitcoin for its goods.
In an attack that researchers dubbed 'unprecedented', hackers were able to mine some 500 million dogecoins in mid-June of this year. The value of the DOGE mined in the hack totalled around $200,000 at press time.
Everybody was watching this summer as the US Marshals planned their public auction of bitcoins seized from the Silk Road. When the government accidentally clicked 'reply to all' on an email that included the names of those who planned to bid on the 30,000 BTC, it seems like everybody in the industry was interested in taking a look.
Ethereum effectively built up the anticipation for its long-awaited launch for much of 2014. When the cryptocurrency 2.0 platform launched a pre-sale of its native ether coin in mid-July, fans and followers of the project came out in full force.
After Tim Draper was revealed as the sole winner of this year's first US Marshals bitcoin auction (mentioned above), all eyes in the bitcoin community were on the venerable venture capitalist. Draper's declaration that bitcoin's price will eventually hit $10,000 attracted considerable attention from readers.
After months of rumours and hints from executives, PayPal sent the bitcoin industry into a frenzy on 23rd September when it announced its first official partnerships in the bitcoin space. A price spike followed shortly thereafter.
MIT, one of the world's most respected academic institutions, was bullish on bitcoin this year. The MIT Bitcoin Project, a club at the university, gave all undergraduate students $100 worth of bitcoin in the fall semester, and the university's research into making bitcoin trading profitable with scientific methods grabbed headlines in mid-October.
Christmas came early for bitcoiners this year, when Microsoft unexpectedly announced on 11th December that it would accept bitcoin as a payment option for a range of digital content, including games and videos on its Xbox Live platform and apps on its mobile platform.
In hindsight, bitcoin has been through considerable ups and downs this year. As we move forward, let's hope that when bitcoin makes headlines in 2015 – it's for all the right reasons.
What was your biggest moment for bitcoin in 2014? Let us know in the comments below.
'News' featured image via Shutterstock