Fairly simple thesis - privacy coins haven't been hyped for 3-4 years. They will probably get hyped at some point as an alternative storage of value to BTC . The two largest privacy coins currently have a combined 0.6% of BTC's market cap. What is fair market value? currently that is 0.6%. What could it be in the future? who knows. ZEC/ BTC hit all time lows in December, while XMR/ BTC hasn't done much better, not seeing ratio this low since prior to the 2016 alphabay pump.
1) Good privacy crypto coins have never been in the spotlight. They were outshined by smart contract platforms, dental rewards program coins, etc, in the 2017-18 cycle and currently by Defi coins in the 2020-21 cycle. Holding a privacy coin is only for masochists at this moment in time in most people's eyes. A small part of every single Xmr/Zec holder secretly wishes they had bought another coin like Aave or Kusama.
2) At some point, the privacy narrative will catch fire with tremendous hype when people realize how transparent everything is on existing blockchains. Sure, it is annoying for some whales to have their addresses revealed if they're yield mining $500k per week, but for those profits, they will tolerate that intrusion of privacy. Everyone knows long term these yields are not sustainable and there will be a point where some of these whales that have millions of dollars probably don't want to have their every single move on the blockchain be tracked by a 3rd party website.
3) The 2 best known privacy coins- Monero and Zcash. Each have had their controversies. XMR with its initial (perhaps intentionally) crippled miner release in 2014 and pre-RingCT issues. ZEC with its trusted setup process, the founder's reward, difficulty in counting actual supply, etc. Both coins have been going through 3-4 years of downwards price action and taken a lot of punishment price-wise. I believe the final capitulation we've been dreading and hoping to avoid finally happened after the December Bittrex delisting announcements.
4) XMR has only had one pump ever in its lifecycle, during the alphabay/ oasis pnd in fall 2016 (and then the bithumb listing pump in 2017 which did about a measly 3x). Zec had its only notable one during June 2017 when it still had a low circulating supply, and has been weak ever since. Any mention of these two coins generally get a lot of laughs and ridicule on CT (pertains probably more to ZEC than XMR). There is no doubt that if/when these two coins finally have their moment in the spotlight, they will go hard af . There is a lot of regulation uncertainty around privacy in general, which probably plays a role in the general hesitancy and lack of strength for these two coins.
Which to choose - Xmr is better from a purist point of a view, where Zec offers better pure privacy at the cost of several tradeoffs and has more centralization in its development and roadmap. Given Zec's availability on Coinbase and Gemini and its regulatory standing with the NYDFS, I chose Zcash to get the slightly larger allocation in my portfolio, but both coins are great. Having a small privacy allocation in your portfolio with a a 50/50 or 70/30 split for XMR/ZEC or vice versa is potentially a smart hedge for the scenario in my thesis.
Concluding thoughts - personally, I think buying privacy coins at this moment in time are a win-win. Either it's the trade of a generation and you look like a genius, or you become a member of a tight-knit cooperative and fun community for years to come
thoughts 2: should be obvious but to be claer- its a long shot to ever hit 0.10 plus again on the ratio, but something like .02 to . 05 is certainly well within the range of outcomes
Disclaimer: This is not trading/investment advice