What exactly is Etherscan and how does it function?

Etherscan is a block explorer and analytics platform that allows you to access details on any Ethereum blockchain transactions that are pending or confirmed.

Etherscan is the most trusted tool for navigating through all the public data on the Ethereum blockchain and is sometimes called “Ethplorer.” This data includes transaction data, wallet addresses, smart contracts and much more. The application is self-contained and is neither sponsored nor administered by the Ethereum Foundation, which is a non-profit organization.

The team behind Etherscan includes seasoned developers and industry professionals, who developed the Etherscan app to make the Ethereum blockchain more accessible to everyday users.

Although Etherscan is a centralized platform, the app does make it easier for people to search through the Ethereum blockchain.

Is Etherscan a wallet?

Etherscan is not an Ethereum wallet, nor is it a wallet service provider. Users don’t receive an Etherscan wallet when they search the Ethereum blockchain on Etherscan.

Etherscan.io is an independent Ethereum-based block explorer. The Etherscan app keeps track of blockchain transactions on the Ethereum network. The app then displays the results like a search engine.

This allows users to find the details of transactions on the Ethereum blockchain, which may give someone peace of mind if their transferred funds have not yet appeared in their wallet.

While Etherscan can track the activity on an Ethereum wallet address, users will need to link the app to an existing crypto wallet to do so.

You may wonder — Is Etherscan free to use? Yes, Etherscan is completely free.

What is Etherscan used for?

Etherscan allows users to view the assets held on any public Ethereum wallet address. Using Etherscan, enter any Ethereum address into the search box to see the current balance and transaction history of the wallet under consideration. Etherscan will also display any gas fees and smart contracts involving that address.

Users can use Etherscan to:

  • Calculate Ethereum gas fees with the Etherscan gas tracker
  • Lookup and verify smart contracts
  • View the crypto assets held in or associated with a public wallet address
  • Observe live transactions taking place on the Ethereum blockchain
  • Lookup a single transaction made from any Ethereum wallet
  • Discover which smart contracts have a verified source code and security audit
  • Keep track of how many smart contracts a user has authorized with their wallet
  • Review and revoke access to a wallet for any decentralized applications (DApps)

Users can view any transaction of the Ethereum blockchain on Etherscan. These transactions include failed and pending transactions.

Etherscan can also keep track of the progress of an incoming transfer. One way to track a transaction using Etherscan is to look it up on Etherscan.io using its hash key. The hash provides users with an estimate of how long the transaction will take to confirm. The page refreshes once the transaction is complete.

Etherscan also works as an analytics platform. Anyone can use Etherscan to analyze on-chain metrics like changes to Ether (ETH) gas costs, as well as keep track of their portfolio and monitor their transaction history for suspicious activity.

Only information that is public on the Ethereum blockchain is displayed on Etherscan, so information like a user’s private keys can’t be viewed on the app. Etherscan doesn’t store any private keys and is not involved in any of the transactions shown. The app also cannot be used to solve a transaction failure.

Do users need an account to use Etherscan?

Users are not required to sign up for an account before using the Etherscan app. However, signing up for an Etherscan account does give users access to additional features. These features include the ability to track addresses and receive notifications whenever a transaction occurs. Developers may also sign up to gain free access to Etherscan’s blockchain explorer data and application programming interfaces (APIs).

Thus, users with accounts can add their addresses to the “watch list” on the block explorer to monitor or track their investments. Users can also set alerts so that they’re notified of every incoming transaction via email. Etherscan also provides API services for developers so that they can create decentralized applications.

Etherscan provides the following information for all incoming and outgoing transactions:

  • Transaction hash
  • Number of blocks within which the transaction was recorded and the time at which the transaction was confirmed
  • Sender and receiver addresses
  • Gas fee
  • Amount sent
  • Total transaction fee

How does Etherscan work?

To use Etherscan, simply enter any public Ethereum wallet address into the search field at the top of the Etherscan.io homepage. Doing so will allow users to view all the transactions associated with that address.

Viewing a transaction and wallet on Etherscan

Exploring a wallet address on Etherscan under the “Transactions” tab will show a list of all ETH transactions (Txns), or transactions that have used gas (Gwei) associated with that specific wallet.

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Type the wallet address on Etherscan’s homepage and click “Search” to be redirected to a page that displays all of that wallet’s information. The data will include its ETH balance and its value denominated in United States dollar, as well as an overview of the wallet’s transaction history.

How to use the Etherscan gas tracker?

“Gas” refers to the transaction fee associated with a transaction to be executed successfully on the Ethereum blockchain. Transaction costs on Ethereum are referred to as gas fees.

Ethereum’s network can get highly congested. When a considerable amount of traffic is running on Ethereum’s blockchain due to Ethereum’s auction-based model, the average gas price goes up as users compete against one another and bid to have their transactions included in the next block. Consequently, transactions are delayed and some transactions fail.

The road ahead

Etherscan is one of the leading tools for accessing reliable Ethereum blockchain data. Etherscan can review smart contract code, track gas prices and monitor the Ethereum blockchain in real time.

Finally, Etherscan is free and doesn’t require a user to register to access all of its features. Overall, it’s a great place to start for users who would like to learn the full range of functionalities of a blockchain, as well as their Ethereum wallet and what information they can garner from a blockchain explorer.

 

Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.

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