After the FTX implosion, taking control of your crypto has become more critical than ever. One of the most important ways to do that is by learning to read a block explorer. For the NEAR Protocol, the most popular NEAR explorers are:
What is a blockchain explorer?
A blockchain scanner is a software used for visualizing different blockchain network metrics like:
- Block size
- Block difficulty
- Average transaction fees.
So, what can you do with the blockchain explorer? Let’s take a look.
- Track the status of a pending transaction while it’s awaiting in the mempool.
- Track the balance of wallets without having to use the wallet itself. This can be helpful if you want to check the balance in your hardware wallet.
- Track every single transaction going in and out of a particular address.
- View orphaned blocks, aka blocks that aren’t attached to the main chain.
- Explore whale transactions that could have a major impact on the market.
- Keep track of the addresses of well-known crypto leaders.
- Keep track of coins post-hack.
How do blockchain explorers work?
Blockchain explorers work alongside blockchain nodes and use application programming interfaces (APIs), rational databases, and SQL databases to retrieve relevant information from the underlying network. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- The explorer organizes all this information into a database and displays this data in a searchable format.
- Users can perform searches through an organized table.
- All search requests are sent to the backend server, which provides the required responses.
How do I use a blockchain explorer?
For our first few demonstrations, let’s check NEAR explorer. We put a randomly selected account in the scanner. Let’s see what data we get.
The first section that we see has the following data:
- Transactions: The number of transactions sent and received. This account has sent 1,816 transactions and received none.
- Storage used: The total blockchain storage used by the account. This account uses 390 kB.
- Native account balance: The amount of NEAR tokens that are currently held by the account. This account holds 81.1916 NEAR.
- Validator stake: Is this account staking some NEAR to back a validator and secure the network? The account has staked 23,439,675.24565 NEAR behind a validator.
- Created: The account was created on February 15, 2022, at 4:49:20am.
- Created transaction: The transaction hash responsible for creating this account is 4Buu2pWuViuXCVPJpLJZgLvYwogzaaazKn5jqoGYqV7Y.
When you scroll down, you will see the transaction history of this account.
Checking transaction status
Let’s put a random transaction hash in the explorer and see how it looks. First, we will put this transaction hash:
This is a standard transaction where one account sends some coins to another. So let’s go through the details.
- Sender: This is the account that signed and sent the transaction. In this case, it’s “Sweat_welcome.near.”
- Receiver: This is the account receiving the transaction – 8db1b70f0b7803a29e014d4d03cceffac7347ca54c2410ddc489d263dab27d97.
- Status: The current status of the transactions. This could be Pending, Succeeded, Failed/Finalized, or non-finalized. In this case, it’s Succeeded.
- Transaction fee: This is the fee required to execute this transaction. In this case, it’s 0.00008 NEAR.
- Deposit value: This is the total value being transferred from the signing account to the receiver account. In this case, the deposit value is 0.5 NEAR.
- Gas used: The units of gas needed to execute the transaction. In this case, it’s 1 Tgas ( 1 TeraGas = 10¹² gas units).
- Created: This transaction was created on November 17, 2022, at 1:18:33 pm.
- Block hash: The unique identifier (hash) of the block this transaction was included in. In this case, the block hash is F3fPB67dr2VYvfKCWVxQcYwHwdnn7SA3QL1BwpJ3ixKN
- The explorer also shares a receipt. The receipt itself has two parts.
- The first part is the receipt of the transaction itself. There is a receipt ID and the total gas and tokens burned.
- The second part is the system receipt. “System” is a special account used to identify refund receipts.
Which of the following can I use a scanner for?
Using other NEAR explorers
Let’s use the same transaction in NearScan and NearBlocks to see how the data presentation differs between these explorers.
The NearBlocks explorer shows the same data as the total gas and tokens burnt during the transaction.
What does the “System account" do?
The NearScan interface gives you pretty much the same data. The gas data shows more decimal places than the NEAR Explorer.
Which of the following scanners can be used for NEAR Protocol?
There are more complicated transactions on the NEAR blockchain. However, this article should give you an idea of how to read these transactions. Explorers allow you to exploit one of the most essential traits of blockchain technology – transparency. It empowers you as a user to meticulously track your coins and see where they are going.
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