Etherscan is a blockchain explorer for the Ethereum network. The website allows you to search through transactions, blocks, wallet addresses, smart contracts, and other on-chain data. It's one of the most popular Ethereum blockchain explorers and is free to use.
Using Etherscan can help you understand exactly how you interact with the blockchain, other wallets, and DApps. This knowledge can also help you stay safe and spot suspicious behavior.
To use Etherscan, you'll need a wallet address, transaction ID (TXID), contract address, or another identifier to paste into the search field. The information you'll see will depend on what you're looking at, but most of it will include associated transactions, addresses, timestamps, and amounts.
You can also interact directly with smart contracts to make transactions, check gas fees, and search for airdrops through Etherscan.
If you use Ethereum for more than just HODLing or sending a few transactions, learning how to navigate the blockchain is hugely beneficial. Etherscan is one of the most popular options, so it's an excellent place to start learning the basics. You can use most of the features without having to connect your wallet or even opening an account. Let's run through the most common ways to use Etherscan and what you can do with the information you find.
What is Etherscan?
You don't need to sign up for Etherscan, but you can create an account for extra functionality. For example, you can set alerts to be notified of incoming transactions, access developer tools, and create data feeds.
Why should I use Etherscan?
How to look up a transaction and wallet on Etherscan
A basic feature of Etherscan is tracking transactions. Understanding how to follow your cryptocurrency is a key to unlocking all the rest of a blockchain's information. For example, imagine you’ve sent 0.025 ether (ETH) from your wallet to the following public address: 0x480bbcb368197d44c6f54a738e59c33eff004b6a.
Let's say you want to check the number of confirmations the transaction has and see if it has been sent successfully.
1. Head to the Etherscan homepage and look for the search field at the top of the page.
2. Next, copy and paste the transaction ID (TXID) into the search field and press the search icon.
3. Now you can see all the details regarding your specific transaction:
4. You can also press the [Click to see More] button for more detailed information, but for now, let’s go through just the default display:
The string of numbers and letters (TXID) associated with your particular transaction.
Whether your transaction has failed, is in progress, or was successful.
The block number your transaction was included in. You can also see how many times your transaction has been confirmed. This is the number of blocks added to the chain after your transaction's block.
The timestamp of the block your transaction was added to.
The wallet address that made the transaction..
The receiving address or smart contract.
The amount sent in the transaction.
The fee paid for making the transaction.
The cost per unit of gas for the transaction.
Information on whether a transaction was conducted under the old legacy gas system (1) or the new EIP-1559 block fee system (2).
From the data above, it's simple to see the transaction was successful and received enough confirmations. You could also check the status of your transaction by taking a look at the receiving wallet.
For this, you’ll need to go back to the search bar and paste the receiving wallet address:
At the bottom of the page, we can see the list of all transactions associated with the address:
How to look up smart contracts on Etherscan
If you're regularly interacting with smart contracts in DApps, it's a good idea to learn how to find them on Etherscan. This way, you can double-check that you're sending your funds to the correct contract.
If you ever need to add a new token to your wallet, you'll have to find the token's contract address. The smart contract address contains the token's logic, such as how token transfers are made and other behavior.
1. Copy and paste the smart contract address into the search field.
2. You'll now see details on the contract balance and other general information regarding the Uniswap (UNI) token contract.
3. Underneath, we have more options to look at, including transactions, a comments section, and the smart contract itself. Click [Contract] next to see the options available for interacting with and reading Uniswap’s rules.
4. The [Read Contract] tab shows you general contract information. It allows you, for example, to query the balance of specific addresses or wallets that have permission to use the token in your wallet.
Clicking [Connect to Web3] will allow you to connect a crypto wallet like MetaMask or Binance Chain Wallet and interact with the contract.
The simplest action here would be a transfer of coins. Using [transferFrom], you can transfer tokens from an address you have permission over to other addresses.
[transfer] lets you transfer the contract’s associated token from your connected wallet. The transaction below would send 1 UNI from our connected wallet to the receiving wallet address pasted in. You also have to make sure to include the correct amount of decimals for the amount you want to send.
Most users won’t ever need to use these features. However, it’s still useful to know where they are in case you need to access funds stored in a smart contract.
How to check gas prices on Etherscan
How to find airdrops on Etherscan
Etherscan is free and straightforward to use, and it's a great tool when you need more information than your wallet or exchange can show. For the most basic features, you can quickly learn to use them in a short amount of time. Etherscan is also the basis for other block explorers like BscScan, making your skills easily transferable. Whether you want to confirm a transaction’s status or look at your favorite DApp’s smart contract, Etherscan is a good place to start.