etherscan guide

In recent times, the FTX saga has been dominating headlines. Due to mismanagement of user funds, Sam Bankman-Fried (ex-CEO of FTX) had to file FTX, FTX US, and Alameda for bankruptcy. Hours later, FTX announces that their exchange has been hacked. What a terrible coincidence! Suddenly, over $600 million dollars of assets were lost.

Now, if you’re curious, you may wonder what the “hacker” here is doing with these funds. Today, we’ll provide you a simple guide to Etherscan. With this, you can shed some light on these shady transactions.


Now, before we segue into Etherscan, let’s review what its purposes and functions are. Simply put, Etherscan is a block explorer. It is an interface whereby you can view all transactions and interactions on a blockchain.

Moreover, each blockchain usually has its own explorer:

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

So, what can we use Etherscan for? Let’s delve deeper with this tweet as a guide.

Using Etherscan to View ETH Transfers

Let’s use this transaction from the FTX account drainer as an example. From here, take note of these four fields:

  1. Transaction Hash. This is a unique identifier for every transaction on the Ethereum blockchain.
  2. Status. This shows if the transaction is failed, pending, or successful.
  3. Block. This is the block number of your transaction. Do note there are multiple transactions within the same block.
  4. Timestamp. This shows when the transaction has been initiated.

Below, you can view the tweet to see this information of the hacker’s transaction.

In this case, the hacker had moved 9,500 ETH (worth $11.3 million!) to his ETH wallet. Indeed, you can view this info in the transaction details easily.

Etherscan Transfer Value
Source: Etherscan
Using Etherscan to View ERC-20 Transfers

Earlier, we took a look at a transfer of ETH tokens. Now, we look at a sample of an ERC-20 token transaction. Similarly, we use an example from the FTX drainer account.

In essence, they’re pretty much the same. Both ETH and ERC-20 token transfers have the four main fields. To recap, these are the transaction hash, status, block, and timestamp. However, ERC-20 token transfers have an additional field: “ERC-20 Tokens Transferred.” This identifies the type of ERC-20 token transferred.

Etherscan ERC-20 Transfer
Source: Etherscan

As an example, the FTX account drainer transferred $26.2 million worth of $USDT tokens to his account. Remember, $USDT is an ERC-20 token on Ethereum. Hence, it is identified as such above.

There are two other differences which aren’t too significant. But, let’s go through them anyway! Now, you’d notice that the transaction value of the ERC-20 token is 0 Ether. Don’t get confused by assuming no tokens were transferred! It just means that there were 0 ETH transferred. Notably, the ERC-20 token transfer still went through.

The last difference is the least applicable to retail crypto investors like us. Under the “Input Data” field, ERC-20 token transactions contain an extra smart contract function. This instructs the node which function to call to process the subject transaction.


So, that concludes our simple guide to Etherscan! With the basic skills above, you’ll be able to read every transaction on the Ethereum blockchain. Now, you’d know what these shady hackers are up to!

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