If you are not already a dapp (decentralized application) user, you’ve probably at least heard a thing or two about Ethereum, Smart Contracts, CryptoKitties, or even created your own Ether wallet.
Great job if you’ve already gone this far. Now before you want to delve deep and start looking for good dapp projects to get your hands on, you probably need to know more about how to navigate and manage your activities on the blockchain.
As for now, most decentralized applications are built on the Ethereum Blockchain; therefore, this article will introduce you to Etherscan.io, a useful tool that allows you to explore and search the Ethereum blockchain for transactions, addresses, tokens, prices, and other activities taking place on Ethereum.
Etherscan.io is the leading Block Explorer where users can lookup, confirm, and validate transactions that have taken place on the Ethereum Blockchain. Just like other dapps, Etherscan is also underpinned by the Ethereum Network. It has been widely used by the industry as the basic tool for data query and data analysis on the blockchain.
At a glance, the site is full of strings and confusing terms that might seem overwhelming. However, once you understand it, you will feel attached to it.
Just like one can track their packages on Amazon.com, the primary function of Etherscan is allowing people to check 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.
Now let’s click on a random "TxHash" to see the details of a transaction.
Breaking down the data displayed:
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.
Block Height: The block number in which the transaction was included.
TimeStamp: The time the transaction entered the blockchain (i.e., the time the block was mined).
From/To: The sending and receiving Ethereum addresses.
Value: How much ETH was sent and its equivalent 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.
Notice that you can also check out different types of transfer events by clicking on the “Internal Txns”, “ERC20 Token Txns” and “ERC721 Token Txns” tabs.
All Ethereum dapps run on Smart Contracts, self-executing contracts with terms of the agreement being directly written into lines of code. Compared to normal addresses, transaction activities in these Smart Contracts are good indicators of a dapp’s level of activity. Based on the transaction records of dapp's Smart Contracts, dapp.com ranking further processes and visualizes this information, eventually provides an easy-to-read index to assess the health and growth potential of dapp projects.
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 rulesets enforced in the code.
(Read more: Smart Contracts Definition | Investopedia )
At its very core, blockchain provides a platform that ensures there can be only one digital copy of something, making every crypto item unique, with its own associated value. CryptoKitties, Etheremon, Exoplanets, Gods Unchained, etc., all these popular dapps you might have heard of creating digital one-of-a-kind collectibles on top of the blockchain. Hence, the ERC721 token tracking tool could also give you a general view, in particular, of a dapp collectible’s activity level. Let’s take a look at what are popular crypto collectibles these days.
Another useful feature this website has is the gas price tracker. Ethereum Smart Contracts, as well as the network having congestion issues, is nothing new. The congestion can inflate gas prices, raise transaction costs and cause fails in transactions. Since a cheaper gas means a cheaper cost of running and using dapps, it is strongly recommended to check the gas price tracker and adjust the gas fee before confirming a transaction.
If you want to get a full picture of the Ethereum Network, Ether Market will over time allow you to start doing your own analysis, “Charts and Stats” would be an important place to start with.
In a nutshell, Etherscan is a resourceful database for all the Ethereum Network users to track transactions, check on smart contracts and tokens, monitor the gas price, read charts and stats, and much more. As more promising dapp projects are coming out, this one-stop website could be a practical tool to help you stay on top of the Ethereum Blockchain. Of course, this site is not perfect, compared to its data tracking functions, some other resources such as contents in “Ethereum Dictionary” needs updating and supplements. Use this site wisely, it will definitely make your Ethereum Blockchain experience easier and more enjoyable.
Want to start poking around? Check out dapp.com, pick a dapp and start your exploration.