About the Journal

Focus and Scope

Ledger was launched in 2015 to address the growing need for a traditional academic journal dedicated to cryptocurrency research. Ledger aims to encourage greater involvement by academics in cryptocurrency and foster a culture of rigorous analysis and peer-review within the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology community. It also aims to spur the aggregation and filtering of important content generated across relevant communication channels. The journal strives to serve both the general public and the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology research community through the dissemination of high-quality and timely scholarly content. Ledger is published in an open-access format by the University of Pittsburgh.

Ledger publishes full-length articles describing original research in all areas related to cryptocurrencies and blockchains and their intersection with mathematics, computer science, engineering, law, social sciences, and economics. Manuscripts are selected on the basis of conceptual advancement, novelty, technical quality, and general interest to the journal’s audience. Submissions of articles related to all areas of cryptocurrency research are welcome, including (but not limited to) the following topics:

  • Development of new cryptocurrency computer algorithms/protocols
  • Analysis of existing cryptocurrency algorithms/protocols
  • New cryptographic methods for cryptocurrencies
  • Network analysis of transactions on public ledgers
  • Macroeconomic studies of cryptocurrencies
  • Computer hardware design of new components
  • Novel applications of cryptocurrencies 
  • Legal commentary on cryptocurrency uses
  • Finance and the effect of decentralized ledgers on markets
  • Analysis of proposed changes to the Bitcoin protocol or other cryptocurrency protocols

Ledger also publishes review articles (i.e. systematic surveys of a given topic and its relevant literature), perspective pieces, and formal correspondence. The journal does not charge author fees, though authors with institutional access to funds earmarked for open-source publication may be asked to contribute to the upkeep of the journal.

In an effort to foster transparency, a transcript of the peer-review process will be published alongside accepted articles. This transcript will include all the correspondence relevant to the processing of the manuscript by the journal, including referee reports, author responses and editor comments. 



Measuring a journal's relevance through metrics is more challenging for smaller, younger, and indepedent journals than for more well-established institutionally-supported ones. That said, the two major indices that Ledger is indexed by, Scopus and Clarivate (through ESCI), have just begun to formulate Ledger's metrics. While Clarivate's data is limited to a single year, and is not particularly reliable at this point, according to Scopus, Ledger has a CiteScore of 5.7 for 2022, the most recent year for which the data is complete. 

While 5.7 is still a modest score, we are pleased to see the positive trajectory the journal is on, and look forward to publishing more—and more impactful—research with each coming year.


Peer Review Process

At Ledger, we strive to have a quick, open, and transparent peer review process, as we feel these these things are a benefit to the academic community at large. To that end, our process involves the following features:

Published Peer Reviews

All reviews of published submissions are published alongside the articles they helped to shape. If a paper is rejected, the authors may publish the reviews at their discretion. In this way, reviews serve to lead public discussion, and thus reviewer attention—a precious resource—is conserved.

Waivered Single-Blind Process

While reviewers of submissions will by default be anonymized, reviewers may request to waive that anonymity in the name of transparency and public discussion.

No Confidential Reviewer Recommendations

Once a submission has been selected for peer review, no recommendations made by reviewers will be withheld from the author.

Cross-Reviewer Commentary

In the case of multiple-stage revisions, reviewers are sent all previous-round reviews, and are encouraged to comment where they deem appropriate.

Author Reviewer Recommendations

As part of the submission process, we accept an author's suggestions for potential reviewers who are likely to understand the author's work, and respect reasonable requests for reviewer exclusions.

Turnaround Times

We target a twelve-week turnaround time from the point of initial submission to the return of a submission with first-round reviews, though times may be shorter or, regrettably, longer. If a submission is not selected for peer review, that time will be considerably shorter. If finding a number of appropriate reviewers is a challenge—which is sometimes the case in a new field of study—the time may be longer. Editors will make efforts to keep potential authors appraised of their submission's progress, and authors are welcomed to send inquiries if they have questions during the process.


Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content. Our publisher, the University Library System at the University of Pittsburgh, abides by the Budapest Open Access Initiative definition of Open Access:

“By “open access” to [peer-reviewed research literature], we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.”

Researchers engage in discovery for the public good, yet because of cost barriers or use restrictions imposed by other publishers, research results are not available to the full community of potential users. It is our mission to support a greater global exchange of knowledge by making the research published in this journal open to the public and reusable under the terms of a Creative Commons CC-BY license.

Furthermore, we encourage authors to post their pre-publication manuscript in institutional repositories or on their Web sites prior to and during the submission process, and to post the Publisher’s final formatted PDF version after publication. These practices benefit authors with productive exchanges as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.


Other Policies

Digital signatures and blockchain time stamps

In an effort to promote the use of digital signatures and blockchain technology, the Corresponding Author is strongly encouraged to sign the file hash of the final version of their manuscript (here is a suitable tool for doing so).  This signature implies that each author has seen and approved the paper’s content, and is aware of the responsibilities connected with authorship.  Authors are encouraged to associate a Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, or Ethereum address (or PGP public key) with their identity.  The address for the Corresponding Author should be included on the first page of the manuscript.  Prior to publication, a member of the journal’s staff will verify the digital signatures, which will be published alongside the article.

Anonymous authorship

Under extenuating circumstances, the journal may permit authors to publish under a pseudonym.  Authors should include a statement describing why they wish to remain anonymous at the time of article submission.  Only manuscripts where quality can be judged exclusively from the content presented in the paper, and where the scope of any conflict of interest problems would be limited (should they exist), will be considered for anonymous authorship.   

Availability of published material and data

As a condition for publishing in Ledger, authors agree to make all material necessary to evaluate the findings of the paper freely available to readers (e.g., raw data, source code, etc.).  Authors are encouraged to upload relevant data to a public repository and provide appropriate links. 

Conflicts of interest

To better ensure academic integrity and the limitation of bias in the publication, Ledger has issued a policy on conflicts of interest which can be found by clicking here or by using the drop-down menu on the main page to navigate to About > Conflicts of Interest. We expect all potential authors to have read and complied with the statement.

Scientific integrity

The editorial staff at Ledger is committed to maintaining a high standard of integrity and rigor in its published content.  Suspected cases of scientific fraud, data fabrication, substantial copying of unreferenced text, or the misappropriation of another’s ideas will be investigated.  Pending the results of such investigations, the authors may be asked to retract their articles, or a retraction may be imposed upon them.

Refutations of articles published in Ledger (e.g., challenges to the accuracy of the content or of the validity of its interpretation) are suitable for publication as a Correspondence.  Authors of the original work will be given the opportunity to respond side-by-side. 

Citation and Originality

Ledger will only publish original work that has not been previously published.  Exception is given to self-published articles (e.g., those posted to pre-print servers), or articles that cohesively amalgamate work informally posted online by the author. 

In all cases, accurate and thorough citations of all non-original content must be included, and care must be taken to cite the original source whenever possible.  It is also important, given cryptocurrency’s roots as a largely informal online community, to seek out and identify any contributions from non-traditional sources such as web forums and IRC channels. 

Authors should refer to the Author Guidelines for examples of the citation format for each type of source material. 

Complaints, Allegations of Misconduct, and Publishing Ethics

At Ledger, we take seriously any complaints and allegations of misconduct, including but not limited to allegations of plagiarism, reviewer misconduct, and undisclosed conflicts of interest. If you suspect misconduct of any variety, please email ledger.editors@pitt.edu with the subject heading "Potential Misconduct" and a description of the incident in question. If the allegation involves a specific member of the Ledger team, we will ensure that the member in question is recused from any subsequent investigation. We believe that adherence to ethical standards is critical to the research process, and look to the Core Practices of the Committee On Publication Ethics (COPE) for guidance in the handling of ethical issues. 

Incomplete, Abandoned, and Duplicate Submissions

Submissions to the journal without both article text and cover letter will be considered incomplete. Editors will generally reach out to advise submission authors that this is the case (as this is usually accidental), though the burden is on the author to ensure that their submission is complete as per the journal's Author Guidelines. Incomplete submissions showing no activity for three months may be archived or deleted at the discretion of the Editors.

When requesting revisions from authors on work that has been through at least one round of peer review, Editors will typically reach out after a period of time to determine if a resubmission is still being planned. That said, should a period of 12-18 months pass without any communication from the authors, work awaiting revisions may in some cases be archived. Should this take place, authors should mention in a new submission that their work is a resubmission of a piece that was previously reviewed.

Duplicate submissions may be deleted per the best discretion of the Editors.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are articles published in Ledger indexed?

Yes. Articles published in Ledger are indexed by Clarivate Analytics' Web of Science index via the Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), and Google Scholar.

Will Ledger publish work that has been previously published as conference proceedings?  What about pre-print servers (e.g., arXiv)?

The journal will consider for publication papers that have been self-published or uploaded to pre-print servers (e.g., arXiv, SSRN, or Crypto ePrint), and articles that represent the amalgamation of work previously posted on cryptocurrency web forums, IRC channels or blogs.  Expanded versions of papers originally published as conference proceedings will be considered, provided 30% of the content is original. 

Does the Journal permit anonymous authorship?

Under extenuating circumstances, the journal may permit authors to publish under a pseudonym.  Authors should include a statement describing why they wish to remain anonymous at the time of article submission.  Only manuscripts where quality can be judged exclusively from the content presented in the paper, and where the scope of any conflict of interest problems would be limited (should they exist), will be considered for anonymous authorship.  

Does the Journal have a quota on the maximum number of papers that will be publish per issue?

Ledger will work to ensure publication of all manuscripts that meet the quality criteria for the journal and represent a novel and meaningul advancement to the field of cryptocurrency and blockchain research.  However, as staff resources are limited, the processing of manuscripts may be postponed during periods of high submission volumes.  

What systems have been put in place to help maintain objectivity for the editorial staff?

Ledger publishes a peer-review transcipt that includes all the correspondence relevant to the processing of the manuscript, including referee reports, author responses and editor comments.

What is the Journal’s policy on citations to non-traditional sources (e.g., forum posts)?

Accurate and thorough citations of all non-original content must be included.  Given Bitcoin’s roots as a largely informal online community, it is important for authors to seek out and identify any contributions from non-traditional sources such as web forums and IRC channels and attribute them accordingly.  

What is the Journal's view on the problem of "advertisements masquerading as white papers" in the cryptocurrency field?

The Journal's management recognizes this as an obstable to the pursuit of knowledge in cryptocurrency.  It is this problem that the peer-review process, and its ability to extract the genuine inquiry, is intended to solve.  The output of the Journal should be high-quality crytpocurrency reseach that is generally accepted as accurate and important by experts in the field. 

How long does the peer-review process take?

Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are a rapidly evolving fields.  Ledger aims to faciliate the timely dissemmination of high-quality peer-reviewed research to the Bitcoin community.  The editorial staff is committed to ensuring reviews are conducted in an efficient and timely manner.  

Ledger aims to have the first round of reviews complete a returned to the author within ten weeks.  Papers that require only trivial changes could then move from submission to acceptance within a ten-week period.  In most cases, more extensive revisions and additional rounds of peer review will be required. The target review time for each round is ten weeks.  

Is there a limit to the number of rounds of peer review?

No.  However, the editorial staff reserve the right to reject a manuscript if an overly-lengthly review process is anticipated (e.g., during times of high submisison volume). 

Does the Journal publish research on "alt-coins"?

Ledger publishes orginal research that represents an advancement of knowledge in the field of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology research. In that sense we are "platform agnostic," which is to say that the research we publish can be about any blockchain or related technology, regardless of which (if any) "coin" is involved.

Who controls the key or keys to Ledger's donation address?

Ledger's donations address is a 2-of-3 multisig wallet with one private key held by each of the two Managing Editors and one key held by an Editor.  

Where can I find the author's digital signature?

The author's digital signature of the PDF manuscript (if available) can be found below the link to the article PDF after clicking on the article:

The signature can be verified using the SimpleSign tool

What is the format used for a Ledger digital signature and do I have to use the SimpleSign tool?

It corresponds to a Bitcoin-signed message of the PDF's hash.  For example, the SHA256 hash of the Bitcoin white paper is b1674191a88ec5cdd733e4240a81803105dc412d6c6708d53ab94fc248f4f553.  To sign this document, the author would produce a Bitcoin-signed message of this HEX-encoded text string.  This can be done automatically using the SimpleSign tool, or by signing this text string in one's wallet. 

Authors have also signed using the Ethereum-based OpenSign app.

Can I audit Ledger's SimpleSign tool for digitally signing PDF files?

Yes, it is available at github.com/LedgerJournal/SimpleSign.

Sources of Support

Ledger is deeply grateful to all its past and present sources of support. More information can be found at our Sponsorship and Support page.