Monero has an aggressive six month hard fork cycle which pushes innovation consistently.
Monero’s hard fork scheduled in the coming days, which you can check the status of here: http://moneroblocks.info/ packs a punch. Bitcoin seems fine as the pseudonymous cryptocurrency at the moment, and development innovation has been difficult with battling social media wars, and slow adoption of Seg-Wit. While privacy enhancements will likely be added, it will take time and the talented Monero development team is seizing the opportunity pushing updates across the board, not just privacy enhancements. The community is smaller, the network is smaller, and this allows a scheduled hard fork every six months, meaning big change can happen at an expected rate.
If you thought Monero only innovated on privacy you’re wrong, the team is advancing all components.
The GUI wallet was one of the first greatly desired components and an early version is available. Many privacy coins have become over complex, and relied solely on the innovation of complex algorithms for privacy. With a crowded space now in privacy it takes a more diverse outlook. In the upcoming release tagged Wolfram Warptangent, Monero includes compact blocks, dynamic fees, enhancements to complete GUI wallet functionality, a Ring-CT overhaul among others. The more complete implementation of Ring Signatures adds a more mathematically robust solution offering stronger privacy unfettered by current attack mechanisms. On top of that Monero already has a flexible blocksize in the case of needed scaling, plans for boarder chains, or custom created sidechains by the monero team, and additional support for privacy protocols like i2p.
Zcash’s complexity makes it ideal for a quantum computing future but stalls development.
It’s true Monero doesn’t compete on the level of Zcash in terms of quantum computing resistance. However, the math is difficult to peer-review, and will likely stall it’s ability to create the usability desired by active users. In addition transactions take longer and are larger when sent. The market is another story, and it’s tough to say how that will play out for Zcash, but in terms of usability today with secure privacy Monero is there with this hard fork.
Bitcoin’s market speaks for itself, but pushing innovation is difficult because of the scale of the network.
It’s possible in the future, innovations in projects like Monero may even find their way into Bitcoin. Fungibility and privacy have been a long discussed addition to Bitcoin, with Gregory Maxwell penning proposed implementations for confidential transactions. Eventually we’ll achieve this in Bitcoin it appears and surely the Monero developers would be honored to contribute back, but not now. An aggressive hard fork cycle has worked well for Monero so far, but eventually if it grows significantly it too will see difficulty in launching hard forks. For now, it’s important to look at projects not as one dimensional, but as a whole. Monero is doing more than privacy, in fact it’s an inherited mechanism from the original project the team forked from.
There’s room for more than one competing coin in any market sector, but it’s the strength of the team that makes the strength of the project long-term, not the hype.