A block explorer is simply a blockchain search engine that allows you to access specific information in the blockchain. The data could be about the transacted amount, sources, destination or status of the transaction.
In a nutshell, block explorers are the google of cryptocurrencies. They are useful in virtually accessing the information on the blockchain, transactions, wallets, the current network hash rate, the activity on blockchain addresses and other helpful information.
How does a block explorer work
To understand a block explorer, you need first to understand what a blockchain is. The activities that a crypto blockchain carries out are known as transactions, and they occur when users transfer cryptocurrencies to or from wallet addresses.
Every piece of this information is on record on a digital ledger known as a blockchain, stored in blocks. Blocks are a group of transactions that were processed and verified by a third party which can be an individual or a group known as bitcoin miners.
A block explorer is a software that uses a blockchain node and API to access various information from a blockchain. It then uses a database to arrange the searched data to present it to the user in a searchable format.
The block explorer uses the user’s searching words to search in an organized table in the database. The explorer will already have organized the information on the blockchain into a table format.
In simple terms, block explorers are like windows observing what is happening in the blockchain world and also allows you to view the activities when you search.
Who can use a block explorer?
These are people who often buy and sell cryptocurrencies, and they use block explorers to check on the status of their transactions. When users initiate a transaction, they receive a confirmation which is an automatically generated hash, and they use it to search the information of the payment to verify if it was successful.
Bitcoin miners are people who solve complex math problems concerning cryptocurrencies to earn bitcoins. They use a block explorer to confirm a blockchain activity by ensuring that every single transaction they make is legitimate, which means they will get a bitcoin reward.
Any crypto enthusiast can use a block explorer for tracking bitcoin activity in the market such as the number of bitcoins on circulation in the market, and the amount of energy one requires to mine a bitcoin.
On the block explorer, they can compare market data and blockchain transaction, which is typically the underlying factor or driver for market activity.
What does a block explorer allow you to do?
- It allows you to view or explore the history of transactions of any wallet address.
- It allows the user to verify any wallet address, thus increasing the transparency of a blockchain.
- It also helps you explore the largest transaction of the day.
- It allows you to confirm the receiving addresses or the change address. The change address is a tool that returns the crypto to the sender to prevent too much value from going into the transaction fees hence improving its transparency.
- It also lets you check unconfirmed transactions on the blockchain known as mempool status and their details.
- A block explorer allows you to check the bitcoin miner(s) who successfully mined a particular block.
- You can also view genesis blocks or the block that was first mined on a particular blockchain and by whom.
the bottom line
A block explorer enables you to view all kinds of data associated with a particular blockchain.