What is a Blockchain Explorer?

A blockchain explorer is a specialized piece of software that is used to track, explore, and search the blockchain ledger in order to gain insight into the state of the blockchain network. The blockchain explorer acts as a window into the blockchain, allowing users to view various aspects of the blockchain such as transaction histories, wallet balances, and more.

A blockchain explorer is essentially a search engine for the blockchain. It allows users to enter a specific blockchain address, transaction hash, or block height in order to view the relevant information. The explorer provides information on the transaction such as the sender, receiver, date, and the amount of coins that were transferred. It is also possible to view which addresses the transaction originated from, and where it is headed.

The blockchain explorer also provides a helpful visual representation of the blockchain ledger in the form of a graphical timeline. This allows users to view the full history of a particular block or transaction, allowing them to track the movement of funds from address to address.

In addition to providing information on transactions, block explorers also provide a variety of other useful services such as tracking the price and market capitalization of digital assets, calculating network difficulty, and providing detailed charts and data visualizations.

Simplified Example

A blockchain explorer is like a search engine for a blockchain. Just as you can use Google to search the internet for information, you can use a blockchain explorer to search the records of a blockchain. With a blockchain explorer, you can see all the transactions that have taken place on the blockchain, view details about specific blocks, and get information about specific addresses. The explorer provides a way for you to see what's happening on the blockchain in real-time and helps you understand how it all works.

History of the Term Blockchain Explorer

The term "blockchain explorer" emerged from the early days of cryptocurrency, alongside the birth of Bitcoin in 2009. As the Bitcoin blockchain grew and transaction activity increased, the need for a user-friendly interface to navigate and explore this vast data repository arose. Thus, the first block explorer, simply named "Block Explorer," was created in 2010 to provide a platform for users to search for specific transactions, addresses, or blocks and view their details in a comprehensible manner.


Etherscan: This is a blockchain explorer for the Ethereum network. It allows users to view and search for transactions, addresses, and smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain.

BitShares Explorer: This is a blockchain explorer for the BitShares network. It allows users to view and search for transactions, assets, accounts, and blocks on the BitShares blockchain.

NEO Tracker: This is a blockchain explorer for the NEO network. It allows users to view and search for transactions, addresses, blocks, and assets on the NEO blockchain.

  • Block: A block in blockchain technology is a collection of data records that are linked and secured using cryptography.

  • Block Explorer: A block explorer is a web-based platform that provides a comprehensive view of the blockchain data of a specific cryptocurrency.