If you aren’t an expert coder but have been a keen armchair observer of Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and every other increasingly niche cryptocurrency, you might be wondering if it’s feasible to create your own.
In short: yes. But there are quite a few different options to consider—and caveats to keep in mind—before you dive in.
First, it’s important to understand the difference between coins and tokens. Both are cryptocurrencies, but while a coin—Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin—operates on its own blockchain, a token lives on top of an existing blockchain infrastructure like Ethereum. A blockchain is, at its simplest, a record of transactions made on and secured by a network. So while coins have their own independent transaction ledgers, tokens rely on the underlying network’s technology to verify and secure transactions and ownership. In general, coins are used to transfer wealth, while tokens can represent a “contract” for almost anything, from physical objects to event tickets to loyalty points.
Tokens are often released through a crowdsale known as an initial coin offering (ICO) in exchange for existing coins, which in turn fund projects like gaming platforms or digital wallets. You can still get publicly available tokens after an ICO has ended—similar to buying coins—using the underlying currency to make the purchase.