I explain crypto to people by telling them it's similar to the dollar amount they see in their bank account. They can use their debit card online, and purchase items without turning it into cash itself. They can use the digital concept of currency to make purchases.
Crypto is the same way, only instead of it being created by the Federal Reserve or by banks when they extend credit, it's created in some method of derived value, whether that's from upvotes showing content worth, or the mining concept with Bitcoin. In each case, they're ascribed value in something that has a crypto amount applied.