What are block explorers?

Block explorers allow users to view and track transactions on a blockchain network. They are search engines that provide a user-friendly interface to access detailed information about blocks including relevant addresses, time, and more on a blockchain.

The tool is tailored to specific cryptocurrencies, meaning users must select the appropriate explorer based on the digital currency they are interested in.

What is a block explorer? 

Block explorers provide detailed information about individual blocks on a blockchain. Such information includes:

  • Network statistics: Total number of transactions, average or median transaction fee, the cryptocurrency's current price
  • Block details: Block height, hash, timestamp of the block, block status (finalized or not), miner or mining pool that mined the block, number of transactions in the block, block reward, difficulty at the time of mining, block size.
  • Transaction details: Latest transactions, transaction IDs, sender and receiver addresses, amount transferred, timestamp of the transaction, transaction fee.
  • Historical data: Past block and transaction data, prior address activity.

Each blockchain network has its own block explorer. For instance, Ethereum transactions would require an Ethereum-focused block explorer like Etherscan. This specialization is crucial for accuracy and relevance, as each blockchain has its unique features and data structure. 

Why use block explorers?

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When a transaction is made, it can be tracked in real-time on a block explorer as it gains confirmations. This provides users with a reliable means to monitor the progress of their transactions.

Block explorers also let people analyze blockchain activity for suspicious behavior. Users may want to know if a transaction has been successfully processed on-chain, or perhaps seek to monitor fund movement between addresses.

Block explorers can also offer pertinent information on historical or otherwise notable blocks. For instance, on the fourth bitcoin halving, users were interested in the Block 840,000, which ushered in the fifth bitcoin mining epoch. 


Disclaimer: This article was produced with the assistance of OpenAI’s ChatGPT 3.5/4 and reviewed and edited by our editorial team.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

MK Manoylov has been a reporter for The Block since 2020 — joining just before bitcoin surpassed $20,000 for the first time. Since then, MK has written nearly 1,000 articles for the publication, covering any and all crypto news but with a penchant toward NFT, metaverse, web3 gaming, funding, crime, hack and crypto ecosystem stories. MK holds a graduate degree from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program (SHERP) and has also covered health topics for WebMD and Insider. You can follow MK on X @MManoylov and on LinkedIn.