What’s the difference between a distributed ledger and a blockchain?

A blockchain is a type of distributed ledger.  But new distributed ledgers are emerging. These are databases where control over the data’s evolution is shared between entities. Here’s a handy cheatsheet.

Key takeways:

  • If you want to include all the initiatives going on, use the term “distributed ledgers”.
  • If you mean blockchains, where unrelated transactions are bundled into blocks, which are chained together using hashes and (in most cases) broadcast to all participating entities for batch processing, use “blockchains”.
  • If you like acronyms, use “DLT”: Distributed Ledger Technology
All blockchains are distributed ledgers, but not all distributed ledgers are blockchains!


For more depth, I recommend two excellent posts:


One thought on “What’s the difference between a distributed ledger and a blockchain?

  1. Hi,
    Fabric is very much a blockchain framework because that’s the basic structure of its ledger but in 1.0 transactions are not distributed to everybody. indeed, Fabric 1.0 introduces “channels” which allow to segregate transactions to specific subgroups.

    So there are more dimensions to this problem than access.

Leave a Reply