Given the nature of Bitcoin’s blockchain transactions, developers have not had it easy in building innovative applications relating to the crypto-currency. However, according to Eric Rykwalder's recent article, the emergence of companies like Chain have created the necessary tools for developers to work with, as well as a strong foundation on which to build.
After Bitcoin’s incredible surge in value near the end of 2013, we saw a mass desire to harness its power in 2014, resulting in a host of Bitcoin startups. But in a system where simply checking the balance of an arbitrary address requires spinning up and maintaining servers, indexing all the data and parsing a new scripting system, new developer tools were not just necessary, but needed.
The emergence of Bitcoin APIs has made the creation of blockchain applications faster and easier. Bitcoin API services like Chain have provided quicker access to primitive data structures, removing the need for managing servers and indexing data. For example, Chain Notifications’ use of webhooks and websockets offered real-time access to events in the blockchain, thus simplifying complex data workflows.
The future goals for Bitcoin applications should be aimed at providing more confidence around zero-confirmation transactions, and providing easy mechanisms for operating across multiple chains as new currencies and chains are added. However, 2015 will be heavily focussed on increasing the levels of abstraction around the blockchain. So as Bitcoin APIs tackle more of the core data structures of Bitcoin, developers will be free to focus on innovative applications that will help to further develop the Bitcoin marketplace.