Nobody needs Counterparty
Counterparty was launched around the start of 2014 and is one of the Crypto 2.0 platforms that runs on top of Bitcoin. Their notable feature that sets them apart from most other Crypto 2.0 platforms is their reliance of Proof-of-Burn to issue their currency. The platform offers decentralized exchange between XCP, BTC, and user created assets,
All in all, Counterparty is a decentralized asset issuing platform for centralized assets - loyalty points, presale currencies, etc. Since it relies on the Bitcoin network, the transactions are slower than the competition, there are no real gateways on the network offering fiat currencies.
So in general, nobody needs Counterparty - you can issue the same currencies on faster, more established platforms, you can issue them privately on a centralized platform, on semi-centralized Open Assets, partner with some exchanges, etc. There are many other, better ways you can accomplish the same result without using Counterparty. So all in all, you don't need Counterparty, right?
Nobody needs Ethereum
In similar vein, one could criticise Ethereum's smart contracts. They offer unambiguous code execution, you know the code will not be changed during execution, and you can run long-running pieces of software that can use persistent storage on the blockchain. As /u/brighton36 pointed out:
"Unambiguous code execution is already in ubiquitous use today. Package management systems use code signing to detect whether the code being executed is asserted as valid by the issuing party. Open source scripts are in abundance. "
Beyond that, Counterparty has recreated Ethereum on its platform (and Ethereum responded in kind by recreating Counterparty in 340 lines of code). So all in all, you don't need Ethereum, right?
It's not about the need, but the want
When you think about it really, focusing on whether you need something or not because you can accomplish the same task with something else is a silly argument. That's like saying "you don't need Goland, you've got C++", or "nobody needs a screw, you can use nails". So no, nobody needs Counterparty and nobody needs Ethereum, but they are both useful tools in their own right. As long as they are functioning as intended and fulfil a need people have, not necessarily optimally, they are useful. I might prefer to use Ethereum to say, publish my blog because I can / feel like it / it's cool to do that, or Counterparty to issue my local currency because it's convenient / good enough / I like the project. Sure, you can do better in both cases, and in time you might optimize and choose a better platform, but that doesn't mean those projects aren't useful in one way or the other.
The only obvious caveat here are pumps, scams and similar attempts at getting people's money illicitly. While PayCoin might be as useful to transfer money as Tether, it wouldn't be advisable to give money to the former over the latter.
Good projects can flourish if people want to use them, or die if people don't care. Bad projects will most likely burn themselves out eventually. If Ethereum, Counterparty or whatever other project is out there is used by people, even if you can accomplish the same things with something else, let them use it. Claiming a project is "full retard" won't get you very far.
Claiming that "nobody needs project X" because you can accomplish the same task with some other tool or technology doesn't make the project itself useless. People might have many reasons to use the various alternatives, and as long as you can accomplish what you set out to do, that might be good enough for a lot of people.
- It looks like Counterparty has started supporting asset-asset exchange since the last time http://tiny.cc/Crypto was updated.
- As some have pointed out, Counterparty is also used by Storj and Spells of Genesis trading cards, although they haven't been trading much recently, hence why they weren't mentioned
More discussion on the topic can be found here: