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

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

Etherscan is a publicly developed blockchain explorer for navigating all of the blockchain data that there is on Ethereum, which is a lot. There is no sign up required, though you can create an account if you wish, and all of the information is free to access. While Etherscan is not the only blockchain explorer (there are blockchain explorers for Solana, Cosmos, CardanoBinanceCronos, etc.), it will be the focus of this guide.

What You Can Do with Etherscan

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

Whether you are looking to keep track of your own wallet activity, a whale wallet’s activity, gas fees, or even specific token distribution 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.

Keep reading to learn more ways you can use Etherscan:

Account/Address Monitoring

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

You can receive an email every time a new transaction occurs for your wallet. The email will contain information such as sending address, what is included, gas costs, the 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’d need to pay for low, medium, and high priority transaction processing. You can also see the estimated costs of certain transactions such as a swap on Uniswap or selling an NFT on OpenSea. There is also a chart showing the confirmation time versus gas price. Below this information you can see the top 50 gas guzzlers and spenders.

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An example of gas fees from 2022. Source:

Smart Contract Verification

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

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

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An example of a smart contract on Etherscan.

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

ERC-20 Token Information and Analytics

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 circulating, the current price, market cap, number of holders, number of transfers, the contract, and every single transaction involving that token.

Using Etherscan when researching a new asset of interest is useful as you can easily see the token distribution by looking at the holders, which can help you decide if an asset is being manipulated by whales or is unevenly distributed.

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The ENS token on Etherscan.

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

You can determine token distribution, see which wallets are buying or selling the most, how much each wallet holds, and in some cases the general identity of the holder, 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 in which you can use a block explorer such as Etherscan to aid in your crypto research and monitoring.

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

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

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About the Author

Evan Jones

Evan Jones was introduced to cryptocurrency by fellow CryptoVantage contributor Keegan Francis in 2017 and was immediately intrigued by the use cases of many Ethereum-based cryptos. He bought his first hardware wallet shortly thereafter. He has a keen and vested interest in cryptos involving decentralized backend exchanges, payment processing, and power-sharing.

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