What is a blockchain explorer?
A blockchain explorer, also known as a block explorer, is an app that tracks activity on a blockchain. All transactions ever performed on a network can be viewed using such a tool.
Blockchain explorers are like search engines for blockchains.
You can think of it as a window into the blockchain world, allowing you to observe what's happening in it.
Cryptocurrency users and developers use such a tool to view the status of past or present transactions.
Some of the most basic information available on blockchain explorers includes (but are not limited to):
- Block feed: This allows you to view all the confirmed and pending blocks on the blockchain.
- Transaction feed: The transaction feed displays all the most recent and pending transactions.
- Transaction viewer: Each transaction can be viewed individually to reveal the public addresses of the sending and receiving parties.
- Wallet history: All past and present transactions of an individual wallet address.
Block Explorer use cases
Block explorers are not only made for casual users to check if their coins are still safe or for delegators to verify that their baker is not cheating with their earnings.
Block explorers are also used by:
blockchain engineers who develop and debug new features in sandboxes (e.g. new blockchain consensus).
app developers who need debugging tools and more visibility into the current and past state of their contracts running on internal testnets and the mainnet.
bakers and staking services who need reliable data about delegation and earnings history to calculate correct payouts, plan their bond pools and execute operations.
less technical user groups like auditors and regulators with strict requirements for data quality, as they need to access a trusted copy of the full on-chain history in a format that's easy to digest for their spreadsheets and compliance tools.
Here are some commonly used Tezos block explorers: