Understanding the various terms and networks associated with cryptocurrencies is extremely important for smooth navigation through them. There are two major systems of algorithms that ensure security, verification, and creation of new coins and tokens. These are called proof-of-work and proof-of-stake.
Bitcoin (BTC), the biggest cryptocurrency, uses proof-of-work for security. Bitcoin miners use it to secure blockchains and get rewarded with coins. A lot of energy is required to secure these blockchains, and decentralization becomes important for the integrity of the currency.
However, proof-of-work blockchains experience a lot of trouble scaling, and they are also susceptible to what is called Tragedy of Commons. This is a point where no block reward comes from mining resulting in fewer miners being available. To overcome this, the proof-of-stake mechanism was invented.
In this mechanism, validators stake coins to win verification rights. Ethereum (ETH) uses this mechanism and processes one million transactions every day. This is much more than Bitcoin, which processes 200,000 transactions. Validators stake their rights, verify, and are rewarded in terms of tenure.
In short, proof-of-work mining relies upon computer power and energy, while the proof-of-stake validating reward relies upon the strength of the wallet and commitment of the validators.
Tokens, on the other hand, are not a part of either proof-of-work or proof-of-stake cryptocurrencies. They are units of measure used to represent physical or digital assets like real estate or decentralized finance (DeFi). Each token is unique and all the tokens are advised differently.
According to CoinMarketCap, currently, tokens in the top ten list include Tether, USD Coin, Uniswap, Chainlink, and Binance USD.