DCV - November 3, 2021
This article will explain as simply as possible how to use and read Etherscan. Etherscan is an Ethereum blockchain explorer where you can view transactions, smart contracts, various token data and a bunch of other information that revolves around the Ethereum ecosystem.
There's a YouTube video at the end of this post if you don't want to read it.
This is the front page of the Etherscan website at etherscan.io. At first glance, you can see high level information like the current price of Ether, Ethereum's current market cap (aka how much Ethereum is worth in total), the total number of transactions that ever happened, and a measure of the volume of transactions per second.
Then, there is an indication of the current average gas fee. If you're not familiar with gas, it's just the transaction fee required for each transaction. Gwei is just a unit of Ether that is much smaller than 1 ETH and is what the transaction fees are measured in. Technically, 1 gwei is equal to 0.000000001 ETH. You can think of a gwei as a cent when an Ether is like a dollar. Not quite the same conversion ratio but you get the idea.
Lastly, you have the hash rate which measures the capability of miners to verify transactions and secure the network. This is measured in gigahashes per second (GH/s). The “difficulty” measures how hard it is for blocks to be verified and this is measured in total hashes.
In this section, you can see the latest blocks that have been mined. A block is just a collection of transactions that have happened. This is the block number. This is the miner that verified the block, and this is the amount of ETH that the miner was paid for verifying the block.
Let's see what information is stored in the block page. The block height is just the block number. A block number of 1 indicates that is the first block ever in the history of the blockchain. In this case, this is about the 13 millionth block.
This timestamp is when the block was verified. This shows the number of transactions in the block and if you click this link, it'll list all the transactions.
This line shows the wallet address of the miner and the miner's name (Ethermine).
This is how much the miner was rewarded for verifying the block.
Next, I'll explain how to read the information in a wallet address. I've picked out a random wallet address to use as an example. The wallet I'm looking at is 0xB86fea68af6BB959f8986563360A75Ebb5ce6703. You can easily search for addresses to look at just by copy and pasting the address into the search bar on the front page.
So here's the wallet info for an address ending in 703. The overview shows how much Ether this wallet is holding and the current value of the holdings. This last line here shows the wallet's total value including all the ERC20 tokens it holds. You can see that the total value of the wallet is about $23k and that it holds 4 ERC20 tokens.
To view all the balances easily, you can click the wallet icon to the right. This brings up a page that shows all the tokens with their logos, the ticker symbol, the balance, and the 24 hour percentage change. I really like this view because it shows all the information in an organized, easy-to-read way.
Going back to the transactions of this wallet, let's take a look at some of the transaction details. This first line here shows the "transaction hash" which is just a unique bunch of numbers and letters to identify the transaction. It also shows the "method" which is a brief description of what the transaction is for. In this case, the person is swapping between currencies. You can also see the block number this transaction belongs to.
For this specific transaction, the "From" column indicates the wallet address that initiated this transaction, and the "To" column indicates the smart contract that was called to perform this action. The value is the amount of Ether that was transacted, and the last column shows the transaction fee paid for verifying it.
This entire transaction describes the user swapping Ether to another currency using the Uniswap decentralized exchange.
Now, let's look at another transaction. This one is just a simple transfer of funds between wallets. You can see that by the "method" here saying "Transfer". The transfer was from this wallet address ending in 703 to a wallet address ending in c14. The transaction was for 2 Ether.
Let's click into this transaction to see more info. The transaction hash is 0x22ec05165ead8a9ca630f73f1b053d481f57d075006d04ab5c669e9ef032d843. You can actually search for specific transactions by copy and pasting this string of characters into the search bar on the front page.
This transaction was a success and was a part of the 13512601 block number. The transaction happened about 5 days ago and moved funds from the 703 wallet to another other wallet ending in c14. The person transferred 2 ETH, and the transaction fee was about $18. Finally, the price of Ether at the time of transaction was $4,417.40.
Another interesting tab in the wallet page is the ERC20 tokens transactions list. This page lists all of the ERC20 tokens in and out of the wallet, the amount of each transaction in the native token's units, and gives a quick look at the traffic in and out of this wallet.
In this case, most of the transactions here look like they are swapping ETH with other currencies on Uniswap. If the transaction is "In" to this wallet, they are likely using ETH to buy something on Uniswap, and if the transaction is "Out" of the wallet, they are likely selling a currency for ETH.
Let's click into one of these transactions to see what's happening. So you have all the normal information here, transaction hash, block number, etc. But in the "To" field, you can see that the funds were sent to a smart contract, specifically, one called "Uniswap V2 Router 2". The smart contract runs some code to do a token transfer. You can see the tokens transferred in this section where wrapped ETH gets swapped to something called LilFlokiCeo. This transaction cost close to a whooping $150.
In addition to looking up wallet addresses, you can also search for specific ERC20 tokens. Just as an example, I'm searching for LoopRing since it went up in value so much recently. This brings me to the token page.
You can see the current price per token as well as the total market cap of all the tokens in circulation. There's also the address to the smart contract that governs this token as well as a website link to the company and some social media links as well.
The section at the bottom shows a number of the most recent transactions in the LoopRing ecosystem. Most of these are transfers to and from wallets.
In the holders tab, you can see some of the top wallets that hold LoopRing. Some of these are exchanges like Binance, but others are just individuals’ wallets.
Let's take a deeper look at smart contracts on Etherscan. Going back to the wallet ending in 703, there are a bunch of transactions that have this Uniswap V2 Router 2 label with a small icon to the left of it indicating that it's a smart contract.
Let's go to the contract page for the Uniswap Router to see more details. At the top, you can see the contract address, and in the overview, you can see the ether balance and the name of the contract.
In the contract tab, you can see the actual code that defines the smart contract. Under "Read Contract", you can see all the functions that just return information if the function is called. Similarly, in the "Write Contract" section, here are all the functions that update the blockchain when called. In the case of Uniswap, there are a bunch of functions to update liquidity since Uniswap is a DEX for farming and providing liquidity for currency swaps.
One last thing I'll detail here on the front page are interesting visualizations of statistics. Click "Resources" and then "Charts and Stats". Here, you can see market data, blockchain data, network data, and top statistics.
In the market data, you can see charts like the historical price chart of Ethereum. Or you can check out the total Ether supply and market cap in a nice pie chart.
In the blockchain data, you can see the historical data for the amount of daily transactions.
Finally, you can see info in the "Top Stats" section like the top miners on Ethereum and a breakdown of the percentage of the market each miner owns.
So, that was a just brief intro into understanding some aspects of Etherscan.io. Hopefully this article helped you understand some things better. Thanks for reading.
Here is the YouTube video equivalent of this post: