What is a SyncToken?

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You'll often see a
SyncToken
tag in Intuit's IDS XML requests:
 
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-16"?>
<Mod xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
  xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema"
  RequestId="7699faaff20f4e16987e26bddbbf9461"
  xmlns="http://www.intuit.com/sb/cdm/v2">
   <Object xsi:type="Customer">
   <Id>43497400</Id>
 
   <!-- what the heck is this? -->
   <SyncToken>1</SyncToken>
 
   <MetaData>
 

The SyncToken tag is