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Coins vs Tokens

In the brave new world of cryptographic assets, it can be confusing to determine what is what. When talking about cryptocurrency, the terms “coin” and “token” are often used interchangeably, even though this is not quite correct. There are a few subtle differences between coins and tokens.

Coins - Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero

  • Are highly divisible and can be traded
  • Have their own blockchain network
  • Can be earned as rewards for mining or maintaining the network

Tokens - Golem, 0x Protocol, Gemini Dollar

  • Do not have their own blockchain network, or are built on top of an existing network
  • Cannot be earned for mining or network maintenance
  • Can be earned for providing specific on-chain services

Assets - Cryptokitties, Property Titles

  • Are not divisible but can be traded
  • Cannot be earned for mining or network maintenance
  • Can represent real-world items

Now that you know the difference between different cryptographic assets, learn how to buy bitcoin and other coins and tokens.

For more information on this topic, check out the Fungible Tokens section of Ethereum 101.

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