- June 10, 2020
- Posted by: Lara Tlass
- Category: Blog
An independently operated project, Etherscan is a valuable block explorer and an Ethereum analytics platform. While it might seem a bit technical for some users with all the numbers, codes and charts displayed on the homepage, it is simply a search engine for the ether transactions that have occurred on a blockchain.
Etherscan is designed to facilitate the Ethereum blockchain transparency and accessibility along with the tokens built on the Ethereum blockchain; it is the go-to resource for users to discover general and technical information on Ethereum or Tokens.
Etherscan is known as Ethereum’s leading “block explorer”. It acts as a search engine that allows users to look up, confirm and validate transactions on the Ethereum decentralized smart contracts platform. Just like how someone can track their shipped package on the DHL website, the function of Etherscan is allowing people to track the historical transactions. Just enter your address into the search box, you can view the balance, Ether value, as well as all the transactions made through this address.
You can use Etherscan to search all transaction histories, including token (Ethereum based tokens) transfer and smart-contract execution. You simply paste an address into the search bar and the address details will appear. Etherscan also provides information on the balance of ETH at the address, its current value in US dollars, and the total number of transactions made to and from the address.
The transactions tab displays all the transactions that have gone in and out of the address. For each transaction, Etherscan lists information such as the TxHash (transaction hash or transaction ID), the number of the block in which the transaction was recorded, the duration of time since the transaction was confirmed, who it was from and to who, the value being transacted, the total transaction fee and the amount of gas used to execute the transaction.
The other two extremely common use of Etherscan are “Checking a TxHash” and “gas price tracker”. TxHash can be used to track and trace the status of a transaction. Once you have pasted the TxHash (transaction ID) into the search bar, a series of transaction details will appear. These include the TxReceipt status, for example: whether the transaction was successfully sent or failed, the value of the transaction, the block height (the block number in which the transaction was recorded), the exact units of gas that were used and the transaction history belonging to the sender’s address. The other common use is the “gas price tracker”, which is useful because the Ethereum network can suffer congestion problems. As we know we need gas (small amount of Ether) to send Ethereum or Tokens such as iOWN Token from one wallet to another, this fee will go to the miners to execute the proof of work protocol. The Congestion drives up gas prices, increases transaction costs and results in some transactions failing. The lower the gas price, the less expensive it is to run and use decentralised applications, so by checking the gas price tracker it is possible to adjust the gas fee before confirming a transaction. Etherscan is a great tool to check the current gas price so people can include it in their transaction and avoid over paying and type in the current minimal fee.
A great tool for the technical minded and coder is the “Smart Contract Tracker”. All Ethereum Dapps and tokens run on Smart Contracts, self-executing contracts with terms of the agreement being directly written into lines of code. For some experts who know how to read the code, a click on the “Code” tab can also give you full access to the contract code, where you can take a closer look at the transaction rules enforced in the code and understand how the Dapp or token ecosystem work and how it can be utilised.
Here is a list of terminologies you will find on Etherscan and what they mean:
TxHash: Also known as the transaction ID, TxHash is a unique identifier generated when a transaction is performed. It can be used to track and trace the status of a transaction.
From & To: The Ethereum addresses of the sender and receiver of Ethereum or tokens.
Block Height: The block number in which the transaction was included in the blockchain.
TimeStamp: The time the transaction entered the blockchain (i.e., the time the block was mined). You will able to see the time and date of the transaction.
Status: Will show you if the transaction was successful or has failed.
Value: How much ETH or iOWN was sent and its total USD value.
Gas Limit: The maximum amount of gas the sender is willing to buy for the transaction.
Gas Used by Txn: The actual amount of gas used for the transaction.
Gas Price: The price of gas in ETH. The gas price is decided by miners and measured in Gwei.
Actual Tx Cost/Fee: Gas used x gas cost in USD value.
Ultimately, Etherscan does not process transactions, nor it is a wallet and is unable to troubleshoot transaction failures. Etherscan is a useful tool for all ethereum network users to track transactions, check smart contracts, find out stats on tokens, and generally provides you with access to stay on top of what’s happening in the blockchain. The good news is that it’s free to use and you don’t have to register to use the main features. Whether you’re an investor, miner or developer, it’s a handy way of getting information about the blocks and transactions of Ethereum in one place and in real-time.
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