“Coin” is a term that is originally used to refer to a currency in its physical sense. In the crypto sector, the definition of coin is digital currency native to a blockchain, which is why a coin is also called a Layer 1 token. Cryptocurrencies, in general, are divided into coins and tokens. The first difference between them concerns the blockchain on which these two different types of digital currencies are created. When developers decide to release a blockchain, the cryptocurrency originating from this blockchain is a coin. Some examples of coins are ETH which comes from the Ethereum blockchain, SOL from Solana, AVAX from Avalanche. If developers instead intend to create a crypto for their project without building a new blockchain, they can use an existing third-party chain. In this case, the cryptocurrency is said to be a token: although they are bound to a blockchain, they only contribute to the development of their project. The most famous example of a token is the ERC-20 type, the token based on the Ethereum standard of the same name. Tokens are typical of dapp and DeFi protocols, some of the best known being SAND, BAT, YFI. 

A coin is thus independent of other blockchains (and other coins) and has its own economic system. Bitcoin is the first coin to have been created, born in 2009 from Satoshi Nakamoto’s code.

By definition, a coin also differs from a token in its functionality. While a coin performs the functions of a currency (medium of exchange, unit of account, store of value), a token can be used for different purposes. In general, a token with a specific function is called a utility token: they are used to perform transactions in dapps, others to manage the governance of a project, or to access services in a crypto ecosystem (such as the Young token, YNG). NFTs are also tokens, specifically non-fungible tokens. There is a third type of tokens, called security tokens, which differ from utility tokens in that they are shares or securities issued by a company, essentially to allow one to participate in its profits.

The term “coin”, as well as “token”, is also used to refer to a single unit of a cryptocurrency. When you are asked to pay 2 ALGOs, you are paying 2 coins. The circulating supply indicates the number of coins circulating in the market, the market cap on the other hand is the total value of all coins in circulation, which is obtained by multiplying the price of the coin by the circulating supply.

Coins can be distributed through ICOs or IEOs. An ICO is defined as an ‘initial coin offering’, i.e. a fundraising campaign initiated by a project before launching its cryptocurrency. ICOs consist of sales of cryptocurrencies (coins or tokens) to users interested in the project, which presents its business plan and mission through whitepapers. Ethereum ICOs spread this practice: they were widely used in the period between 2014 and 2018 but, due to their limitations, were replaced by IEOs. IEOs share the objective of ICOs but are managed by exchanges that act as intermediaries between projects and users.

Correlated words


'Hard' monetary policies aimed at raising interest rates to combat inflation.


Monetary policy characterised by low interest rates and higher levels of employment aimed at fostering economic growth.


Organisations that manage all information relating to top-level domains.


Stringa di caratteri associata in String of characters uniquely associated with a resource on the World Wide Web. univoca ad una risorsa sul World Wide Web.

IP address

Numeric strings that uniquely identify every resource to the network

Web 3.0

A term often associated with the idea of the 'Semantic Web' and data interoperability, it represents the next phase of the Internet.


Organisation that manages domain names on the Internet and assigns IP addresses.


Organisation that deals with the sale and registration of domain names.


Hierarchical server system that, on the Internet, associates each domain name with an IP address.


The domain extension placed at the end of a URL address,located at the highest point in the DNS hierarchy.

Financial Market

The financial market is a regulated space where financial securities can be bought and sold.


Cashback involves a partial reimbursement of funds spent in a transaction.


Third historical phase of the web, during which the economic and technological system of the internet changes thanks to the tools offered by blockchain.


The longest-lived cryptocurrency on the market and the first application of blockchain.

Wallet address

The string of characters that identifies a cryptocurrency wallet.


Cryptocurrencies pegged to the price of a stable asset such as a fiat currency or precious metal.


Managing one's wallet by knowing its private key

White Paper

Technical and informative document used by cryptocurrency projects to present their technological proposal.


Software that allows you to send, receive and store your cryptocurrencies.

Virtual Currency

Term used in legislation to define cryptocurrencies.

Fiat Currency

Legal tender, i.e. the official currency adopted by a government.


Digital unit of value based on a third-party protocol.

Satoshi Nakamoto

The pseudonym of the creator or group of Bitcoin developers. Their true identity is unknown and they no longer have an online presence.


Open-source software is public and available for anyone to reuse.


Identity verification procedure required by European regulations for exchanges.

Hard Fork

A division of the blockchain due to the incompatibility of the new version of the protocol with the previous one.

Hot Wallet

A cryptocurrency wallet connected to the internet.


The halving of the reward given to miners for producing Bitcoin blockchain blocks.


A sector that combines finance and technology, where companies develop technologically innovative financial services.


The branch of computer science that studies secure communication methods.


Virtual currency based on cryptography and blockchain.

Public Key

Cryptographic code that identifies a wallet on the blockchain.

Private Key

Cryptographic code that gives access to a wallet.


Tools that simplify the development of apps and web services.


Cryptocurrencies that followed Bitcoin as alternative solutions.


Anti-money laundering regulations prevent illegal activities on centralised exchanges.


The procedure applied to solve a problem.


Services facilitating the purchase and sale of digital assets based on daily market prices.

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