Participation takes on different meanings according to the consensus mechanism of a blockchain protocol. In Proof-of-Work (PoW) protocols, participation means solving complex mathematical problems in order to validate transactions in exchange for a reward. This is also referred to as mining.
In Proof-of-Stake protocols, participation means staking tokens to a node, often referred to as bonding, to signal confidence in the protocol. Staked nodes are eligible to participate in transaction validation and block production, and in return, are compensated in the form of participatory rewards in exchange for helping to secure the network.