It didn't get any traction then but it was completely decentralized (based on distributed hash tables).
It was not designed to act as a gossip-like overlay network for indexing content (similar to eDonkey/eMule), it was designed to act as an overlay network for identifying metadata of known keys stored in DHT.
The BitTorrent checklist is as follows:
1. [X] peer to peer file transfer
2. [X] Kademlia/magnet links for decentralized metadata
3. [X] Kademlia/peer exchange for decentralized tracking
4. [X] Gossip protocol for indexing magnet links
5. [X] integrated data proxying for anonymity/plausible deniability
Tribler solved step 4, OneSwarm and some others are trying to solve step 5.
We're indeed on the cusp of an impenetrable file sharing network.
Until they just block the protocol with deep packet inspection. (Encryption won't work, you can analyse packet size/timing to fingerprint protocols pretty accurately.)
It is further reaffirmed in MGM v. Grokster that a filesharing service is only accountable for its actions if it advertises or supports the service's use of violating the law.
The broad trend has been toward easier, faster, more secure file sharing. Does anyone really believe that trend is going to reverse course?