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What is the difference between Blockchain & DLT?

In recent years, the terms "blockchain" and "distributed ledger technology (DLT)" have become buzzwords in the tech world. Their influence extends far beyond the field of cryptocurrencies and affects numerous industries. But what exactly is the difference between these two technologies?

cointract crypto trading app: unterschied zwischen blockchain und distributed ledger technology
Photo by Shubham's Web3

The blockchain: a sequence of blocks

The blockchain is widely recognised as the technological backbone of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. However, it is much more than that. In its essence, the blockchain is a kind of digital accounting system. Transactions are stored in blocks and linked together using complex cryptographic algorithms. Each block contains a number of transactions and is appended to the previous block, creating an unchangeable chain.

cointract crypto trading app blockchain visualisiert

An outstanding feature of blockchain is its decentralised nature. This means that no central authority has control over it, which significantly increases the security and transparency of transactions. In addition, the data in a blockchain is immutable. Once information is stored, it is preserved forever, which creates a high level of trust.

Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT): decentralised data storage

At its core, DLT is a system in which data is distributed decentrally and transparently in a network structure. In contrast to traditional centralised databases, where a single actor has control, DLT networks are collective entities in which every party involved has access to the entire transaction history.

How DLT works

To understand how DLT works, it is important to consider two key concepts: Consensus mechanisms and transparency.

Consensus mechanisms

DLT networks use different types of consensus mechanisms to ensure that all parties in the network agree to a transaction. Examples of this are the Proof of Work (PoW) for Bitcoin or the Proof of Stake (PoS) for Ethereum. These mechanisms ensure the integrity of transactions and prevent fraudulent activities.


In contrast to conventional systems, where data is often processed in black boxes, with DLT every transaction is visible to all participants. Every party in the network can check the transaction history, which creates a high level of trust.

Applications of DLT

DLT is used in a variety of industries:

Financial services: Banks use DLT to make cross-border transactions more efficient and secure.

Supply chain management: Companies use DLT to ensure the traceability of products and verify the authenticity of goods.

Healthcare: Patient data can be stored and shared in a secure and private way in DLT systems.

Energy: DLT enables more efficient and transparent management of energy flows and transactions.

Different types of DLT

This description kind of sounds like the blockchain, doesn't it? DLT is not just limited to the blockchain. There are different types of DLT, including permissioned ledgers, where access to the network is restricted to selected participants, and permissionless ledgers, which are accessible to everyone like public blockchains.

The main difference

Distributed ledger technology is an umbrella term for all technologies that represent the decentralised, distributed approach to transaction systems. While a blockchain is a specific form of DLT where transactions are arranged in blocks, other forms of DLT share the decentralised approach to data management.

All in all, DLT is a pioneering technology that is revolutionising the way data is stored and transaction-based systems are managed. They offer greater security, transparency and trustworthiness in a digital world. The difference between the two ultimately lies in the specific implementations and applications.

This article is for informational / promotional purposes only.

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