Distributed ledger technology (DLT) appears to be one of the most promising technologies in the field of supply chain management (SCM). However, as the technology is still evolving, only limited empirical evidence has been analyzed, managers and scientific scholars alike seek to understand how DLT can help improving SCM. This study aims to shed light into the current DLT applications in SCM to identify the foundation of the technology for SCM and uncover what DLT brings to the table. It develops seven foundational characteristics of DLT in SCM that describe both the nature of DLT and its characteristics for SCM. The study reveals that DLTs are interorganizational information systems that are diverse in their realizations and enable modular platform ecosystems. Nowadays application in SCM build on steady data availability, selective transparency, high authenticity and a source of mutual trust.