Research on Etherscan

In the world of blockchain, transparency is a must-have. Hence, every public blockchain (Bitcoin, Ethereum etc) built from the ground up is transparent. In other words, all transactions on such blockchains are verifiable through on-chain research. To access these on-chain data, you need to be adept at using blockchain explorers. Today, we go through 4 key methods to use blockchain explorers like Etherscan for research. 

Understanding Blockchain Explorers

A blockchain explorer is an interface whereby you can view all transactions and interactions on a blockchain. Each blockchain usually has its own explorer. Below are some examples:

  • Etherscan is the explorer for Ethereum.
  • Solscan is the explorer for Solana.
  • BSCScan is the explorer for Binance Smart Chain.

You can think of blockchain explorers as telescopes looking into the blockchain. They provide clarity to on-chain data for public users. However, you do need to know:

  • How to use blockchain explorers.
  • How to interpret the explorer interface and data presented.

Today, we shall go through the basics of using Etherscan. As Ethereum is one of the most used blockchains, Etherscan has become the most used blockchain explorer. Hence, it is the best place to start for learning the basics of using an explorer.

You can access Etherscan using the link here. Note: For security reasons, always check that the URL for Etherscan is etherscan.io.

Key #1 – Exploring an Address

The first thing you need to learn on Etherscan is to explore an address. Every wallet has its own on-chain address. The below tweet shows you where you can input the address you wish to explore.

By entering the address into Etherscan, you can view the:

  • Transaction Hash or ID – This is the transaction’s identifier.
  • Transaction Method – For example, “transfer”, “mint”, “approve”, “deposit”, “stake” and “compound”.
  • Administrative Data –  For example, block number and time stamp.
  • Sender and Recipient info.
  • Transaction Values and Gas fees paid.

The tweet below provides a great interface to show where these data are found on the Etherscan interface.

Knowing how to explore an address is a great skill. With it, you can check on-chain if a transaction you initiated is successful. Also, you could snoop around your friend’s address to find out if he is a whale or not.

Source: https://unsplash.com/ – Watching your whale friend’s wallet on Etherscan
Key #2 – Exploring a Token

Many tokens are built on the Ethereum blockchain. Such tokens are known as ERC-20 tokens. Hence, they are also trackable on Etherscan. The tweet below details 3 methods to access Etherscan’s token tracker.

Personally, my preferred method would be to go to Coingecko first. This ensures that the token address matches the token that I’m looking for. Do note that there are many fake tokens with similar names to legit tokens. Hence, it is always wise to copy the token address through Coingecko.

Then, I would copy the contract over to Etherscan. Lastly, I would click on the token tracker link. The below tweet shows some basic information found on the token tracker page.

One key piece of information I would always want to check would be the top token holders. This can help me to determine if the token could be a good investment. Firstly, I would take note if a token has a large percentage of unlocked tokens held in unknown wallets. These could represent selling pressure when such “whale” wallets decide to dump. Secondly, I can view the token’s distribution among different locations. This helps me to have an overview of where the supply of the tokens are, and if they’re being put to good use.

The below tweet shows the interface from which you can find the top token holders.

In addition, there are other tabs that could be useful. These include the “Dex Trades”, “Contract” and “Analytics” tab. On the “Contract” tab, you could interact directly with the smart contract on Etherscan. The next section will illustrate how.

Key #3 – Interacting with an Etherscan Contract

Using Etherscan, you could also opt to interact directly with a smart contract. This can be done without using the decentralized application (dApp). You could do this when the dApp isn’t working properly or when you want to test your contracts. Below tweets illustrate 2 common ways to interact with a smart contract through Etherscan.

However, interacting with smart contracts through Etherscan is meant for users adept at Solidity. Due to the technical nature of this topic, we won’t go into depth in this article. Solidity is ETH’s smart contract language.

Key #4 – Etherscan Gas Tracker

Another handy tool that Etherscan provides is a gas tracker. This allows you to gauge the gas fees required to use the Ethereum blockchain. It also allows you to check for trends to identify days and times whereby gas is the cheapest. The tweet below shows the interface to identify these trends. Frankly, this is a great tool for you if you’re looking to save more ETH by spending less on gas.

Conclusion

So, that concludes our coverage of 4 keys to researching on Etherscan. With these skills at hand, you would already have a better edge compared to general crypto retail investors. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg for a successful crypto investor. If you would like to delve deeper into on-chain analysis, the article here could definitely help you.

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