There was substantial interest in financial innovation before "Satoshi." There were many people exploring the concept of electronic tokens. I know because I worked on these.
Satoshi did not step into a vacuum. There were groups pushing against the regulation.
The innovation was to create an extra-legal entity to issue the tokens and to attribute the creation to a fictitious character.
That said, everything else was in place including a huge number of people at the ready to push back against regulators.