distributed ledger technology [English]

Syndetic Relationships

InterPARES Definition

No definition in earlier IP projects. ITrust definition not yet developed.

Other Definitions

  • Blockchain Technologies 2016 (†789 s.v."Distributed Ledger"): Distributed ledgers are a type of database that are spread across multiple sites, countries or institutions. Records are stored one after the other in a continuous ledger. Distributed ledger data can be either "permissioned" or "unpermissioned" to control who can view it.
  • Deloitte Insights 2016 (†801 p.12): Distributed: Responsibility for maintaining the ledger shared by a group of peers. The current state of the ledger is represented by the peer’s consensus on what records the ledger contains. Other actors can obtain a copy of the ledger from any of the peers, as there is no single authoritative copy. Other actors can submit new records to any or all of the peers. Ledger identity and integrity ensured via the consensus process, that specifies how peers reach consensus.
  • Deloitte Insights 2016 (†801 p.16; s.v. "A definition" ): We therefore provide a definition of ‘distributed ledger’: a ledger maintained by a group of peers, rather than a central agency. · Any member of the group of peers can add records to the ledger. However, records are only accepted when the group agrees the record meets all the ledger’s requirements – typically it must be unique, correctly signed, etc. · For a distributed ledger to be trusted, it must have two characteristics: One, we must be confident the records it contains haven’t been tampered with. We do this with cryptography via digital signatures, in much the same way we sign other digital documents, and digital fingerprints using a technique called ‘hashing’, which is extremely sensitive to any change in underlying data. The use of cryptography is what gave virtual currencies created on digital ledgers the name ‘cryptocurrencies’. · Two, we must determine what records are stored in the ledger and their precedence – the ledger’s contents. The consensus view of the group of peers represents the contents of a distributed ledger. This consensus must be established in an environment where we assume some of the peers are providing erroneous data.
  • ISO TC307 N38 (United States). 2017. (†834 p.2): Distributed Ledger - the consensus validated transactions that are replicated across nodes.
  • ISO TC307 N55 (France). 2017 (†858 ): Register containing information shared, recorded and replicated among nodes.
  • ISO TC307 N67 (United Kingdom). 2017. (†841 p.1): Database technology in which records are stored in sequence in a continuous ledger, spread across multiple locations. Records can only be added when multiple participants agree to do so.
  • Walport 2016 (†802 p. 5): A distributed ledger is essentially an asset database that can be shared across a network of multiple sites, geographies or institutions. All participants within a network can have their own identical copy of the ledger. Any changes to the ledger are reflected in all copies in minutes, or in some cases, seconds. The assets can be financial, legal, physical or electronic. The security and accuracy of the assets stored in the ledger are maintained cryptographically through the use of ‘keys’ and signatures to control who can do what within the shared ledger. Entries can also be updated by one, some or all of the participants, according to rules agreed by the network.


  • Deloitte Insights 2016 (†801 p. 12): We can think of distributed ledgers as a consequence of the mass adoption of digital networks, and the logical evolution of physical ledgers (lines of text in a codex) and digital ledgers (rows in a database). Both physical and digital ledgers record entries in a single place; as a central agency is typically responsible for them we might call them central ledgers. Central ledgers allow one authoritative copy of the data. For physical ledgers, this is a single codex, or a volume in a series. Digital ledgers use a single database, a system of record. (†2044)
  • Norton 2016 (†770 ): Today, more than 40 top financial institutions and a growing number of firms across industries are experimenting with distributed ledger technology as a secure and transparent way to digitally track the ownership of assets, a move that could speed up transactions and cut costs while lowering the risk of fraud. (†1944)
  • Norton 2016 (†770 ): The term blockchain today usually describes a version of this distributed ledger structure and distributed consensus process. There are different blockchain configurations that use different consensus mechanisms, depending on the type and size of the network and the use case of a particular company. (†1947)
  • Piasecki 2017 (†815 s.v. 2017-01-30: "Corda and the Distributed ): · The technology seems to be focused more on transactions and less on grouping them into blocks. · With the absence of blocks, we necessarily have to do away with any form of distributed, native currency - there is no way for that currency to be objectively generated. The system instead uses IOUs for currencies and assets. · The system relies on a number of key nodes / entities to operate - auditors, validators, legal authorities, banks, etc. This means the system would be at best "decentralised" · Cryptography is still used to authorise various transactions and move the money around. (†2097)
  • Piasecki 2017 (†815 s.v. 2017-02-20 "Blockchain Terminology-a dev): · Distributed Ledger Technology is a term used to describe a superset of the Blockchain Technology and ledgerless crypto suites (such as Corda or Open Transactions). · The term is relatively new as of February 2017 and it may be seen as a way for governments and big companies to further move away from the terms "Bitcoin" and "Blockchain". (†2099)
  • Scaling Bitcoin [2017] (†845 s.v. "Distributed network"): A distributed network is designed so that there is no central server or entity that others must connect to. Instead, network participants connect directly to each other. Bitcoin is a distributed network. (†2254)
  • Seibold et al. 2016 (†821 p.1): A digital record of ownership that differs from traditional database technology, since there is no central administrator or central data storage; instead, the ledger is replicated among many different nodes in a peer-to-peer network, and each transaction is uniquely signed with a private key. (†2142)
  • Stubbs and Ankeemana 2016 (†773 ): A public blockchain mirrors this distributed trust model. It’s often called a distributed ledger, a fancy way of saying that every record is shared by everyone who’s involved in any given blockchain. Participation is open to any interested party and updates can be triggered by anyone but need to be validated by a majority of participants before they’re written to the blockchain. And, as every update is dependent on one earlier in the ledger, it creates a lineage of transactions; a “chain” of “blocks”, if you will. ¶ The nature of this lineage makes the ledger inviolate. Because updates are chained, dependent on prior ones, and validated by consensus, falsifying prior transactions is impossible without controlling a majority of peers within the blockchain. (†1955)
  • Walport 2016 (†802 p.33): Banks keep track of customer balances on a ledger. Bitcoin also uses a ledger, but it is maintained collaboratively by the decentralised network of computers, and is known as a distributed ledger. (†2124)