What is a Crypto Token? Crypto Tokens vs. Crypto Coins

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Cryptocurrencies have gained significant attention in recent times. You probably saw the terms crypto tokens and crypto coins used by media regularly.

Understanding the difference between these two terms and their potential benefits is essential.

In this article, we’ll explore the world of crypto tokens, their uses, and how they differ from coins.

What is a crypto token?

What is a crypto token?

A crypto token is like a special digital currency that exists on the internet. It’s not a physical currency you can hold in your hand, but it has value, just like real money.

For example, you’re playing a crypto game, and you earn special points by completing tasks. They are digital and only exist in the game world. These game points can be given in the form of game tokens.

Game tokens are similar to pints but can be used outside of just one game. People create different types of crypto tokens for different purposes. Some tokens are made for buying things in blockchain games, while others are used in online communities or for investment.

How do crypto tokens work?

Imagine you have a virtual piggy bank called a wallet. This wallet can store these digital tokens. Each token represents something of value, like a digital item (e.g. NFTs) or even real money.

When someone wants to create a new crypto token, they usually have a specific purpose in mind. 

For example, they might want to create a token for a play-to-earn game that players can use to buy special items. They would create a certain number of tokens and give them a name, like “GameCoin.”

Here’s a step-by-step explanation of how crypto tokens are created and operated:

  1. Creation: Someone creates a new crypto token for a specific purpose, like a video game currency or a digital collectible.
  2. Blockchain platform: The token creator chooses a blockchain platform, like Ethereum, to build their token on. 
  3. Token design: The creator determines the total supply of tokens and gives them a unique name, symbol, and other characteristics.
  4. Smart contract: A smart contract, which is like a set of rules, is created on the blockchain platform. It defines how the tokens will be used, transferred, and stored.
  5. Token distribution: The creator distributes the initial supply of tokens. This can be done through a sale, an airdrop, or other methods.
  6. Wallets: People who receive the tokens need a digital wallet, which is a secure place to store and manage their tokens. They can use wallets provided by the blockchain platform or third-party applications.
  7. Transactions: Users can now send and receive tokens through their wallets. When a transaction occurs, it is recorded on the blockchain, ensuring transparency and security.
  8. Token utility: The tokens can be used for various purposes depending on their design. For example, they can be used to purchase goods or services, access exclusive content, or participate in activities within a specific ecosystem.

That’s the basic idea of how crypto tokens work. Digital tokens represent something valuable and are created, stored, and transferred using blockchain technology.

It’s an exciting and evolving field, but it’s important to remember that it comes with the risks described below.

Why are crypto tokens necessary?

Tokens are required for a few reasons:

  • They enable developers to create a cryptocurrency without having to build a blockchain for that cryptocurrency. That’s a significant relief because it makes developing cryptocurrencies simpler, faster, and more affordable. 
  • New cryptocurrency coins also need validators to confirm their transactions. The faster alternative is to make a crypto token. They can piggyback on an existing blockchain, like Ethereum. Then their crypto token can run on Ethereum’s platform with a security system. 
  • Tokens can represent assets that don’t exist on the blockchain. For example, a crypto token could represent physical goods like gold or oil. This opens up a whole world of possibilities for international trade and investment.  
  • Tokens can also represent voting rights or membership in a community or organization. This allows us to manage these communities democratically and transparently. 

All in all, tokens are a vital part of the cryptocurrency ecosystem and have the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with the world around us.

Risks associated with using crypto tokens

While crypto tokens have many benefits, it also comes with some risks:

  • Unfortunately, the anonymity of crypto tokens has made them well-suited for facilitating illegal transactions
  • Crypto tokens have enabled ransomware – malware that encrypts important files on your device in demand of a payment (ransom) to restore access.
  • The crypto industry is still new, and some hackers exploit it. Attackers look for flaws in the code and could steal funds from the project (e.g. the DAO hack).
  • The speculative fever sparked by crypto tokens has seen investors pour money into schemes that may be exposed to a greater risk of fraud.

As more people become aware of the risks associated with crypto tokens, it is essential to exercise caution when considering investing in them.

What are the differences between crypto tokens and crypto coins?

As cryptocurrency units, “coin” and “token” mean the same thing. However, there is a technical difference.

Here’s an explanation of the difference between crypto tokens and crypto coins, along with a simple comparison table:

Crypto Tokens

Tokens rely on existing blockchain platforms for their creation and functionality.

For example, Uniswap and ApeCoin are tokens because they run on the Ethereum blockchain (platform).

Here are some factors of tokens:

  • Crypto tokens are special digital currencies that exist on the internet.
  • Tokens are often used for specific purposes within a project, service, community, or game.
  • They are created using blockchain technology and can represent something of value, like digital items or real money (stablecoins).
  • They can be stored in digital wallets and transferred securely.

Crypto coins

Coins are native cryptocurrencies that have their own dedicated blockchains, which support their transactions and functionality.

For example, Ethereum (ETH) and Cardano (ADA) are coins because they run on dedicated blockchains they developed.

Here are some characteristics of coins:

  • Coins are digital currencies that also exist on the internet.
  • They are decentralized and independent, meaning they don’t rely on any particular platform or project.
  • Coins are designed to be used as digital money, similar to traditional currencies like dollars or euros.
  • They can be used for various purposes, including buying goods and services or investing.

» Learn more: What is cryptocurrency?

Comparison table: Crypro Tokens vs. Coins

Usually have a specific purpose within a project or community.Designed to be used as a digital currency.
Tokens rely on existing blockchain platforms in most cases.Cryptocurrencies run on their own dedicated blockchain or network.
Examples: DAI, COMP (any game coins or utility tokens)Examples: Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH)

In summary, crypto tokens are like special digital coins created for specific purposes within projects or communities, while crypto coins are digital currencies designed to be used as a form of money. Tokens rely on existing blockchains, while coins have their dedicated blockchains or networks.

What are the benefits of using crypto tokens?

They are designed for specific purposes within a decentralized application or ecosystem. 

For example:

  • A crypto token may represent a unit of value, a share in a project, or a voting right. 
  • Some tokens represent physical assets like gold or real estate. 
  • Other tokens provide access to certain services or platforms. 

Using crypto tokens, businesses and developers can create economies better aligned with their specific needs and objectives.


Cryptocurrencies have been making waves lately as investors try to figure out how this new technology can benefit their businesses or portfolios.

In this article, we’ve explored the world of crypto tokens and answered some of your most burning questions about this exciting new development in the digital age. 

As you can see, there are essential distinctions between coins and tokens. While both types of digital assets offer potential benefits for investors and businesses, it’s crucial to understand how they differ before investing in either one.

Article by
Artem Minaev