Cross posting from BCT, written by Risto Pietila.
Let us start from Bitcoin's first anniversary. There is no public post from satoshi commemorating it, and the project did not have that many public reasons for celebrating either. The difficulty had finally risen from the starting value of 1 a few days before, but the community numbered only tens of somewhat active people. Bitcoin did not have reasonable exchange value and the market cap per coins issued was about $8,000.
What happened in the following year seemed like a miracle in comparison - by its second birthday, Bitcoin was widely known around the world in techie/progressive circles, 10,000s of people had first hand experience, hashrate grew by orders of magnitude and the market cap zoomed to $5,000,000.
I would say Monero has pretty much avoided the "1st year" (or compressed it in the pre-exchange era lasting for 1 month) and zoomed directly in the 2nd year. The community is very active, and 10,000s of people have at least speculated with Monero. Just like with Bitcoin then, the use of Monero has required skill, it is a new technology, and tools to use it are only becoming available as the community develops them. The market cap is also in the same range as with Bitcoin then, with the main difference being no ninjamine - I am not accusing satoshi of doing anything immoral such as purposely hiding his project for a year, because the evidence does not suggest this - nevertheless it is good to recognize as a fact that satoshi owned 65% of all bitcoins in its first anniversary, 20% in the second, and still owns 7% (figures are minimum, additional mining with non-recognizable equipment cannot be ruled out).
From the perspective of distribution of coins and quality of the community, which I regard the topmost success factors in the cryptosphere, I am proud to believe that Monero now at least equals Bitcoin in its 2nd birthday.
Now we come to the technology. The obvious advantages of Bitcoin have only slowly become parts of the public knowledge. In any non-moderated discussion or comment section, there invariably are commenters who shout that "Bitcoin is a ponzi" (while not fulfilling any of the qualifications, starting from the lack of central issuer, or payout mechanism). Also "the Chinese will press the button and create more money" (no debunk needed) or "your balance may go poof any day" (happens sadly often, but has rarely anything to do with Bitcoin technology itself, and can mostly be avoided with precautions).
The negatives of open transaction ledger have become more apparent after Bitcoin gained wide recognition in 2013. Payments (so far) are difficult to preemptively block, but criminals and dissidents are now realizing that an untamperable public record of all your financial dealings is not really any better than a record of all your dealings in a bank account. The only difference between those is whether the public can access the information. The parties that you would rather not have the access have it in both cases.
While the general populace is still rather uncertain if the benefits of Bitcoin warrant them to try it out, this "new" information on the drawbacks of Bitcoin is spreading quickly among the people already in Bitcoin. In these conditions it is not very surprising that the BTC/USD rate has also declined and many of the leaders in Bitcoinsphere are actually short!
Monero has had intense experience of the mysterious codebase handed over to it by the CN developers, which according to David Latapie, is 86% rewritten for security reasons, while preserving the original idea by satoshi, and invention/implementation by CN, the ring signatures. During the 1 year, it has been tried to prove broken, both internally and externally, yet with quite meager results. Of all the coins in existence, my understanding is that Monero offers the most proven, most secure way to implement practical and easy-to-use anonymity.
Going to the 2nd year, the risks of some catastrophic failure in the technology are still present, but greatly reduced compared to the early days when the core team themselves only took the measures to understand the code, and there were issues with miner optimization, attacks believed to originate from the CN team, intense FUD, etc.
Pricewise, the record is mixed. Because Monero instantly grabbed the attention of many prominent bitcoiners, and went to exchange very soon, yet did not have any pre/insta/ninjamine/IPO/PoS or such things that quickly can meet the demand, its price rose quickly. The hangover came in the autumn, coupled with the depression in all crypto. Emission that in the summer could not meet the demand, was still sold to the market, and in the end, even the supporters turned to the idea of "selling now, buying back cheaper", the same that in my observation is prevalent in Bitcoin now, after their even longer and more depressing downtrend (don't get hurt!).
Such condition cannot last indefinitely, either the coin is abandoned and becomes worthless, or eventually there is a turn. Since the core team and the community showed very little signs of capitulation, it was only a matter of time, and the time came, and now we are by and large at an all time high in marketcap-measured-in-BTC, while barely started in unit-price-measured-in-USD. I don't very much care about other people's opinions (collectively reflected in these metrics), but if I did, I would regard the former as a proof of the potency of Monero and the latter as a proof of the short-term upside.
Short term, is however not the way I advise to treat Monero. Or depends in the definition. In the outside world, short term investments are a few years. Even a short-term stance towards Bitcoin has been successful, if the term is 2-3 years instead of months or weeks. Monero's development - while labeled as slow - is much faster than Bitcoin's, and that is much faster than most things outside crypto. I advise to be realistic in that anything with a $5 million market cap is likely to fail, and the total loss of investment should be almost the default. But also, the marketcap of any serious monetary system is not $5 million of current Monero, nor $5 billion of current Bitcoin, it starts at about $5 trillion of the current gold. A short-term investment of a few years is best achieved with sell targets after every rise in price (eg. 20% after every double). Even if the investment is long term, a periodic distribution of the stash is advisable, just with lower percents. Only when Monero achieves purchasing power stability can it rid itself from the speculative character, and the purchasing power stability can only be achieved at a very much higher valuation. Speculation need to be taken into account as a fact, regardless of the wish that it would not exist or be prominent.
For the following 12 months, I see that Monero needs to, and likely succeeds, in achieving the status of the "leader of the altcoins" and the "hedge of BTC". There has not been any new alts since Monero that strive to this position, all the new production is either lame clones or 2.0 coins, which serve a different need and segment. The alts currently above XMR in marketcap (filter premined&non-mineable) are Litecoin, Dogecoin and Peercoin, none of which has shown much development or innovation in the last year, and all of which being copies of BTC, suffering from the public blockchain.
The developers are clear in the development issues and they will be released when ready. While some say that mainstream adoption requires GUI and whatnot, I am strongly on the opinion that mainstream is not the target group for a currency that only has a few 10k owners atm. Increasing the valuation is a target that can be achieved by explaining the merits to the people who have money (new money VC-type guys). Increasing the adoption happens quite naturally among the BTC-owners once they have time to think about things. All alts are regarded as shitcoins by many, solely because of ignorance. The same time that, applied to my thinking, lead me to convert from mainstream to silver, and from silver to BTC, and from BTC to XMR, works also on these people, slowly. I envision that this process will start on this 2nd year of Monero, and the results are already visible as an increased marketcap by the end of the 2nd year. https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=583449.msg11125145#msg11125145
Now Finnish entrepreneur Risto Pietilä, an active member of on Bitcointalk.org, has offered an estimate of just how severe this ownership imbalance could be. He based his calculations on data from Bitcoinrichlist.com , which has trawled through Bitcoin’s master ledger — the Blockchain — to offer a rough guide to distribution as well as activity on Bitcoin exchanges. Bitcoin is a distributed, worldwide, decentralized digital money. Bitcoins are issued and managed without any central authority whatsoever: there is no government, company, or bank in charge of Bitcoin. You might be interested in Bitcoin if you like cryptography, distributed peer-to-peer systems, or economics. A large percentage of Bitcoin enthusiasts are libertarians, though people of all ... Another 880 individuals each own at least $1 million-worth of Bitcoin. About a million people own $10,000 or less worth. About a million people own $10,000 or less worth. Rob Wile/Business Insider ... Author: Richard Warren - June 2014 Bitcoin overview: Bitcoin is a crypto currency, where “crypto” is from the Greek meaning “hidden” or “private” and this is achieved through the use ... Ownership and Distribution There are believed to be an estimated 12 million Bitcoins in circulation, but due to the anonymity of the currency it is difficult to calculate exactly how these are distributed. However, in 2013, Risto Pietila gave a breakdown to Business insider based on the Bitcoin block chain and the activity on the exchanges involving unique addresses. Some high-profile Bitcoin ...