Shanvere DAO
3 min readMay 18, 2023

Understanding Cryptocurrencies: The Difference Between Crypto Coins and Tokens

The advent of blockchain technology has sparked a significant shift in the financial world, birthing an innovative asset class - Cryptocurrencies. However, as more individuals venture into the world of digital assets, it becomes crucial to understand its terminologies. Two terms often used interchangeably but with different meanings are "crypto coins" and "crypto tokens". In this article, we delve into the unique aspects of these two types of cryptocurrencies and distinguish between them.

Understanding Cryptocurrencies

Before we differentiate between crypto coins and tokens, it's important to understand what a cryptocurrency is. Essentially, a cryptocurrency is a type of digital or virtual currency secured through cryptography. The striking feature of cryptocurrencies is their decentralized nature; they operate on an underlying technology called blockchain, independent of a central authority like a government or a central bank.

What are Crypto Coins?

Crypto coins, also known as coins or altcoins (alternative to Bitcoin), are a form of digital money created using encryption techniques. These techniques regulate the generation of units and verify transfers of funds. Crypto coins are native to their own blockchain and operate independently of a central bank.

Examples of crypto coins include Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC). Bitcoin, the first-ever cryptocurrency, operates on its own specific blockchain. Similarly, ETH operates on the Ethereum network. Crypto coins are often used in the same way as physical money - for transactions or as a store of value. They have their own standalone existence and do not require another platform to operate.

What are Crypto Tokens?

Crypto tokens, or simply tokens, contrast from coins in their structure and purpose. They represent a specific asset or utility that resides on top of another blockchain. Tokens can represent practically anything, from commodities to voting rights. In essence, tokens extend the functionality of cryptocurrencies.

Tokens are created through a process called an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), where developers raise funds in the form of a popular coin (like Ethereum) and issue their own tokens. Examples of tokens include Tether (USDT), Chainlink (LINK), and Uniswap (UNI).

The utility of tokens surpasses that of coins. They can be used in decentralized applications (dApps) built on the blockchain they reside on. Tokens can represent in-app assets, voting rights, or even proof of ownership.

The Distinct Difference

The fundamental difference between a crypto coin and a token lies in their structure: coins have their own blockchains, while tokens operate on top of another blockchain. Functionally, coins primarily represent money, while tokens can represent a broad range of assets and utilities.

Both coins and tokens play vital roles in the cryptocurrency world, serving different purposes and having different uses. Understanding these differences is paramount for anyone exploring the exciting yet complex universe of cryptocurrencies. As blockchain technology continues to evolve and be adopted across various sectors, the distinctions and uses for both coins and tokens will continue to grow.

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