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Etherscan: what it is and how it works

Blockchain typically involves a publicly distributed ledger. Anyone can search for the activity taking place on any blockchain network.

There are privacy networks like Monero (XMR), where you can’t see the amounts sent but you can still see the sender and recipient. Meanwhile with public networks like Ethereum, you can see everything: the sender, recipient, amount and what was sent, transaction hash, gas fee, and total transaction fee. However, there still needs to be a user interface that people can easily look at to find all this information, and that’s where Etherscan comes in.

Etherscan is a publicly developed blockchain explorer to navigate all the blockchain data that is on Ethereum, which is a lot. No registration is required, although you can create an account if you wish, and all information is free. While Etherscan isn’t the only blockchain explorer (there are blockchain explorers for Solana, Cosmos, Cardano, Binance, Cronos, etc.), it will be the focus of this guide.

What you can do with Etherscan

Although Etherscan is not an Ethereum wallet, it is a powerful tool for Ethereum users. There are a variety of ways you can use Etherscan to your advantage.

Whether you’re looking to track your wallet activity, whale wallet activity, gas fees, or even specific token distributions and transactions, Etherscan can help. To use Etherscan, you can simply paste a wallet address, transaction hash, block ID, or token name into the search bar and see all relevant information.

Read on to learn more ways you can use Etherscan:

Account/Address Monitoring

While you don’t need to create an account on Etherscan, it can be useful to do so. Registered accounts can set notifications for when transactions occur for a specific address (such as their own), a specific asset, and can add addresses to a checklist to track their investments or those of another person.

You can receive an email whenever a new transaction occurs for your wallet. The email will contain information such as the sending address, what’s included, gas costs, transaction hash, and more.

Ethereum Gas Tracker |

Etherscan provides a convenient way to check current gas prices on the Ethereum network. You can see the amount of gas you should pay for low, medium, and high priority transaction processing. You can also see the estimated costs of some transactions such as a swap on Uniswap or the sale of an NFT on OpenSea. There is also a graph showing the confirmation time with respect to the price of gas. Below this information you can see the top 50 gas eaters and spenders.

Smart contract verification

There are a couple of useful ways to use Etherscan with smart contracts. The first way is to verify that a smart contract has the correct source code and that is actually what it claims.

To do this, you can simply copy and paste the smart contract address from a transaction you are about to make in Etherscan to quickly verify that it is actually selling an asset on OpenSea and not doing something else. This helps avoid situations where a decentralized application has been compromised.

In conjunction with this, users can connect their Ethereum wallet with Etherscan and set permissions for smart contracts. They can choose to revoke permissions for certain contracts and also see all the permissions they have approved for their portfolio.

ERC-20 token information and analysis

With Etherscan, you can simply type any Ethereum token name into the search bar, such as SHIB, ENS, or UNI. You can then see the amount of that token in circulation, the current price, market capitalization, number of holders, number of transfers, contract, and every single transaction involving that token.

Using Etherscan when searching for a new asset of interest is useful as you can easily see the distribution of tokens by observing holders, which can help decide whether an asset is being manipulated by whales or is unevenly distributed.

This is a difficult form of analysis to do without a block explorer. Sites like CoinMarketCap and CoinGecko can show you the market cap and price of a token, but you can’t analyze the token without Etherscan.

You can determine the distribution of tokens, see which wallets are buying or selling the most, how much each wallet holds, and in some cases, the holder’s general identity, such as an exchange.

Why Etherscan and Block Explorers are powerful tools

As we’ve seen in this guide, there are a number of useful ways you can use a block explorer like Etherscan to help in cryptocurrency research and tracking.

The best part is that it is a free service that you can access at any time without restrictions as an anonymous viewer. If you register you can access more personalized information, but it’s your choice. Also, as mentioned above, Etherscan isn’t the only block explorer out there.

If you use Cardano, Solana, Binance, or any other blockchain network, there are explorers for them, and you should consider using them.

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