are an integral part of the blockchain
industry, providing an important tool for viewing historical and live information about cryptocurrency transactions and blocks.
This information includes:
- The transaction history of a specific address
- The number of confirmations a transaction has
- The current balance of an address.
Block explorers are commonly used by both beginner and experienced cryptocurrency users. For beginners, block explorers can provide a simple way to view and track their own transactions and understand how the blockchain works. More experienced users, on the other hand, can use them to monitor the health of a blockchain network and analyze market trends and notable wallet addresses
As it stands, there are dozens of different block explorers in operation, including multiple options for the same blockchain. In addition, there are multi-chain
block explorers that track multiple different blockchains on one platform.
Fortunately, most operate in a very similar manner — once you know how to use one, the others are usually intuitive.
Here, we dive into how you can use a block explorer to access interesting and potentially useful data about your blockchain(s) of choice. Most of the examples shown below are for BscScan.com, but the process is usually similar for other block explorers.
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As their name suggests, block explorers allow you to quickly examine the contents of blocks as they appear on a blockchain.
These allow you to search a blockchain much in the same way as searching a simple online database and provide a simple visual representation of block contents, transaction details, address activity, and more.
They are powerful tools that give you access to a range of real-time and historical data about a blockchain, including the current operating parameters — like block height
, congestion, and average transaction fees
, as well as a detailed range of insights about transactions.
Did you know
: Many block explorers also allow you to track ‘orphan blocks’ — learn more about them here
There are currently well over 50 different block explorers in operation, but some of the most popular currently include:
Many people use block explorers to keep track of their own on-chain
activity and better their understanding of how their favorite blockchains operate. But some use them to gather crucial insights and identify trends that can be used to manage risk, improve trading profitability, and spot opportunities early.
That said, not all block explorers are built equal. It’s important to try out several options to find the one(s) that offers the data and features you need.
Though there are dozens of block explorers in operation, most operate in a very similar (or even identical) manner — making it easy to hop from platform to platform.
Here, we provide a generic overview of how to make good use of a block explorer.
Search an Addresses’ Balance and Activity
Blockchain explorers are useful for quickly checking the balance and recent activity of specific addresses. They allow you to input an address and quickly pull up its current balance and holdings — including coins, fungible
tokens, and non-fungible tokens
Step 1: Paste the address into the primary search bar and press enter.
Step 2: This will load an overview of the address including its current balance, recent transactions and details of its token holdings.
Step 3: From here, you can click the wallet icon to view a detailed overview of the address’ token holdings or scroll down to see its recent transaction history.
This can be useful for keeping track of your token balances and identifying any airdrops
you may have received, while most block explorers allow you to export a .csv file for all your transactions — including the date, transacted token and value at the time of transaction. This can be extremely useful when filling in your tax return.
Besides checking the regular token balances an address has, you can also see which (if any) non-fungible tokens
(NFTs) an address is holding by simply scrolling through the ‘Token:’ drop-down menu. NFTs will usually be listed near the bottom.
Unfortunately, most block explorers will not show the artwork or other visual/audio/interactive data associated with an NFT. It’s best to use an NFT marketplace like OpenSea
or Rarible for this purpose.
Look up Blockchain Transactions
Blocks contain a list of transactions that have been confirmed on the blockchain. Block explorers allow you to easily check the contents of a block to find out which transactions it contains as well as who mined
) the block.
This can help those looking to identify participants in a specific transaction, check how much they paid for gas
, or in some cases, check why it took too long to confirm (or failed).
Looking up a specific transaction is just as simple as searching for an address.
Copy and paste the transaction hash
into the primary search bar of your chosen block explorer.
Step 2: Press "Enter" or click on the "Search" button.
: The specific transaction information should be displayed on the page, including the transaction hash, the block number, the timestamp
, the input and output address, the amount transferred, and the transaction fee.
Step 4: You can also view the transaction on the block it was mined by clicking on the block number. This will pull up a list of the other transactions included in the same block.
Step 5: Some explorers also have the option to see a visualization of the transaction which can make it easier to understand how it works.
View the Contents of a Block
Besides a list of transactions, most block explorers will also provide further details on the block parameters — such as its height, size, difficulty, and gas limit — should this information be of concern.
They will also usually provide a full overview of the contents of each block, including a list of the transactions it includes, its timestamp, child and parent blocks, average gas fee, and more. This can be used to see how competitive block space is/was at any given time.
Here’s how to view the contents of a block:
Step 1: Locate a block explorer website that supports the blockchain you wish to view.
Step 2: Search for the block number or block hash that you wish to view.
Step 3: The block explorer will display detailed information about the block, including the block number, the miner address, the block size, the number of transactions, and the timestamp of the block.
Step 4: It will also provide a list of the transactions the block contains. Each transaction will be represented by a transaction hash, which you can click on to find more detailed information about it — such as the participants (input and output addresses), transacted amount, transacted asset and fee paid.
You can also view other data in the block such as the difficulty level, the block reward
and the previous block hash (if available).
Check the Gas Price
Most smart contract blockchains see the price of gas fluctuate based on supply and demand. This can see the price of transacting on the blockchain vary considerably throughout the day.
Because of this, it can be in your best interest to double-check the price of gas before attempting to transact on your blockchain of choice. By holding off on your transaction(s) until the gas price falls, you can often save a considerable chunk of change in fees.
Fortunately, many block explorers will clearly state the current average or median price for gas on their homepage, and some will provide a detailed overview of the current gas market.
Here’s how to find a more detailed overview of the gas market of your selected chain.
Step 1: Head over to the block explorer and find the gas details section on the homepage.
Step 2: Click on this to open up a detailed overview of the current gas market. Depending on the explorer, this will usually detail how congested the network currently is, and express the gas requirements to ensure your transactions are confirmed quickly.
Check the Current Validator Set
(PoS) blockchains are secured by a validator set. This is the current rotation of validators that are eligible to be selected for block production.
Depending on the platform, validators may be rotated in and out of the set based on the size of their stake, community votes or other factors.
Some block explorers will provide an overview of the current validator set, allowing you to get an idea of the current minimum stake required to join the set, as well as the recent activity of existing validators.
Here’s how to find the current validator set on BscScan:
Step 1: Navigate to the BscScan homepage and find the Validators option in the header.
Step 2: Hover over "Validators" and select "Validators Leaderboard" from the drop-down menu. This will open a new page providing an overview of the current validators ranked by voting power, and provide details about their recent activity.
View Token Details
Most blockchains support a variety of different token types, and major layer-1
blockchains like Ethereum
, BNB Chain
now each have a well-developed and growing ecosystem of native tokens.
Block explorers allow you to access a wealth of information about a token by simply searching for its token contract. This can help you research a token before potentially investing in it, or even help you determine whether the token is genuine or not (see this post
for more on fake tokens).
Here’s how to view details about your token/s of choice:
Step 1: Find the token’s contract address for your chosen chain on its coin detail page here on CoinMarketCap.
Step 2: Paste this into the search bar of your chosen block explorer. In this case, we’ll search for the USDC contract address on BscScan.
Step 3: This will pull up a range of details about the token, including its name, recent token transfers, and details of the contract creator.
Step 4: For more information about the token, click the Token Tracker link. This will pull up further details about the token, such as the current number of holders, total supply, and list of official social profiles.
Find Trending Tokens
Block explorers track all of the transactions processed by one or more blockchains.
Using this data, they can also tease out a wide range of useful insights — such as determining which tokens are growing or declining in popularity, and identifying newly launched projects.
In most cases, it’ll arrange this information for you and make it easy to find.
Here’s how to check for trending tokens:
Step 1: Head over to your chosen block explorer and hover over the token section of the site using the top navigation bar.
Step 2: Here, you’ll see a list of options, allowing you to view the top fungible tokens or non-fungible tokens on your blockchain of choice.
Step 3: On the subsequent page, you’ll be provided a range of details about these trending tokens, allowing you to perform further research and due diligence.
Analyze Charts and Stats
Block explorers aggregate a huge amount of data about the operations of compatible blockchains and render this information easily accessible through a simple search and explorer system.
That said, for those unaccustomed to wading through data, they can seem congested and difficult to get to grips with.
Several block explorers help to tackle this challenge and improve their usability by providing a range of ready-made charts and statistics. These can help users better visualize the way blockchains operate and get an understanding of some of the key insights and trends this data contains.
Here’s how to view charts and stats for your chosen blockchain;
Step 1: Head over to your chosen block explorer and search the heading bar. This will usually contain an option such as "resources", "analytics", or "charts."
Step 2: Select the charts or statistics option as required. This will then pull up a further list of options, allowing you to refine the types of charts/data you are provided.
Step 3: From here, select the chart or data you wish to access. Bear in mind that the information generally refreshes once per day.
Charts cover various metrics such as daily transactions, unique addresses, active addresses and more, which can help tell user adoption, activity on the blockchain and more.
With that, here are the steps needed to start using a blockchain explorer. Happy exploring!
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