A block explorer, also known as a blockchain explorer, is an application designed to track activity on the blockchain. Every transaction performed on a network, every block mined or validated, every NFT minted and traded, all of it can be viewed using a block explorer.
Each blockchain has its own explorer, for example etherscan.io for Ethereum and tronscan.org for TRON. But there are also advanced block explorers which incorporate a multitude of blockchains, networks and protocols in one place. An example of such is BlockExplorer.one.
In acting as the search engines for blockchains, block explorers need to get accurate information for anything happening on a particular network. And when it comes to obtaining and indexing data for multiple protocols, things can get a little messy, as each one comes with its specifics.
There is an immense amount of complicated data that goes into block explorers, and developers need an easy way to be able to source it before they can even present it to their users.
Thankfully, Crypto APIs has built a collection of unified REST API endpoints that allow retrieving information on blocks, transactions, addresses and more for multiple blockchains using a single integration.
Block explorers can use Blockchain Data for quick and easy access to all the information they need. But before we look into how to use Blockchain Data, let’s take a deep dive into what block explorers are and how they work.
The blockchain’s open nature allows absolutely anyone to monitor what's happening on it and block explorers are the means to do it. They are often referred to as a window into the blockchain world.
A blockchain is basically a database storing information on transactions, wallet addresses, wallet balances, and other such block details. As mentioned, this information is open and available to everyone to view, however the data is not presented in a human-readable format.
Block explorers gather this information and present it in a readable way, helping crypto traders and other crypto-related businesses access and extract information from the blockchain.
Block explorers display information for multiple blockchains, their history and their current states. They can be a valuable tool for traders, miners, validators, and crypto businesses and enthusiasts alike. They allow anyone to browse and study data about recent blocks, blockchain transactions, average transaction fees, hash rate, and more.
Here are the most popular uses of a block explorer:
- View the history of any wallet address, including all transactions to and from it
- Explore change addresses
- View orphaned blocks
- See the largest transaction sent in the last 24 hours
- Get details of unconfirmed transactions
Blockchain explorers use a variety of tools and infrastructure to retrieve information from a blockchain, including APIs, SQL databases, and of course, the blockchain’s full node.
The block explorer software gathers the information and organizes it into a database and displays it in a human-readable and searchable format. Users can then perform searches on the block explorer’s web page.
Blockchain explorers need fresh information from multiple blockchains on numerous parameters each second. The data pulled from a blockchain node is extremely complex and because there is no standardization for blockchains, each network stores its data in different ways.
It’s not only complex to pull it, but it also requires unique ways of processing and indexing it according to the different blockchain protocols. This not only takes a considerable amount of time but deep expertise which is beyond the capabilities of even the most experienced of developers.
Getting access to the full nodes for each blockchain could also be an issue.
Obtaining data from multiple blockchains requires multiple nodes again needing blockchain specific expertise. Not to mention the issues you can run into with limited bandwidth, slowing down of normal network traffic, unstable internet connection- syncing nodes can take weeks! Then there is the issue of security, running a node means you are responsible for ensuring node security and maintaining blockchain integrity.
Crypto APIs enables blockchain explorers to query data directly using just an API key. By using our Blockchain Data unified endpoints block explorers can obtain information instantly from the most common blockchains in a convenient format.
With an easy integration using programming languages from our 9 SDK libraries, block explorers can request data and get results for each supported protocol by changing only a single parameter. Both historical and real-time data, unified, raw, read-only or segmented, can be delivered with a lightning-fast response time of 25ms and all data already synced and indexed.
Some of the world’s leading block explorers are already implementing our solutions to provide their customers with data about blockchain transactions, addresses, blocks, fees, and more.
Here are some of the most useful Blockchain Data endpoints that blockchain explorers can use:
Get Address Details
Using the Get Address Details endpoint, blockchain explorers can receive information about a given address based on confirmed/synced blocks. The returned details include the total number of confirmed coins transactions for an address, both incoming and outgoing, the total confirmed balance of the address, the total amount of all coins received to the address, and the total amount of all the spent coins.
List All Unconfirmed Transactions
Through the List All Unconfirmed Transactions endpoint customers can list all unconfirmed transactions for a specified blockchain and network. The details returned can include a list of recipient addresses and a list of sender addresses with the respective amounts. It will also define the exact date/time in Unix Timestamp when the unconfirmed transaction was first seen in the Mempool.
Get Fee Recommendations
The Get Fee Recommendations endpoint is pretty self-explanatory. Block explorers can get gas price for Ethereum, fee per byte for Bitcoin and other popular networks. The fee recommendations are done in real-time, live, and are based on Mempool data. This makes them much more accurate than recommendations based on already mined blocks.
List Confirmed Tokens Transfers By Address And Time Range
Using the List Confirmed Tokens Transfers By Address And Time Range endpoint customers can obtain a list with confirmed token transfers by the address attribute and the query parameters fromTimestamp and toTimestamp which gives the ability to filter the results by a specified time period.
Discover more Blockchain Data endpoints and learn about our other blockchain products by checking out our technical documentation.