One imperfect but useful way to think about crypto is that it allowed for the creation of a toy financial system. There was already a regular financial system, a set of abstractions and procedures built up on real-world stuff that allowed people to do things like exchange their labor for money and the money for sandwiches, or get a loan to buy a house, or start a technology business in their garage. That system grew up over time, in path-dependent ways; it was fragmented and complicated and embedded in society and history. Different bits of it had different cultures and practices and were regulated differently; the regulation had also accreted haphazardly over time, and it could feel arbitrary and constraining.
And then crypto came along with a new set of stuff to do finance to.