Newsflash. Buying VTSAX does not make someone an "investor" either. Unless you study company charts, derive your own evaluations, etc, you aren't an investor either.
Now it is prudent to buy quality stocks, or farmland, or even treasuries, because they yield something or represent solid companies with a good product and bright futures. But in the end, your "investment" will only do as well as the herd mentality dictates, regardless of fundamentals. So this is speculation too.
Now gold and Bitcoin don't give you anything (dividends) or represent solid companies. But they are an insurance against reckless central bank money manipulation or bad govt fiscal policies. You buy these assets for different reasons.
Bought $1500 worth of Ether May 2017, they tripled and I then used them to buy an ICO, that followed the BTC pump in late 2017, sold New Year’s Eve. Then bought BTC again when they dropped to 4K and now looking at my screen wondering how big my balls are....
Now yes, but back in 2017 there was a lot of money to be made as long as you got out pretty quickly. Took me 3 more tries to see that it is not the case anymore.
Anyways - crypto is for watches. Real income is for the family, this is okay money, so I buy stuff I’d normally not buy. If I loose everything again, it is what it is. (If you haven’t noticed, I am not very good with money ;))
Pretty big point to clarify. Lots of early blinders bought small amounts of crytpo years ago... it would feel outrageous to many to speculate with 500k today but a few grand years ago was much easier proposition.