Bitcoin (or more generally, blockchain) is a Distributed Public Ledger and as we know:

The Journal is a book where all the transactions are recorded immediately when they take place which is then classified and transferred into concerned account known as Ledger.

Source: keydifferences.com

This means that it's a "Ledger" that keeps classified and cleared transactions instead of a "Journal".

We know Bitcoin stores all transactions (UTXO - Unspent Transactions Output - is optional) so why do we call it Ledger instead of Journal?

Please add references to your answers!


1 Answer 1


You're right. The Bitcoin blockchain is not a ledger, but rather the network's transaction journal. It's actually the UTXO set that is the ledger of all Bitcoin balances.

(UTXO - Unspent Transactions Output - is optional)

If we take a step back and think about it, what are we more interested in? The compiled history of all payments, or the current state of the network's balances?

Obviously, the latter is more useful for anyone that wants to transact on the network. The UTXO set allows to check whether someone is able to pay, and upon update whether we were paid.

The blockchain is merely the means of converging on a common state of the UTXO set. We require the blockchain to compile the UTXO set, as the journal is used to derive the ledger. In fact, pruning full nodes throw away part of the blockchain after processing it, but they all keep the UTXO set. So, while it is conflating different aspects of the system, it seems to me that people speak about "Distributed Public Ledgers", because they care about the balances more than the transactions.


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