Blockchain is a type of distributed ledger technology. A distributed ledger is a decentralized data structure (similar to databases that store data) where the data are distributed across all computers or nodes within a network and every node in the network stores a copy of the ledger. There is no central administration of the data and the data are agreed upon by consensus by all nodes in the network.
Distributed ledger technology (DLT) includes technologies such as blockchain and smart contracts. The technology defines components such as a data model that describes what data are captured in the ledger, and agreement for protocols, such as a consensus protocol to determine how transactions are accepted into the ledger.
Click through the tabs below to learn more about the characteristics and components that make up this technology.