Distributed ledger

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A distributed ledger refers to a type of information technology that holds information in a manner similar to traditional ledgers, but with one key difference: the ledger itself is not a single source like a book, a file on a website, or secured network server. Rather, the ledger is held and updated independently by numerous individual members (or nodes) of a large network. Changes to the ledger have to meet consensus with the majority of other nodes on the network. If it succeeds, the changes are added to every node's copy of the ledger, and thus the ledger as a whole is altered.[1]

Distributed ledgers have a variety of applications. Besides their utility as fintech or components of fintech, their transparent record-keeping capacity could potentially be used to innovate a wide variety of fields.[2] It is, theoretically, a widely-adaptable concept; experimental startup companies all over the world have begun utilizing it for everything from supply chain management[3] to ride sharing[4] to birth and death certificate archiving[5] and real estate registry.[6]

Distributed ledgers and blockchain[edit]

Distributed ledger is an information technology innovation. Blockchain is the first successful example of it, but the name "blockchain" refers to just one type of distributed ledger.

In other words, all blockchains are distributed ledgers - not all distributed ledgers are blockchains.[7]