Blockchains serve as transparent ledgers for crypto transactions, built on intricate frameworks involving hashes, smart contract protocols, and other technical elements. Recognising that this can be complex, unique tools called blockchain explorers provide a user-friendly interface to view these transactions. These trackers champion the principles of transparency and decentralisation inherent to the crypto industry. Crypto users and enthusiasts use these tools to find crypto transfers, track the source of transactions and more advanced tools that tech-savvy will find helpful.
We will simplify how blockchain explorers work and how you can use them to find your crypto transfers.
- Blockchain explorers show information from different blockchains, including transactions, block details, wallet addresses, etc.
- Blockchain scanners use several API protocols to interact with blockchains to feed live data as they happen.
- These explorers help find transaction information using the transaction/hash ID and wallet addresses of the sender/receiver.
- Initiating a crypto transaction triggers a smart contract that registers the blockchain transaction waiting to be validated.
Understanding Blockchain Explorers
Websites and platforms known as blockchain explorers provide real-time insights into the blockchain, particularly focusing on cryptocurrency transactions, wallet addresses, and the status of transactions (whether confirmed or unconfirmed). Explorers utilise APIs and nodes from various blockchains and networks to deliver these live feeds of crypto transfers and blockchain network updates.
Users can check their crypto transfers using the wallet address or the transaction ID and check the transaction status, timestamp, and on which blockchain it was conducted.
Blockchain explorers can be used to find even more information that a conventional user may not look after, such as the number of produced blocks, smart contract cryptography, burnt tokens (if applicable), the gas limit for each transaction, and the overall health of a blockchain. Crypto traders also use the explorer terminal to track renowned wallets and speculate potential price movements and market trends. The explorer also shows the sender and receiver crypto wallet addresses and a record of previous transactions for any wallet.
Usually, such transaction trackers are associated with a specific blockchain. For example, the etherscan app shows transactions conducted on the Ethereum blockchain, while tronscan is the explorer for the TRON blockchain. However, some websites display explorers of multiple blockchains where users can find more transactions on different chains.
Functions of Blockchain Explorers
There are many reasons blockchain transaction checkers are useful, from enabling users to see wallet transactions to tracking timestamps and gas fees of each transfer.
Tracking fraud transactions with block explorers is also possible, eliminating the chances of engaging in illicit transactions or being a victim. Let’s overview some of the blockchain explorer’s top use cases.
Database All Transactions
Blockchain explorers display what the crypto transaction public ledger looks like, recording all transfers between crypto wallets on the associated blockchain. Users can also view any wallet address’s historical transactions and each crypto transfer’s value. Wallet addresses can be found in the search bar, showing balance and transaction history. However, wallet owner information is not shown, preserving identity privacy.
It is essential to note that explorers are associated with a specific blockchain unless they use a universal explorer website and show information and transactions conducted on that network.
Display Smart Contracts and Cryptography
Blockchain explorers show advanced information and details, such as blocks used to record the transactions and view other details recorded in the same block.
Users can also view miners and validators’ activity, who mine and validate crypto transactions, solve complex arithmetical equations using cryptography and receive rewards that motivate them to continue mining. Validator nodes also receive voting power, which can be displayed in the validators’ leadership, besides other information like first/last verified block, smart contract, last activity, and more.
Transactions are denoted as hashes and may carry different namings like Hash ID, TxHash, or TxID, which represent proof of payment and are used to track transaction status and details.
Transaction details on the explorer include information like sender/receiver wallet address, time of transaction, and the transfer amount. Users can also view the validating nodes contributing to verifying the transaction, the gas burnt and associated fees, and how many blocks the transfer contributes to.
How Do Transactions Work in Blockchain Explorers?
When any wallet address initiates a crypto money transfer to another wallet address, smart contracts are triggered to verify the transaction. The transaction record is created once the smart contracts are deployed, and the status switches to pending, waiting for the validating nodes to verify the transaction and add a block to the blockchain.
Typically, this information is broadcast on time to the explorer. However, some delays may happen depending on how busy is the blockchain network. Ethereum and Bitcoin are the most used blockchains and may frequently face network congestion, leading to validation delays and increased gas fees.
Other networks like TRON and Avalanche are less crowded than ETH and BTC networks and may process transactions faster. However, the majority prefer using established blockchains for security reasons.
Useful Terms in Blockchain Explorers
When you view the Blockchain Explorer, you will come across several terminologies that can be misunderstood, which we explain as follows.
- Block: A group of transactions that are verified and orderly chained on the blockchain.
- Block Height: The block ID or number in which the transaction was conducted.
- Size: The size of each transaction (denoted in Bytes) in the blockchain. The average transaction size ranges between 200 and 400 bytes, and the blockchain can fit around 1MB of transactions per block.
- Hash ID: Transaction identity used to look up transactions, also called transaction ID, TxHash, or TxID.
- Mempool: The Memory Pool is a group of unverified crypto transactions that still need to be added to the blockchain. Mempool includes pending transactions that miners still need to verify for several reasons.
- Orphaned Blocks: These are blocks with verified and confirmed transactions but are not added to the blockchain because their predecessor and successors have yet to be identified. These blocks stay unadded until their predecessor and successors are known, and their transactions return to the mempool.
- Stale Blocks: These are blocks with verified and confirmed transactions that have been minted as well, but they were not successfully added because a similar block ID was added in its place, and this stale block lost its place due to network latency.
- Genesis Block: The first block created on a given blockchain, also called Block 0, and other blocks are made and minted over it.
- Gas: Gas fees are transaction fees required to verify a crypto transaction. Gas fees are dynamic and change according to the network congestion of each blockchain, denominated in USD or the blockchain’s native currency.
- Validator: Validators are nodes or miners who verify that a transaction meets the given criteria and can be successfully added to the blockchain in exchange for voting rights or validation rewards (i.e. tokens).
Top Blockchain Explorers
Your transactions may be found in several explorers, depending on the blockchain you used to make the exchange. Whether it’s a blockchain-specific scanner or a generic one, blockchain scanners often provide the same data and capabilities. The best blockchain explorers are listed here.
TRON is one of the most commonly used blockchains, with TRX as its native crypto. Fast transaction processing is a significant advantage of this network, ranking it among the top 10 blockchains.
TRONSCAN is an interactive explorer of the TRON blockchain network, with lots of options and features to search, track, and interact with the TRON blockchain. Its advanced interface allows you to check real-time crypto and token transactions, smart contract cryptography details, block height, and more.
Developers, investors, and crypto enthusiasts use Tron Explorer to gain insights about the TRON network, overall blockchain health and other purposes.
Ethereum is the leading blockchain where most transactions occur, and many Web 3.0 and DeFi projects are developed. Therefore, Etherescan is widely used to track transactions and blockchain status and updates.
The Etherscan comprehensively displays transactions, wallet addresses, and gas fee details. Ethereum blockchain involves gas fees in its transactions to compensate validators, and Etherscan provides a detailed look at these gas fees, average prices, peak prices, and more.
This explorer is an essential tool for dApp developers and the crypto community to monitor the network activity regarding Web 3.0 creations, including decentralised applications, digital assets, token minting, and crypto transactions.
Blockchain.com is the leading blockchain scanner, primarily displaying transactions on Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains. Blockchain.com Explorer allows you to integrate your crypto wallet and trade different cryptos through digital money, bank account, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and more.
Besides viewing transaction history and wallet details like most explorers, blockchain.com lets you view staking campaigns that use BTC and track the activity of several DeFi projects.
This scanner uses several API integrations to power its information feed to the website promptly and provides a sophisticated webpage to learn more about crypto standards and terminologies.
BscScan is the explorer for the Binance Smart Chain, the ecosystem for Binance Coin, BNB. BscScan provides detailed information about the network status, blockchain transactions, and token and smart contract details.
It is also home to several dApps and decentralised projects because it charges less gas fees and faster transaction processing than the Ethereum blockchain.
It is worth mentioning that BNB used to operate on the Ethereum blockchain until 2019, when it switched to the Binance Smart Chain, boosting the token price and use cases.
Ripple Labs recently launched the XRPscan in August 2023, providing a distinguished interface from most explorers.
The Ripple Blockchain is superior to the Bitcoin blockchain because it processes transactions, charges lower fees, and consumes less energy. Also, the XRP network provides cross-chain functionality, which makes it highly functional in the centralised and decentralised world.
XRPscan provides a quick snap of the ongoing and historical transactions and their details, besides the ability to get an IBAN account and integrate it with your crypto wallet.
XRP blockchain explorer uses REST API, an advanced protocol that powers the platform to provide various solutions and functionalities.
Solana blockchain is one of the leading blockchains in NFT creation, minting, and sharing. Besides, several digital assets are created and shared using the SOL blockchain, powered by its advanced interoperability.
Using Solscan, you can find a history of transactions on the Solana blockchain, show wallet address details, find the NFT database, and more.
Solana blockchain hosts several DeFi projects, and using Solscan, you can find and track these projects’ activities and staking campaigns and find and participate in different DAOs and their voting rights distributions.
How To Find Your Transaction in a Blockchain Explorer
Locating your crypto transaction is straightforward, and you can find your transfer and its status in several ways.
You can use general explorers that broadcast transactions from multiple blockchains using the transaction hash ID or wallet address. You can also use a blockchain-specific explorer like Tronscan, Etherscan, XRP scan, etc.
Once you conduct a crypto transfer, you will see a Hash ID or a transaction ID that you can copy and paste into the explorer search bar and find the transaction and its status. Depending on the network congestion, the status may take seconds or minutes to change from pending to approved when it arrives in the recipient’s wallet.
You can also search using your wallet address by copying and pasting it into the search bar to track the activity of your wallet. You shall see a transaction record around the time you initiated the transaction, showing the status and amount transferred.
If you receive a payment, you can also look it up using your crypto wallet or transaction ID to learn more about the transfer and its status. However, the explorer will not reveal the identity of the wallet owner.
Blockchain explorers are online resources that provide real-time access to data from the blockchain, including trades, blocks, wallet addresses, smart contracts, cryptography, trading volume, network status, and more.
Crypto users examine this data to stay up-to-date on their transfers, follow their transactions, find and engage in various DeFi and staking initiatives, and so on, all of which are made possible by the platform’s powerful API architecture.
Which is the best blockchain explorer?
Blockchain.com is one of the best blockchain scanners because it combines multiple chains, primarily Bitcoin, the first crypto and blockchain introduced. It provides other tools besides looking up transactions, like education, DeFi, exchanges, and more.
How do I use Blockchain Explorer?
You can use a transaction Hash ID to locate and track the transaction, the transferred amount, and sender/receiver wallet addresses. Alternatively, you can find crypto transfers using a wallet address and find your transaction in history with the proper timestamp.
What is an example of a blockchain explorer?
EtherScan is a prime example of a blockchain explorer that operates on Ethereum, feeding information from the ETH blockchain about transactions, network status, gas fees, current TPS rate, etc.
Why use Blockchain Explorer?
Blockchain explorers are used to find and track crypto transactions and find relevant information like wallet addresses, trading volume, transaction time and amount. Blockchain explorers are also used to find other Web 3.0 activities like DAO, DeFi, staking campaigns, and educational courses.