You can spot this conflation easily. Every time you hear someone in the Main Fiat Media besmirching Bitcoin and other crypto, listen for the buzzwords they use. Chew on those words. More often than not, you will conclude that the pundit in question is thinking of Bitcoin (I'll use "Bitcoin" hereafter to refer to all crypto) as an equity rather than a currency. The two aren't even similar.
In essence, what you're hearing is someone saying: "well, it trades like a stock, has a market like a stock, so it must be a quasi-stock." Or, thereabouts; or, they just simply don't know what they're talking about, to invoke Occam's Razor. Then you dismiss them.
Investopedia is a great resource for all things investing related. Use it to get your knowledge up to speed because this is a complex world and distinctions are critically important. Here's the entry on what equity is.
When you buy stock (a pure equity), you are buying a share in a single company's total net assets in terms of hard numbers (simply: assets minus debt) plus whatever goodwill, non-tangable buzz and enthusiasm, hope, prayers, and et cetera that the stock offers to investors. Way out-of-whack price-to-earnings ratios are a signal that investors are focussing a lot more on the intangible elements than the hard numbers.
Mutual funds are derivative stock-indexed instruments (the DOW and S&P 500 are the simplest derivatives) that are well-proven ways to get into the stock market without incurring the risk of counting on a single company's prowess, or your ability to discern which basket of stocks are the best to own.
And that's another clue into the mentality of this conflation. What many erroneously see in Bitcoin is an "irrational exuberance" that looks a lot like ridiculously priced Tesla stock. But it's not.
Has it ever been irrational to buy gold at any price?
Neither is Bitcoin a financial instrument, such as a bond, annuity, or insurance policy.
On the scale of "safe" places to store your money in order to minimally account for or even modestly overcome the continual inflation of fiat currency that's baked into the whole scheme-cake, you have stocks, bonds, mutual funds and...wait for it: MONEY MARKET certificates and funds.
Those of you who've managed your own IRA or 401K for years typically understand this well. In a so-called business cycle, you might be advised to switch out your basket from equities primarily, to income...from stocks to bonds...because in the downturn, so long as companies don't go bust, they'll still pay interest on their debt (a bond is debt...a loan to the company). And, then, when that may seem suspect for too many companies too often, or your risk tolerance is low, you may just be advised to put everything into a money market fund and wait. A money market fund is designed to simply keep pace with your CURRENCY during the time the equities and debt get sorted out and we're at the end of the so-called business cycle.
Now, are you beginning to get a sense of the conflation and double-speak?
When stinky stuff hits the fan, people move from equities to equity derivatives (mutual funds) to debt (bonds) to currency funds (money markets), and finally, to cash itself.
Why? Because it's the medium of exchange and psychologically, that's the root fundamental: the necessity of being able to exchange for what you need to live in a division-of-trade economy.
So, as bad as fiat currency is as a store of value, it's still ultimately safer and sounder than any other financial instrument, all of which are denominated in terms of that currency. What's the safest investment in terms of US Dollars? Treasury Bonds. A priori. If you want to be as safe as you can in a currency, then you simply store your wealth in that currency's bonds itself, with interest that will probably roughly keep you at par with inflation.
And that's what Bitcoin is. It's a currency with wider and wider global adoption as a medium of exchange that has properties as a store of value that has the potential to outstrip gold and the reason for that is that while gold is tangible, it sucks as a medium of exchange, which is why nobody wanted to bother with it in the first place and the government creating "certificates of deposit" (the original paper money) was such an easy sell.
But now, we have smart phones and debit cards, and that element is what's coming next in cryptocurrency. I predict it's going to prove far better than gold. All the pluses (mining, inherently deflationary limited supply, cool) with none of the minuses (lugging it around, weights and measures, highway robbery, etc.).
Bitcoin is Digital Gold. It's not a stake in Bitcoin, but is a medium of exchange. Bitcoin is not a company, not an equity. It's not debt. And if it's an insurance policy, that's because so far, it kills both the dollar and gold as a hedge against the promiscuity of scantily-clad governments on street corners late at night.
Please ask questions in comments if any of this isn't clear. I'll be happy to draw further distinctions and clarify as needed.
See The Cryptocurrency Resource Library — A Complete Up-To-Date Index of All The Most Important Stuff.