Understanding Etherscan: Its Function and Practical Applications

Trading Made Easy 2023-09-13 10:10:00

If you're planning to engage with NFTs, smart contracts, or any other activities on the Ethereum blockchain, then familiarizing yourself with Etherscan is crucial. But what exactly is Etherscan?


Etherscan serves as a block explorer and analytics platform, allowing users to inspect and analyze assets, balances, and transactions within the Ethereum network. Additionally, it offers convenient ways to interact with smart contracts and monitor gas prices.


Despite its similarities to cryptocurrency wallets, it's essential to clarify that Etherscan is not a wallet service provider. It doesn't store private keys or manage incoming and outgoing transactions on the Ethereum blockchain. Instead, it exclusively provides access to public or on-chain data.


Now, let's delve into how to use Etherscan effectively and make the most of this powerful platform.

Understanding How Etherscan Functions

Etherscan operates like a search engine, meticulously indexing all Ethereum blockchain transactions. When you input wallet or token addresses into the search field, it rapidly retrieves and displays relevant information. Whether you seek successful, failed, or pending transactions, Etherscan has you covered.


You can access many of its essential features without requiring an account, although registering on Etherscan offers additional benefits. Importantly, the platform remains accessible for free, regardless of your account status.


To embark on your journey with Etherscan, all you need is a wallet address. By entering it into the search field on the homepage, you can access extensive information about Ether transactions, smart contracts, and NFTs.


The homepage also provides a comprehensive snapshot of the blockchain, offering insights such as ETH's market capitalization, the most recent Ether price, 24-hour price fluctuations, mining difficulty levels, and more.


Viewing Transactions on Etherscan

To inspect transaction details on Etherscan, simply input your wallet address in the search field or on the homepage. Etherscan will promptly display an overview page, showcasing your total wallet balance in ETH and its equivalent value in U.S. dollars (USD).


You'll find a list of your transactions on the wallet's homepage, divided into tabs for ETH, ERC-721, ERC-20 tokens, and internal transactions. Each tab presents information such as the transaction hash, transaction method, block number, initiating wallet address, and transaction status.


As you scroll down, you can navigate from the most recent transaction to older ones involving the wallet.


Reviewing Wallet and Transaction History on Etherscan

To explore your wallet's transaction history, input the wallet address in the search bar and scroll through the results. Here, you'll discover a concise summary of all tokens that have moved into and out of the wallet, including quantities, associated costs, smart contract addresses involved, and related details.


Etherscan also enables you to delve deeper into the specifics of individual transactions. By entering the transaction hash (TXID) into the search field, you'll access a page presenting comprehensive information about that particular transaction.


Inspecting Smart Contracts on Etherscan

Etherscan offers two approaches to reviewing smart contracts: reading and writing. Writing a smart contract allows you to interact with it, which can be especially helpful if a DApp experiences technical difficulties. To do this, you'll need to connect a cryptocurrency wallet like MetaMask.


Conversely, reading a smart contract entails examining its source code and details without making any alterations. To access this, input the contract address into the Etherscan search field as you would for viewing a wallet.


It's important to note that different smart contracts may present varying information on Etherscan. Tabs and features on project homepages may differ.


When reading a smart contract, you can gather information about the number of tokens within the contract, the quantity of holders, its age, and other general details. However, the availability of holder data may vary.


For a more straightforward understanding of the smart contract's source code, you can click on the "Outline" button, typically found on the right side of the screen within the "Contract" tab. This view displays all the functions used in the project, offering a simplified overview of the code.


Moreover, Etherscan provides analytics for smart contract balances and transaction fees, presented through pie charts or graphs within the "Analytics" tab.

Monitoring Gas Prices on Etherscan

Etherscan offers a gas tracker page accessible via the "More" option in the website's top menu. This page provides estimates of ETH gas fees, including low, average, and high values for various transaction actions, such as OpenSea sales, Uniswap v3, and USDT transfers. These values are updated every 15 seconds.


Additionally, you can review seven-day oracle gas prices on Etherscan, presented in graphical and tabular formats. The page also calculates the value of confirmation time multiplied by gas prices, providing a comprehensive overview of gas fees.


By analyzing these gas prices on Etherscan, you can make informed decisions about the timing of your ETH transactions. For instance, you can choose to wait for lower fees before executing swaps or purchasing NFTs.


Evaluating Gas Expenses for Individual Wallets on Etherscan

Etherscan allows you to track the total amount of ETH spent on gas fees since your initiation of activities on the Ethereum blockchain. To do this:


  1. Enter your wallet address in the search bar.
  2. Click on the "Analytics" tab on the resulting page.
  3. Select "TxnFees."


Etherscan will display a summary of the gas prices you've paid, including the average fee value.

Viewing NFTs on Etherscan

To monitor NFT transactions on Etherscan, input the smart contract address and scroll through the results. However, did you know that you can also view images of NFTs on Etherscan? Here's how:


  1. Input the correct contract address into the search bar.
  2. Click on the "Token Tracker" link on the right side of the screen.
  3. Scroll down to the transactions table on the ensuing page.
  4. Look for the "Details" column on the far right, which contains clickable "View NFT" links.


Clicking on these links will take you to pages displaying images and detailed information about the NFTs.


You can also view NFTs owned by yourself or others. Simply enter the wallet address in the search bar, choose the ERC-721 section from the wallet's home page menu, and explore the NFTs associated with that address.

Minting NFTs on Etherscan

Etherscan offers a straightforward method for minting NFTs through its ERC-721 interface. However, it's important to note that you can only mint verified contracts, which are indicated by a small checkmark next to the "Contract" tab on the project's home page.


Here's how to mint NFTs on Etherscan:

  1. Locate the smart contract address, typically found on Etherscan, the project's website, or the OpenSea NFT marketplace.
  2. Enter the smart contract address in the search field.
  3. Go to the "Contract" tab on the project's home page and click on "Write Contract."
  4. Connect your MetaMask account by clicking "Connect to Web 3.0" and selecting your account from the pop-up window.
  5. Scroll down to find the "Mint Contract" function, which may be labeled differently in various projects.
  6. Expand the "Mint" option and provide the required details, including the minting price in ETH and the number of tokens to mint.
  7. Verify your inputs, as this process is irreversible, and click "Write" to execute the minting.


While most NFTs can be minted through this process, some token contracts may request additional information.


Expediting the NFT Minting Process on Etherscan

If your NFT minting process on Etherscan is moving slowly, it may be due to bidding low gas fees. You can accelerate the process by adjusting the gas price incrementally. Increasing the gas price can help expedite the minting process.


Minting NFTs directly on Etherscan is an excellent option, particularly during highly anticipated launches when project websites are prone to crashing due to heavy traffic. Furthermore, you don't need to write your own code, making minting accessible even for those unfamiliar with coding languages.


Etherscan stands as a remarkable tool, equipped with widgets for nearly all blockchain functions. Platforms like Etherscan enhance blockchain transparency and reliability within the Ethereum network. Consequently, all Ethereum users should acquaint themselves with its operations, harnessing its insights to make well-informed trading decisions and analyze the activities of significant stakeholders.

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