Although I have grown to appreciate the value of the kyu/dan system, when I began training I stayed away from Korean and Japanese arts because I had strong opinions against rank, and I held that opinion until my interest in aikido began to take root.
After speaking to many many people about practice, the most common question I get about my personal experience is "do you have a black belt?". The black belt seems to be the general standard for acheivement. It will be nice to answer that question with a simple yes.
I think the value of the black belt exist primarily outside of the dojo.