Heads up, this post will be constructively critical of Monero. But before you start attempting to bash me with your comments, check my post/comment history in this sub – I like to think I'm knowledgeable about Monero, and I attempt to help the community with what little knowledge I have.
But can we address the elephant in the room when it comes to Monero? The fact that so far the pretty much only differentiator is that it has a comfortably high level of plausible deniability (what someone might refer to as "privacy"). And that's…pretty much it?
I'm sure by now someone has already screamed at the computer "But XMR is money and it does that one thing well!!!". Sorry but I'm not buying it. Bitcoin, Ethereum, even say something like SushiSwap – these platforms function as some sort of money (I really don't wanna get sidetracked by a discussion on what money is/isn't), but they _also_ have tools that allow developers to _extend_ the initial protocol. With Bitcoin has Script, Ethereum has Solidity (and a whole host of other things), so on and so forth. Using these "extensions" (if you will), a nerd like me can come along with some creativity and possibly build cool things on top of the initial protocols.
Monero? Not so much. I'm afraid the Monero community is sealing itself inside a "privacy tomb" – where Monero accomplishes it's "privacy" by sacrificing an ecosystem of developer tools that would allow others to build on top of the L1. Maybe I'm bias because I'm a software engineer myself, but absolutely _do not_ underestimate the importance of appealing to developers (Ethereum, Apple iOS apps, browser extensions, etc) — when you allow devs to build on your platform – that's when you really spread the reach of your tools.
The big gripe we all have about Bitcoin's L1 is that it's terribly transparent. Literally more transparent than a damn bank. But for anyone who watched that shit show of a Bitcoin conference in Miami last week – you can see that Bitcoin devs aren't hung up on L1 anymore. No one is. Because the idea now is that devs (for all types of crypto projects) are building "layered protocols". Meaning – you can slap a "privacy" layer on top and boom – you now have a high level of plausible deniability.
Thought experiment: Let's say tomorrow, Bitcoin devs release an L2 that gives users the same high level of plausible deniability that Monero does. What do we (the Monero community) do then? Our one advantage is gone. (Yes I know there can be multiple winners, and I hope there are multiple winners).
So how can Monero accomplish remove the elephant from the room? I obviously don't have the answers, maybe someone else does.
Again, don't come at me with the "He's bashing Monero and privacy!" comments, because I'm clearly involved in the sub, and even work at a privacy-protecting search engine – so yea, I'm a privacy nerd.