Staking is the process of locking up tokens to support the operations of a blockchain network. In return for staking, users receive rewards in the form of additional tokens. Staking is a key element of Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanisms, which are used by many blockchains to secure their networks.
When you stake your tokens, you essentially lock them up in the network for a certain period. Depending on the specific protocol, staking your tokens might allow you to participate in network governance (voting on various decisions), validate transactions, and earn rewards.
Staking serves the dual purpose of incentivizing participants to operate in the best interest of the network (since they have a financial stake in it) and deter malicious activity (since malicious actors stand to lose their staked tokens).