Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) are frequently used interchangeably but are different technologies. Structure, data organisation, and consensus mechanisms distinguish these two conceptions. Each block in a blockchain comprises a set of transactions. Blockchain is a subtype of distributed ledger technology (DLT). These units are cryptographically connected, guaranteeing the data’s integrity and immutability. Blockchain typically uses a consensus mechanism called Proof of Work (PoW) or Proof of Stake (PoS) to validate and add new transactions. This decentralised approach eliminates the need for a central authority, allowing participants to conduct transactions without trust.
DLT is a broader term encompassing various technologies, including blockchain, for constructing decentralised and distributed databases. DLTs log transactions across numerous nodes, ensuring data consistency and duplication. However, not all DLTs organise data using a chain of blocks. Some DLTs, such as Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs), store and validate transactions using distinct data structures. In addition, DLTs can employ various consensus mechanisms, such as voting, federated consensus, or practical Byzantine fault tolerance, based on the requirements of their network. Although blockchain is a type of DLT, it is only one of many possible implementations of decentralised and distributed databases. Other DLTs may employ alternative data structures and consensus mechanisms to accomplish their objectives.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a new technology that makes it possible to handle data in a way that is secure, transparent, and not centralised. It is a digital ledger that organises data into a chain of blocks, each holding a set of events. The blocks are linked with cryptography, ensuring the data is correct and can’t be changed. This technology uses a network of computers, called nodes, that are not connected. Each server in the network has a copy of the blockchain. This makes sure that there is redundancy and that problems can be handled. The nodes agree on the validity of new transactions by using a consensus method like Proof of Work (PoW) or Proof of Stake (PoS). Once a block is added to the chain, it is almost impossible to change the information in it without the agreement of most of the network.
Blockchain eliminates the need for a central authority, so people can trade without believing each other. This decentralised method has several advantages, such as more protection, openness, and lower transaction costs. It can be used in many fields, including banking (with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin), healthcare, voting systems, and more. In short, a blockchain is a digital record that keeps track of data in a chain of cryptographically linked blocks. It is safe, open, and not controlled by one person or group. This technology lets people do business without having to trust each other, and it could change the way traditional data management systems work in many different fields.
What is Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)?
Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) is a new way to handle data that makes it easier to keep records decentralised, open, and safe. DLT allows multiple people to share and update a digital ledger without a single authority or middleman. This technology is meant to make different applications safer, more efficient, and more cost-effective. DLT is based on a network of computer nodes that store and verify events. Each node keeps a copy of the record so that data is duplicated and can be used even if something goes wrong. All nodes record transactions at the same time, which makes it hard for any one person to change the data. Consensus methods are used to get all nodes to agree on the validity of new transactions. This makes sure that the data is always correct and consistent.
Blockchain is a well-known example of DLT, but other implementations use different data structures and consensus methods—for instance, Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs) store events in a graph structure, making networks faster and easier to expand. DLT can also use different ways to reach a consensus, such as voting, federated consensus, or good Byzantine fault tolerance, depending on the network’s needs. In short, Distributed Ledger Technology is a decentralised and secure data management system that lets multiple parties share and change a digital ledger without relying on a central authority. It can be used in many ways because of its flexibility. It can be used in banking, supply chain, healthcare, voting systems, etc.
Difference Between Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology
Although they differ, blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) are two forms of decentralised digital ledgers. DLT comprises a wide range of technologies that generate decentralised and distributed databases; blockchain is one such technology that organises data in a chain of cryptographically linked blocks. Directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) are one example of an alternate data structure that DLTs can use, and voting and federated consensus are two examples of alternative consensus processes. Proof of Work (PoW) and Proof of Stake (PoS) are two examples of consensus processes used in blockchain to verify transactions. So, a blockchain is a form of DLT, but DLT refers to a broader class of decentralised data management systems. We’ve compared blockchain and distributed ledger technologies and explained the key differences below.
DLT has more flexibility for storing transactions than blockchain because it may employ different data structures like Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs).
Proof of work (PoW) and Proof of stake (PoS) are the two most common transaction validation methods used by blockchain. Voting, federated consensus, and even deployable Byzantine fault tolerance are examples of the many consensus methods used with DLT.
Blockchain technology is an example of distributed ledger technology (DLT), a larger term encompassing various distributed data management systems.
Some distributed ledger technologies, such as directed acyclic graphs (DAGs), outperform conventional blockchain implementations in scalability and transaction throughput.
Energy usage is high for blockchain infrastructure, especially Proof-of-Work-based implementations. Other DLTs’ consensus mechanisms may use less power.
While both solutions offer immutability, blockchain’s cryptographic linking of blocks makes it significantly more secure.
DLTs provide more leeway regarding data architecture and consensus methods, enabling individualised solutions to meet the needs of individual networks.
More people are familiar with and interested in blockchain technology because of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Several other DLTs are gaining pace and investigating potential use cases in various sectors.