What is Block Explorer

02/02/2022

Block Explorer is a website or a software that lets you view blocks, view wallet addresses, network hash rate, transaction data, and other key information on the blockchain. The information we’re referring to here is all cryptocurrency transactions on the Internet. It provides the user with hash rate information. It also displays the growth rate of transactions and provides other useful information.

If you are new to the crypto industry, then you might have already heard the term "Block Explorer". Initially, Block Explorer and its data may seem confusing, but once you master it, you will understand how effective it is in the cryptocurrency ecosystem

Exploring Blockchain with a Block Explorer

What is Blockchain? It is a technology that is a perpetually-growing set of blocks that store transaction information.

Almost all cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and many other altcoins use the blockchain to conduct transactions.

The blockchain is an immutable, distributed, decentralized and secured digital ledger. Since this digital information is available to anyone on the Internet, it becomes transparent and immutable. Everyone can check the balance of any public address, and view any transaction details on the blockchain. But using what? Through a Block Explorer.

But mind you, the Block Explorer is just a search tool. Kind of like a web browser to explore and search for information on the Internet. Block Explorer allows you to view blockchain data. So, these are the search engines created specifically to search for blockchain blocks.

Each cryptocurrency has its own blockchain and consequently will also have its own Block Explorer. For instance, you must use the Block Explorer that supports Bitcoin (such as the blockcypher, blockstream etc.) to view its blocks. In addition, you can explore Ethereum using etherscan, and for Litecoin may use the blockchain or . blockcypher.

Using a Block Explorer

The first thing on the home page is a list of the most recent blocks and transactions.

Digging at block level

The block and transaction feed displayed on the homepage will be the same for all flavors of Block Explorer. However, depending on the service, the information displayed will be limited. If you want to know more detailed information, you need to study a specific block. You can either click the block link or enter the block height number directly into the search box in Block Explorer.

This page now displays information about the specific block you are watching. When you explore a particular block, it displays a summary of the block and its transactions. The summary contains the following information:

  • Number of transactions per block
  • Estimated transaction volume
  • Commission size
  • Total coins that participated in block transactions
  • Block reward, weight, size, version
  • Who solved the block?
  • When the block was unraveled
  • Nonce, Merkle Root
  • Hashrate of the current block
  • Previous block hash and next block hash

Following the summary, you will find information about each individual transaction that took place in that particular block. This section displays the bitcoin addresses and transaction IDs of each individual transaction. By examining this information, you can easily understand how many Bitcoins were sent, to which address they were received, and where they were sent from.

The data displayed in Block Explorer is fully interactive. For example, from a list of transactions of a particular block, you can click on the identifier of a particular transaction and view more detailed information about it. The identifier will display the block height in which the transaction occurred, the total number of confirmations, and a few other additional data. From there you can click on the wallet address, dig deeper and check its transaction history and balance.

Get Network status

If you are a Bitcoin miner, then this information will be useful to you, and you will begin to use it constantly. Not all Block Explorer displays it, but some, such as etherscan, provide more detailed information about the current network.


Popular Block Explorers

Etherscan

The Etherscan service is a browser for the Ethereum blockchain and ERC-20 or ERC-721 tokens. The service indexes and simplifies, and then presents information about the ETH blockchain on the Etherscan website in an accessible, transparent form.

The main purpose of the site is to support the ability to search for every single transaction in the Ethereum blockchain. Etherscan is not a trading platform or brokerage company, nor does it provide wallet services and does not store users' private keys.

You can access it through weblink https://etherscan.io/ . At the top left there is a search bar, information about the sponsors of the project and basic data on the state of the base cryptocurrency. By specifying the etherscan address wallet in the search, or other data, for example, a transaction hash or block number, you can get the corresponding information. In addition, you can look at:

  • The cost and capitalization of the Ethereum cryptocurrency.
  • Transaction volume.
  • The difficulty of mining.
  • Network hashrate.
  • Gas price (gwei).

The bottom left column is the data about the last generated blocks, and the right one is the translations performed.

At the top right there are buttons for switching to tabs:

  • Blockchain - Contains detailed data on the Ethereum chain.
  • Tokens - contain information about tokens created on the basis of the parent blockchain.
  • Resources - contains statistics and an explorer for decentralized applications powered by Ethereum.
  • More - additional features of the etherscan.io platform.

The bottom field contains a button to configure the site, as well as information about the company, community and other products of this development team.

Blockchair

Blockchair is a block explorer for major cryptocurrencies, focusing on visitor privacy and providing the most detailed information about transactions.

The service supports several popular cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin SV, and Dogecoin etc. For all currencies, Blockchair has an equally convenient colorful interface where you can view transaction details and print a PDF receipt for it, as well as find out your account balance, block information, and much more. In addition to the function of searching for transactions and blocks, the browser provides analytical tools for working with data, such as sorting and setting filters, and full-text search on blockchains:

Blockchair allows downloads of historical datasets that are updated regularly and provides APIs for developers and analysts. The API enables application developers to display information about balances, transactions and blocks. Blockchair API users include developers of wallets, crypto-exchanges and instant messengers. The browser is completely anonymous: Blockchair does not collect user data, does not keep logs and does not use web analytics.

Blockcypher

Blockcypher block explorer is a transaction tracking platform that works with Bitcoin, in addition with other cryptocurrencies. Its official website is https://live.blockcypher.com .

Once you select a currency on its homepage, it loads information about its latest blocks and transactions. Also, you will find the "Current Fee Estimates" section, which indicates the approximate size of the commission for an operation.

On the upper right corner, you will see a search bar. Entering the address of the block / transaction code into it and click on the magnifying glass icon displays information about the transfer:

  • Transaction ID;
  • its size;
  • commission;
  • status;
  • number of confirmations;
  • addresses of inputs and outputs.

Blockstream

The Blockstream.info Block Explorer is quite simple and straightforward displaying the blocks and transactions of the blockchain, right on the homepage. In the search box, one can browse the blockchain specifically by block height, hash, transaction and/or address. Within a block, the transactions are listed and with a click on details, one gets additional information about the transaction. Especially for beginners, it becomes easier to get familiar with blockchain technology and to take a look under the hood of any blockchain.

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