What tokens are

When Bitcoin first came to be in 2008, this was the first example of what the world now refers to as cryptocurrency. As the years have gone by, tens of thousands of crypto currencies have popped up, largely thanks to Bitcoin’s innovations. But what are these other tokens and how do they work? In the cryptocurrency world, any coin that isn’t Bitcoin or Ethereum is referred to as a token. While Bitcoin utilizes proof of work (PoW) algorithms to approve blocks, many tokens do not, instead opting for proof of stake, which is less intensive than PoW. Because Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency, any token that isn’t as dominant as it is referred to as an alternative - hence the ‘alt’ abbreviation. Because of recent developments in the Ethereum ecosystem and its status as the definite Layer 1 coin, Ethereum isn’t considered a token anymore. At this point, you might be wondering why tokens exist. After all, if Bitcoin and Ethereum are the two strongest coins, why have any alternatives? Because of the ever growing crypto ecosystem, new technologies and use cases pop up nearly everyday. Due to this changing and constantly expanding demand, tokens pop up that fill a need in the ecosystem. Just as Bitcoin serves as a digital store of value and Ethereum is used more as a traditional currency, tokens like Solana or Chainlink fill their respective roles. Due to tokens typically having smaller market caps, they can be more volatile than Bitcoin and Ethereum. Those who wish to speculate on token should know the risks that come, as not all projects have proven themselves and generally carry elevated risk.