What is a blockchain explorer?

When you are looking at a blockchain, one of the most important things you need to do is explore the data. This is where a blockchain explorer comes in. Blockchain explorers allow you to view all the transactions and blocks on a particular blockchain. They also provide additional features, such as viewing addresses, mining/validation information, and smart contract data. The on-chain analysis takes this one step further by providing insights into how users are interacting with dapps and smart contracts.  

There are many different blockchain explorers available, but one of the most popular is Etherscan. Etherscan is a block explorer and analytics platform for Ethereum that provides detailed information on blocks, addresses, and transactions. It also has an API that developers can use to build apps that take advantage of its data.

The benefits of using a blockchain explorer are numerous. For one, it allows you to take a closer look at the data on a particular blockchain. This can be useful for understanding how a certain process works, or for tracking down a specific transaction. Additionally, it can be used to monitor activity on a particular address or smart contract.

Blockchain explorers also provide valuable insights into how users are interacting with dapps. By tracking the activity on user addresses and smart contracts, you can get a better understanding of which features are being used the most, and where there might be room for improvement.

If you're looking to get started with blockchain development, or if you're just curious about what's going on behind the scenes, a blockchain explorer is a valuable tool. It can help you understand how blockchains work, and it can also provide insights into how users are interacting with dapps.

How to use them?

We are going to use etherscan.io to show how they are used and explain their functionalities. Normally there is a searching box where you paste the address of the wallet/transaction/block/contract/token you want to explore.

Once you pasted the address, the scanner will display a lot of information qualified in different ways, showing an overview, and a history of transactions. You can also view the information in different standards, for example in the case of Ethereum you can check out the transactions, the internal transactions, classify by ERC-20 token transactions, classify by ERC-721 token transactions, analytics and comments.

Blockchain explorers are usually great tools for analyzing data. The on-chain analysis consists of exploring blocks and movements in the blockchain, and for that, the analysts use blockchain explorers. In the following image, we can see how etherscan shows block 0's information:

Also, block scanners usually provide analysis tools, for example, the gas tracker which is very useful for deciding when fees are cheaper or expensive.

For different blockchains, we have different explorers. click each blockchain to check out some of our favourites.

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