You know what's interesting to me? I've probably had a dozen discussions with different people all asking me about cryptocurrency and not a one of them gives the first fuck about utility. They don't care at all what Ripple is good for. What they know is that if they bought some last year they'd be fuckin' rich this year.
Cryptocurrency is a movement to many of the participants. There's a zeal there that you don't see in equities or beanie babies or anything. And I think it's going to warp the ever-living fuck out of expectations.
This is a good point, although I don't necessarily completely agree. I'd argue that the, uh, less informed zealots (because there are well-informed zealots as well) likely won't have as much of an impact on how things will shape out to be. Less-informed zealots are, for example, immutability maximalists, or the ones falling for the scammy ICO pitches. Well-informed zealots build Hyperledger; they're more likely to produce something actually transformative.
Of course quality and utility doesn't necessarily mean anything, and technologically inferior solutions have won out more than once due to accidents of economy, politics, sociology, psychology, history and so on.
I think there's this assumption that everyone is going to shuck out of crypto just as fast as they shucked into it without recognizing that people don't do that with goddamn stocks.
I don't know. The situation resembles the old penny stock crazes way back when (just that its effects have been amplified by the availability of instant global communication), and cryptocurrencies are much easier to transact with compared to securities. As you've pointed out, the current prices are mostly driven by people with very little idea of what's actually going on: assuming they'd act analogously to people who've invested in traditional securities seems a bit iffy. The whole market's still in its infancy, and the market forces at play aren't quite where they will be when the actual big players get in the game: a few million uninformed crypto enthusiasts probably won't have voice in what happens then.
Still, it's impossible to say what will happen, and what we're seeing is unprecedented. It'd be stupid to completely discount the "masses"