One of the very first things you may encounter when you begin using Bitcoin Cash (BCH) or Bitcoin (BTC) is a block explorer. This article will help you understand what it is, how to use the Bitcoin.com block explorer, and provide you with other helpful tips and information to get you going down the path of discovering and understanding Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin, and the blockchain.
Learning the Basics
To start off, you may be wondering what is a block explorer? As the name implies, it is an application that allows anyone to search the transaction data on the BCH and BTC blockchain.
You may want to search the blockchain for several reasons, such as checking the balance of an address, viewing transaction history, seeing recent blocks, and more. Think of a block explorer as a search engine but made specifically for the Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin blockchain.
(If you aren’t familiar yet with what a blockchain is, you may want read What is the blockchain. For other helpful terms and definitions, please see the Bitcoin Glossary)
Using the Bitcoin Explorer
When you first begin to use our block explorer, you may get to it from another source and end up on an unfamiliar page. For the purposes of this tutorial, we will walk you through it from the main home page.
On the main home page you will see a search field to search by addresses, transactions or block hashes. You will also see all and latest block information and transactions. Pictured below is the BCH block explorer main page.
In the image starting from the top left,
- You can toggle between the Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin blockchains. You can do this throughout the site at anytime to switch blockchains.
- Near the blockchain toggle you can see another one that allows you to switch between TestNet or MainNet.
- On the top right, there are a few options such as a QR scanner to read QR codes, Settings menu and a link to view all blocks with some chain statistics. In the Settings menu you can change the currency display, select language and switch from Cash Address to Legacy one (available only for Bitcoin Cash explorer).
- Apart from QR code scanner and Settings we now have Tokens menu, where you can search for SLP tokens and see major data points on their performance.
- Directly in the middle of the page is the search tool. Here you will begin typically by copying and pasting a Bitcoin address or transaction ID to the field to begin searching.
- The bottom lower section you will be able to see all and recent blocks and transaction data and if you click into any of the links you can see more details.
To provide another example, if you click into any of the recent transactions by clicking view details, you will see a page that is similar to this one below.
There are essentially two main sections when viewing transaction details using the block explorer.
- The top section will show you a summary with important information such as what block contains this transaction, what is the transaction fee, when the transaction was made, how many confirmations it has and the transaction size.
- The bottom section will show you the number of inputs and outputs for this transaction along with its value in BCH or BTC and selected currency for display.
- On the very top you can see and copy transaction ID and also see its status: broadcasted or confirmed
Other Helpful Tips Here are some pro-tips to get you going and becoming a blockchain explorer master.
- When viewing transaction details like in the example provided above, you can always see where the transaction is coming from by looking from left to right. The transaction sender is on the left, and the receiver [address] is on the right. The "change address" is below the receiver address, placed on the bottom of each transaction.
- For more advanced users, when viewing transaction details, if you hover over the addresses you will see an information icon; click on it to view the transaction OP_codes and scripts.
- For more information on how to work with Transactions please read this post.
Start using Block Explorer now