Since the late 1990s elliptic curves was slowly progressing as a major form of public key cryptography.
Slowly because in 10+ years the adoption has not reached 10% and older more traditionnal RSA and DL-mod P-based crypto remained strong.
For bitcoin and for almost anyone in 2009, to use ECC crypto would be an obvious choice [less bytes to write in the blockchain]. Yet bitcoin has opted for a peculiar unorthodox choice.
In 2014/2015 some incredible events have occurred. The ECC adoption movement is now likely to come to reverse.
Here are some interesting recent events:
- A very academic long-time suspicion about backdoors inside standard NIST/NSA elliptic curves became mainstream in late 2013 after Schneier has reviewed the Snowden documents.
- In October 2014 I took part and the first Catacrypt 2014 conference in San Francisco. Since then a number of similar events was organized: e.g. this event in Brussels.
- In August 2015 NSA have announced that P-256 [the most commonly used elliptic curve] is no longer recommended, now P-384 is the norm.
- December 2015: A sudden wave of 70 lawsuits about using ECCs with standard HTTPS connections.
- December 2015: Microsoft releases a new ECC crypto library FourQ.
The NSA says that Elliptic Curves are no longer a long term solution.