Did the grin project fail?
That’s a tricky question, because I believe the answer is “yes” and “no”.
Did it fail in terms of tech? No. It is unique, minimalistic and does what it was supposed to do. So it is a success here.
Did it fail in terms of adoption? I believe yes. It would not be the first time in history (not only in crypto history, but generally tech) when superior, unique technology never reaches adoption it deserves (most common example are video standards, both in analogue and digital era). It just never cought on and the longer since launche the slimmer chance it will reach adoption. Why is that? One might guess. Maybe it is general dev/team attitude, who seemed very nonchalant in communication with third parties like exchanges or pools (even shittiest shitcoin reaches exchanges to communicate changes and makes sure they are implemented properly). Also whenever huge money is involved the spirit of independence fades - it all became about paying people for working on Grin and only few people worked for free and in real grassroot way. Don’t get me wrong, all the funds were spent wisely so far, but it created huge split in the community, you can’t have true grassroot project with tons of money being paid to the selected few. Bounty like mechanism implemented since launch would have been much better but this was already discussed in numerous places, maybe things will get better in this department, but damage has been done already. Also, competitors like Beam (or even scammy MimbleWimbleCoin) are just way more proactive. Not to even mention other privacy-oriented coins. Grin is just one missed opportunity after the other, while people are busy splitting huge money or arguing about various stuff each new opportunity of partnership and gaining traction is missed. Biggest example recently: ThorChain (one of the hottest projects in crypto now) was looking for anonymity solution using another coin, and of course Monero will probably win (or Beam as more proactive) and Grin did nothing to take that opportunity - devs because that’s not what they are getting paid for (ifyou want to run it company style, just hire someone responsible for partnerships whyile you are coding), community didn’t because there is almost no community at this point.
One thing that looks good is the distribution. It is one of the most fair distributions in crypto history. This is an edge that can be easily copied by other projects but you just can’t do this instantly.
Also something is happening to all those mined coins. They are not being sold, at least not on an open market. Maybe some OTC buys are happening and some whales are accumulating, waiting for the correct moment to make a move, that would result in both adoption and price appreciation? But relying on some random whale that is in this for profit only to bring your project adoption is wrong.
Grin succeeded in tech department but it failed in adoption and community building. But this can be fixed.