Do we care which was first? — No, we don’t.
If you believe governance is important, then you may also believe that Decred is poised be a better form of digital currency than Bitcoin. As mentioned by Noah, Decred takes several of the best aspects of the Bitcoin protocol, and also uses a progressive on-chain governance structure that allows the Decred protocol to develop, grow, and mature organically as the voters/stakeholders choose.
“OK, we all understand”, you might say. Decred allows for on-chain governance. “Great.” You may say sarcastically, “Heard it a thousand times!” And that’s fair. I have too :). But, what a big difference on-chain governance does make! Because of on-chain governance, I’d agrue Decred is a different product and technology than Bitcoin.
Let’s fully appreciate this new technology that is Decred— embedding on-chain governance into the protocol layer is not just “adding a feature” like Instagram added “Instagram Stories” (sigh) — on-chain governance makes for “a new world of possibilities by which the DCR digital currency technology can progress.” Take a walk in the park, stare at the sky/stars, and imagine how we as a society could progress if we could iterate on governance in the same way that we iterate on software technology at start-ups during SCRUM work cycles. The world would be a different place. In the Decred system, we can do this — we can choose to change and improve the governance model to make for better and better on-chain governance!
Jimmy Song has written many times on “Why Bitcoin Works”, arguing that the fundamental innovation was blockchain technology, of which Bitcoin was the first example — Great point Jimmy. But as we saw with MySpace and Friendster, being first is not enough. In software, the products that are first are rarely also the products that are universally adopted (no matter how much Bitcoin HODLers want them to be). In software, almost all universally adopted products come after other products have proven to not be good enough — MySpace/Facebook, Yahoo/Google, all online ecommerce/Amazon, etc. If Decred is adopted as a universal transmission protocol for payments globally, then it, like other great software products, will have succeeded because it stood on the shoulders of giants.
And what’s wrong with that? Nothing.
To conclude, Decred is just over 2-years-old and Bitcoin is about 10-years-old. Yes, many more people have heard of Bitcoin and it is a huge part of the infrastructure of the cryptocurrency landscape, especially serving as the base currency on every centralized exchange. Still, eventually the most decentralized and highest-quality blockchain technologies will rise to be not only the most valuable assets, but also the most widely adopted. Eventually, this has to happen — this is how it has been, and should and will be.