Exploring the Blockchain – A Beginner’s Guide to Using Block Explorers

A blockchain is a digital record that records transactions. This is primarily used to store transaction records for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Blocks, a database of records, are often praised for their transparency and immutability. What does this mean? You must first learn how to use a block examiner to analyze a transaction in the blockchain. 


First, what is a Block Explorer? 

An online cryptocurrency block explorer allows you to see all transactions that have occurred on any blockchain network. 

Block explorers are available for Bitcoin as well as for specific altcoins. While some block explorers are compatible with multiple networks, others can only be used for one blockchain. For example, a BTC block explorer would be only able to find information on the Bitcoin network such as when someone receives Bitcoin from another wallet. 

Block explorers can be used to locate any transaction and view the history of the chain in general. 


Every blockchain has its block explorer 

As each blockchain or cryptocurrency has its block explorer. You cannot track Ether transactions (ETH) with a Bitcoin block explorer. Many block explorer options are available for popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether. 

Here are the top blockchain explorers. Although many explorers can search for various types of cryptocurrency, some explorers can also be used to search multiple chains. 

Blockchain.com. It is a popular Bitcoin block explorer. It allows users to search the Bitcoin blockchain using transactions, addresses, and blocks. Blockchain.org is a popular tool for monitoring and recording Bitcoin transactions.  

blockchair.com: Block explorers usually only work on one blockchain. However, Blockchair can search multiple chains. This explorer can search on the Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Bitcoin blockchains. You can search for mining difficulty and Mempool size as well as nodes. 

Tokenview allows you to search on more than 120 blockchains. This explorer was launched in 2018. 

Etherscan is the most widely used blockchain explorer on the Ethereum network. It allows users to search for ETH addresses and wallet balances, transactions, and smart contracts. 

To find a block-explorer for a specific cryptocurrency, Google “block Explorer” and the crypto you are interested in, or check the “explorers” section on major websites like CoinMarketCap or CoinGecko for the desired crypto. 

However, there are both private and public blockchain explorers depending on the type of blockchain being used. Anyone can view and write to the ledger in public blockchains such as Ethereum or Bitcoin. Only certain entities are allowed to read and write on a permissioned or private blockchain. 

Other popular block explores:  




Optimism L2 


Why use a Block Explorer? 

Block explorer can do a lot of things, such as tracking information about recently mined blocks, transaction history, and network capacity. You can also find the first block on a specific blockchain or the “genesis block”. 

It is always easier to have a clear reason for using a block explorer. Let’s take a look at some simple examples of how you can use a block explorer. 


1. To track where your crypto is coming from, use a block explorer

Block explorers have yet to unlock the potential of the transaction history. Traditional payment services allow users to track only their transactions. A public blockchain allows users to track any wallet. 

Copy and paste any Bitcoin address you know into a search box on a block-explorer such as Blockchain.com to find out more. You will then be taken to a page that contains all information about the Bitcoin address. This includes the total number of transactions received and sent, and the total amount in dollars. 

You can request a log of all transactions associated with the BTC address. This will give you more information about each transaction including the transaction ID or hash and amount as well as the sender/recipient. To find out more about the address from which your crypto originated, click on the address of the sender.  


2. Keep track of the status of your transaction

Block explorers can be used to verify the status of completed and pending transactions. It also indicates the number of network confirmations. Confirmation indicates that the transaction was processed by the network. It is very unlikely that it will be reversed. 

To check the status of your transactions, type the transaction ID into the search field. You will see the number of transactions. 

Each cryptocurrency requires a different number of confirmations to complete a transaction. To complete a BTC transaction, Coinbase, a major U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, requires at least three confirmations, and at most 35 to complete an ETH transaction.  

3. Keep track of the average transaction fees for your crypto

BTC and ETH network fees can’t be capped and could become more expensive due to network congestion. Bitcoin transaction fees rose to $62.79 in 2021, when Bitcoin reached its highest point of $69,000. Transactions that have too high a transaction fee may be returned to the sender. 

To avoid these situations, you should always review crypto fee charts that are generated by major block explorers. Blockchain.com has information about the average Bitcoin transaction fees in USD. 

Check the Etherscan “Ethereum Gaz Tracker” page to find out how much you will need to pay to complete an ETH transaction. Gas refers to the transaction fee for Ethereum. Prices are denoted by Gwei, a unit of ETH equal to 0.000000001 ETH. 

Block explorers can be used for many other tasks. 

  • Review the history of every wallet address, including transactions sent to or from it. 
  • View the largest transaction sent within the last 24 hours. 
  • Find out who or what mining pool mined the block. 
  • Discover the genesis block or the first block to be mined on a given chain. 
  • Other information about a blockchain is available, such as hash rate and mining difficulty. 

Block explorers can also be used in more sophisticated ways, but they are mostly used by companies that create software to track criminal activity and predict cryptocurrency prices. 


The Takeaway 

Block explorers can be described as search engines for blockchains that allow users to access a variety of information about the blockchain. 

You can visit block explorer’s website to find the information you need. You can use the transaction hash ID from your exchange or wallet to search for pending transactions stored in the Mempool. 

Or, anyone curious about blockchain technology can use the block Explorer to “explore” blockchain in general. You can look at things such as the largest transactions, most recent mined blocks, and hash rate. 

Read More: Why You Should Care About Cryptocurrencies and Blockchains 



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