No. Crime did not make him dominant. Consider the incident in season 1 episode 1, before he started cooking meth, and well before he started prospering from cooking meth.
Think about the scene when his family was in the store buying pants for his son, and a group of young punks started loudly mocking his boy. To everyone’s surprise — even his own it seems — Walt left the store, circled back in, approached his son’s biggest tormentor and kicked his ass.
The fact that he was going to die from cancer no matter what he did liberated him from his fear of death. His lack of fear was the foundation of his dominance, and it gave him the power and confidence needed to fulfill his inner nature, that of a successful player in the dangerous, but thrilling, drug world.
The health care expenses are just a McGuffin in the series. When Skylar pushed him he c that as a justification, but it’s clear all of his motivations sprang from his thirst to live dangerously.