I definitely disagree with the need for visible hands while live spectating. It would open the door for cheaters. Since we’re separated by our monitors (and not playing IRL), there’s no one to police those who would have their friend spectate and spy on the opposing hand. Netrunner seems to have generally respectable people, but not everyone falls under that blanket statement. If there was a post-game stream of the match with both players’ hands visible, that might be something.
To the OP’s questions, I do enjoy the split. I can’t say wait times are increased since it seems like there are more players on than when I first joined, so it works well enough for me.
A hidden ELO/Matchmaking system is a desired feature.