How To Use Etherscan
How-to Guides

How To Use Etherscan

By Andrey Sergeenkov
2mo ago
5m

Etherscan is a blockchain explorer to look up transactions, wallet addresses, smarts contracts and more on the Ethereum blockchain.

How To Use Etherscan

Table of Contents

If you have been reading CoinMarketCap Alexandria’s Market Musings recently, you may have seen the story about the Poly Network hacker returning over $600 million worth of stolen funds. The whole saga played out in true crypto fashion, with the hacker embedding messages in transactions on Etherscan. The “white hat” hacker even claimed he was hacking to "save the project", despite pulling off the biggest DeFi heist to date.
As blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are gaining popularity every day, it becomes possible for anyone to keep tabs on particular networks and their overall activity with the right tools. Blockchain explorers are potent solutions to identify transactions, look up wallet addresses, and so forth. For the Ethereum network, Etherscan is such an explorer, although its functionality goes much further. 

What Is Etherscan?

The core functionality of Etherscan is the same as any other blockchain explorer. It is possible to look up transactions, wallet addresses, smart contracts on Ethereum, and so forth. One can access all of the functionality through the search bar or by navigating the menu options at the top. Thus, anything one wants to learn about the Ethereum network is at one's fingertips through Etherscan.

As blockchain technology facilitates transparency, users need a visual interface to query data. Blockchain explorers fit that role, as this "search engine" gives users access to all of the information they may need. Furthermore, its functionality has expanded over the years to include even more services and data. 

By indexing the Ethereum blockchain and making it searchable, anyone gets complete access to this blockchain ecosystem. 

Users can create an account on Etherscan, although it is not required to use most of its functionality. For developers, it can be useful to gain access to API services to build decentralized applications or act as data feeds. However, Etherscan is not a wallet service provider despite its support for user accounts. It is not possible to use one's existing wallet – MetaMask, Ledger, MyEtherwallet, Parity, or others – through Etherscan. However, one can input and verify their Ethereum address in their account, allowing them to track their transactions.

How Do I Find Transactions On Etherscan?

The easiest way to look up a transaction through Etherscan is by using the transaction ID. However, if you do not have it or don't know where to find it, entering one of the two wallet addresses involved in the transaction will work too. Once the transaction ID or address is entered into the search bar, Etherscan will depict the details, including transactions, balances and so forth.

The information provided regarding a wallet address is based on the ETH balance and its corresponding USD value. However, the platform also supports the numerous ERC-20 and ERC-721 tokens on the blockchain, found in the "Tokens" field. 

When looking up a wallet or transaction ID, users can see all of the details they need. For example, every transaction has the TxHash, the block number, when it took place, the sender and recipient, its value and the transaction fee. 

Looking Up Transactions on Etherscan

The most common way of looking up a transaction with Etherscan is through the transaction ID or TxHash. The Hash helps track and trace the status of a transaction on the Ethereum blockchain. Entering the TxHash into Etherscan shows various transaction details:

  • The TxReceipt status depicts if the transaction is completed, failed, or is still awaiting confirmation.
  • The block height is the network block identifier in which miners recorded the transaction
  • The transaction value, both in ETH and USD
  • The amount of gas required to broadcast the transaction, and its USD value
  • The number of the transaction sent from the sender's blockchain address.

All of this information aids in making the Ethereum blockchain more transparent and accessible to its users.

What Is The Gas Price Tracker?

The Ethereum network uses gas – paid in Ether – to complete transactions. It is Etheruem's transaction fee, although gas works a bit differently. There is no upper limit on transaction gas requirements, as network congestion can drive this number up rather quickly. Thus, a higher gas price equals a higher transaction cost. Moreover, transactions with lower gas prices can fail, as miners may not pick them up. 

By using Etherscan's gas tracker, users can determine if now is an opportune time to send transactions. Lower fees are beneficial to all users, yet they may not be feasible depending on the network activity at the time. Adjusting one's gas fee in MetaMask or other wallets through this gas tracker's estimates will help users complete transfers quicker. 

Finding Airdrops With Etherscan

An extra feature integrated into Etherscan lately is support for current airdrops on the Ethereum network. Although users will not be able to claim airdrop tokens from every campaign, it provides an overview of which ones are currently active. It is a handy feature for those who want to check eligibility for certain airdrops, although it does not seem to include future events.

Token Overview

Ethereum supports the ERC-20 and ERC-721 tokens standards. Through Etherscan, users can find the top tokens for each standard, their contracts, trading volume, price changes, market cap and the number of holders. Every token is clickable to look at it in more detail, to see transactions or other features.

The Verified Contracts Section

One intriguing feature on Etherscan is the Verified Contracts segment. It shows all smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain that have a verified source code. Not all smart contracts fall into this category, making it easier for users to determine if they should interact with a specific contract.

It is also possible to manually look up the contract address and determine if it has been verified. That process works the same way as looking up a wallet address, although users will see the name, compiler version, and whether a security audit has been performed. Security audits are crucial for smart contracts, although no guarantee for code that is 100% safe to interact with.

Is Etherscan Compatible With NFTs?

Non-fungible tokens are incredibly popular on the Ethereum blockchain. Users who buy these NFTs can see their assets on Etherscan, although it will only show as a token and not as the actual art that is associated with the token. 
Users will need to use other services, such as the OpenSea marketplace, to see the whole art, among other options. Etherscan has no functionality to depict the art, yet it will show the token ID, the project it belongs to, its transaction record, and the smart contract interaction.

Other Features on Etherscan

Apart from tracking transactions and gas price, there are many other features available on Etherscan. For instance, users can look at the charts and statistics to get an overview of the whole Ethereum market; data such as daily transactions, unique addresses, average block size and average gas price may provide valuable insights to Ethereum users. Also, users can dive into Dapps to look at the associated addresses and smart contracts. As Ethereum is moving towards a merge with Ethereum 2.0 and a proof-of-stake system, transactions on ETH2.0 can be tracked on the beacon chain explorer.
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