This essay had a very good insight for things to come: Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies fit the above description.
They actually don’t. Glossing over all the details, anyone who bought bitcoin 13 years ago (and just left it alone) received far better return than anyone buying into the proposed lottery would have. Results matter.
There would be some handsome winners, as in the case of Bitcoin early adopters, also for this lottery. You mean average returns? In any case, expected average future returns should be zero for both.
It is similar enough, that no matter what fancy justification or narrative is painted over, most cryptocurrency investors own crypto because they believe it will make them rich. Possibly very fast. And that possibility can strike at any time.
Bitcoin might be a desperate get-rich-quick scheme. However, the odds are not as small as Eliezer’s lottery. Also, some people use it to purchase illegal goods and services, so there’s that. There are similarities, but there are also important differences. Also, there is an upper limit to how much you can lose with the lottery—not so with crypto.
In short, crypto currencies are similar to Eliezer’s lottery only to the extent that all day trading is gambling. Which is true often enough, but not always.