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What is Chainlink VRF

Blockchain technology, at its heart, is an open, distributed ledger widely used for recording transactions securely occurring between two parties. With blockchain incorporated into various industries, we can imagine a world in which transactions are represented in digital codes. Further, transactions are stored in a transparent and shared database. This new distributed mechanism protects the data stored from deletion, tampering, and revision.

Thus, having blockchain implemented, the world is set to experience a new era in which every financial institution will have a digital record of transactions maintained independently. This means no third-party intervention would be required. Everyone, including big companies, businesses, and individuals, will be able to transact easily and interact with each other with less hassle involved. This is the immense potential of blockchain.

For instance, blockchain got developed to support cryptocurrency. However, the gaining momentum of the technology found a wide range of applications across multiple industries. It is mainly because of the technology’s ability to provide unbiased, transparent verification.

By now, you must have understood that blockchain’s main purpose is to record transactions securely. But how to view that history of transactions is a matter of thought. For that purpose, blockchain explorers got introduced. These are like search engines in which one can search for important data related to a blockchain network, including transactions, its status, address, fees, and more. There’s so much more to learn about these explorers.

This article will help you take a deep dive into what blockchain explorers are, how they work, and so on.

What are blockchain explorers?

Blockchain explorer is an online tool that allows one to search for real-time information about a blockchain, such as data related to blocks, transactions, and addresses. Every blockchain explorer comprises information related to one particular blockchain only. This means by using a single explorer, you cannot access information for both Ethereum or Bitcoin blockchain network. You need separate Bitcoin block explorer and Ethereum block explorer.

When dealing with crypto or blockchain systems, block explorers are an important tool to use. For addresses, you can find information related to all the incoming and outgoing transactions the specific address has experienced. For transactions, details like the sender’s name, the receiver’s name, the total amount transferred and the fees paid for the transaction are displayed. In short, blockchain explorers are like a search engine used to check each address’s balance and see the details of each blockchain transaction.

History of blockchain explorers

The of blockchain technology brought blockchain explorers alongside. Back then, blockchain explorers mainly existed to resolve the difficulties involved while searching for blockchain transactions. Let’s suppose someone claims to send you crypto tokens, and you want to verify if it’s true or not. Or there might be a case that the transaction may have been stalled or rejected. This is where the need for a blockchain explorer took hold.

However, blockchain is a technology that stores and organizes data in a structured way, presenting it in an indexed and grouped format. Thus, having a tool that ensures better accessibility and readability of the complex information compiled on blockchain was necessary. Before blockchain explorer, the data stored on blockchain got explored through the command-line interface, which required professional programming expertise.

Blockchain explorer development goes back to the early days of cryptocurrency. The first ever blockchain explorer, known as “Block Explorer,” was created in 2010 when for the first time, Bitcoin was introduced. This emerged as a simple tool allowing users to view the details of transactions undergoing on the Bitcoin network. It became an ideal solution for users to see the movement of Bitcoin between addresses. Further, offered basic information about each transaction, such as the amount of Bitcoin transferred and the fees associated with the transaction.

As we know, the popularity of Bitcoin continued to grow, and so did the demand for blockchain explorers. More and more explorers were developed for a wide range of blockchain networks, including Ethereum and many others. Each explorer offers different features and capabilities. Some added advanced features, such as the ability to view the code of a smart contract and interact with it. While others focused on providing user-friendly interfaces and easy-to-use search tools.

The increasing demand for these explorers has encouraged them to evolve and improve, helping users to better understand and interact with the data stored on blockchain networks. Long story short, the history of blockchain explorers is closely tied to the growth of the blockchain industry and the evolution of blockchain networks. These tools will continue to play an important role in facilitating blockchain exploration in the coming years.

How do blockchain explorers work?

By now, we understand blockchain explorers are like an encyclopedia of blockchain that comprises all the details of transactions and blocks on the blockchain. But how exactly do blockchain explorers work?

Generally, these explorers operate by connecting to the full node of a particular network. As a result, they can download and store a copy of the entire blockchain. Once this happens, explorers can be used to search for and display information about specific transactions and blocks. For example, a user can enter the address of a particular wallet into the search field of a blockchain explorer, and the explorer will display all of the transactions associated with that wallet.

More specifically, each node is responsible for gathering details of the latest transactions and mined blocks. This gathered information is then sent to the database, where it is arranged in searchable tables. To allow the reading of responses by the user, explorer uses a relational database like SQL database and an API.

Relational databases: Such a database makes the management of data simple. All the data components are stored in a table in a manner so each one is related to the other.

Structured Query language (SQL): This is a protocol for submitting a query or searching a database. The protocol can, for example, create a database table, insert new records, search the term and present the final result on a web page.

API: This protocol enables users to communicate with machines via software. They specify the criteria, format, and interaction for sending and receiving the responses by the user.

Components of blockchain explorer

Blockchain explorer is a valuable tool providing a user-friendly interface for the users of a blockchain. The front and bottom interface of the explorer may include a daily number of transactions, transaction volume, estimated hash rate, and latest blocks.

There are several key components of the blockchain explorer. Let’s have a look at them.

1. Search bar: Users can easily search for specific information on the blockchain using the search bar.

2. Transaction details: The explorer will typically include detailed information related to the transactions, such as the amount of token transferred, the sender and recipient address, and the date and time of the transaction.

3. Block details: Users can also access information related to blocks, such as the date and time a block was added, block height and the number of transactions included in the block.

4. Address details: Blockchain explorers also provide information about addresses, such as the balance of an address and the number of transactions associated with the particular address.

5. Network information: Users can also access detailed information about the network, such as the overall state of the network, difficulty level, and the total number of transactions processed from the network.

6. Hash rate information: Blockchain explorers can also visualize the predicted computing resources implemented by miners for blockchains. Generally, a blockchain’s estimated hash rate corresponds to its level of security.

7. Mempool size: Mempool size basically provides the volume of activity taking place on the blockchain network. Blockchain explorer showcasing mempool size help in tracking the aggregate size of transactions and the specific blocks waiting for their inclusion.

8. Transaction volume: The transaction volume reflects the value of outputs confirmed on the blockchain over the past 24 hours. Total transaction volume also includes unspent outputs reverted back to the ‘spending’ wallet.

9. Price: In the explorer portal, the price section provides an aggregated USD price feed across markets. Generally, prices are determined by the feed’s provider without any reference to spot prices.

In addition to these core components, there are some explorers having additional features that are beneficial for users. They may include a chart showing the total number of transactions on the network over time.

Uses of blockchain explorer

All the potential of blockchain explorers makes them ideal for undertaking different actions. The following are a few examples of how you can use these explorers.

  • They can help to navigate the whole transaction history of a specific wallet address.
  • Using block explorers, transaction fees, blockchain difficulty, and hash rate can also be viewed.
  • Users searching for the transaction receiving address and the change address can easily get hold of the information from blockchain explorers.
  • These explorers are also useful for identifying stale blocks with verified parent sources and the largest transaction that occurred in a day.
  • Blockchain explorers can also be used to navigate through the details of unconfirmed transactions and orphaned blocks.

While some blockchain explorers are useful for viewing detailed information about the blockchain transaction, other explorers are helping in keeping track of the technical metric of the blockchains, such as block speeds, network congestion and memory pool.

Here’s a list of several popular blockchain explorers having their own features and capabilities.

1. Blockchain.com: This is one of the most well-known and widely used explorers. Using Blockchain.com explorer, users can navigate blockchain, monitor transactions, check blocks, look into the mining difficulty, and continuously update fee graphs. This explorer is the most trusted explorer and supports cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum.

2. Etherscan: Etherscan is the explorer especially developed for providing information on Ethereum transactions. Users can find all the transactions on the Ethereum network for a particular address and view all the interactions with smart contracts. The platform can also be utilized to track whole movements and stolen funds, check Ethereum gas prices, find pending transactions and more.

3. Solscan: Solscan is a popular blockchain explorer that allows users to search for transaction data on the Solana blockchain. The platform provides users with a simple and intuitive interface for detailed transaction information, including transaction fees and timestamps. Solscan also provides real-time transaction visualization represented in the form of graphs.

4. BlockCypher: It is an open-source explorer allowing users to access real-time information on transactions, blocks, and Bitcoin addresses. The explorer has a user-friendly interface and provides easy-to-navigate options. Besides providing information related to blockchain transactions, it offers some additional features. These include confirmation predictions, fee suggestions and Bitcoin public address information for cold wallet addresses. It is well-known for supporting Litcoin, Dash, Dogecoin, and Grin as cryptocurrencies.

5. Blocktrail: It is a blockchain explorer that provides information related to transactions, addresses and blocks on the Bitcoin blockchain. With its easy-to-use interface, the platform allows users to track multiple addresses and transactions at once. It uses advanced encryption techniques to protect data, providing high-level security.

6. Blockchair: This explorer is a multi-blockchain tool that allows users to search and view data on multiple blockchains, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and more.

7. EVM blockchain explorer: An EVM blockchain explorer is a tool used to view and track the activity on the Ethereum Virtual Machine blockchain. EVM is Ethereum’s runtime environment for smart contracts. The platform is used to access information related to smart contracts, such as the contract’s code, current state, and the status of a particular contract. They are also used to search for the details of specific transactions on the network and track the movement of a particular asset.

Why use blockchain explorers?

Nowadays, blockchain explorers are widely used for a better understanding of blockchain. This is because they are one of the most useful tools of modern times, promising several benefits.

Let’s look at the benefits of using blockchain explorer:

  • Blockchain explorers provide transparency and accountability on the blockchain. The platform makes all the transaction data publicly accessible. Thus, anyone can view or verify the data, ensuring the blockchain remains transparent and secure.
  • Using blockchain explorers, users can also easily get hold of the inner working of the blockchain. The explorer helps users better understand how the blockchain operates and how to interpret the data stored on it.
  • Blockchain explorers can also be used to check the legitimacy of the wallet address while transferring cryptocurrencies.
  • These explorers act as proof to the public that two parties are engaged in processing transactions. Plus, they let the user verify and check their wallet balance anytime.
  • However, the explorers also assist in determining any issues that occurred during the verification process.

How to read a crypto transaction on a block explorer?

Viewing transactions on block explorer does not require complex steps. One can easily read transactions by visiting the website of blockchain explorer. Here we have discussed what is involved during the process of reading the transactions.

Transaction hash id

They are technically the identifier of the specific transaction. Transaction hash is used when someone wants to look up the details of blockchain transactions. You only have to enter this string of code into a block explorer to view the details.

Sender’s address

The sender address belongs to the users who have initiated the transaction. This comprises information like which cryptocurrency has been used, senders’ information, and the total amount of funds being transferred.

Receiver’s address

The receiver’s address is the intended destination of the transactions. Users can see how much money each address is receiving.

Transaction fees

Making transactions using crypto networks involves a certain amount of fee. In this section, users can view the fees incurred for a transaction.

How to view transaction status and transaction history on a blockchain explorer?

Even though all blockchain networks support a command line interface, users can interact with the network and know its history. But they may provide information in a complex way. Blockchain explorers thus help translate this complex information into easy-to-understand information.

In order to check transactions on the explorer, one needs to follow some steps. To begin, users must visit the blockchain explorer website they are using. Below are all the steps required to check the transaction status. These include:

  1. Enter your transaction hash into the search bar placed at the top of your blockchain explorer page.
  2. The transaction page appears on the screen. The top of the page displays a summary of the transaction, the left column indicates the cryptocurrency used for the transaction, and th right column shows the receiver’s address.
  3. Further, the transaction details section can be viewed by scrolling below the summary page. The sections include important information such as transaction status and the receiving time of the transaction.

Common crypto transaction status

While checking on the status of the transaction, users may find four options.

Pending: This means the network has received the fund and is under process.

Confirmed: This means the transactions passed all the miner confirmations, and the network has successfully processed the transaction.

Complete: This means the transaction is successfully accepted. Once complete, the transactions become irreversible.

Failed: This means that the transaction encountered an error. The reason for this error may vary.

Blockchains keep records of every transaction, like receipts or bills received after paying at the general store or malls. In case you want to pull your transaction history, use blockchain explorer. For that matter, you need to follow three simple steps:

  1. Visit the main page of the blockchain explorer.
  2. Enter your public wallet address into the search bar.
  3. The transaction page with information related to every transaction on the wallet appears.

Conclusion

Besides providing basic information about transactions and addresses, blockchain explorers are also used to view details of a particular block on the blockchain. These details may include block height, the timestamp when it was mined, and the list of transactions within the block. Thus, tracking the progress of blockchain and ensuring that new blocks are added to the chain on time has become easier than ever before.

Furthermore, some other block explorers offer advanced features, such as the ability to view the code of a smart contract and interact with it. This benefits developer working on building applications on top of a particular blockchain. Overall, blockchain explorers are powerful tools that can be used by anyone interested in accessing the data on a given blockchain. So, whether you are a crypto enthusiast, an investor, or a developer, using a blockchain explorer can provide valuable insights and information for blockchain transactions, addresses, and blocks.

Are you planning to launch a custom blockchain explorer for your blockchain? Leewayhertz offers read-to-deploy Whitelabel Blockchain Explorer that provides real-time data about the network and transaction.

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What is Chainlink VRF

Author’s Bio

 

Akash Takyar

Akash Takyar
CEO LeewayHertz
Akash Takyar is the founder and CEO at LeewayHertz. The experience of building over 100+ platforms for startups and enterprises allows Akash to rapidly architect and design solutions that are scalable and beautiful.
Akash's ability to build enterprise-grade technology solutions has attracted over 30 Fortune 500 companies, including Siemens, 3M, P&G and Hershey’s.
Akash is an early adopter of new technology, a passionate technology enthusiast, and an investor in AI and IoT startups.

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