If you want to know what’s going on within the Ethereum network, then you need to become familiar with block explorers. They are extremely useful tools for checking on the state of the network, individual transfers, contract calls and more. Many also provide details around tokens.
These services are all free to use, which shouldn’t be underestimated, considering the time and expense it takes to maintain and develop. For the last few months, every day, there are 500,000+ transactions on Ethereum. These are all logged by block explorers, and fed back to you in a (relatively) easy to digest format.
But which one should you be using? Let’s explore the options.
The original and overall best block explorer for Ethereum. You can check pretty much anything, diving deep into mined blocks, transactions and addresses. It’s got a load of other cool tools like checkers for gas, nodes and DEXs, along with some interesting charts & stats.
It’s very easy to see what has been coming in and out an address, and for each transaction you can check status (in real time), block height, gas stats, tx cost, etc.
They also have a comprehensive token list (covering both ERC-20 & ERC-721), where you can see the various assets that have been launched on Ethereum, and dig into details like top holders, price history, volume, circulating supply, ICO info, exchanges, etc.
While Etherscan is awesome, and for many will be the go-to tool, it’s nice to have some alternatives that do a few different things, or present the information in a different or simplified way. In no particular order, here 10 other sites that I like.
The Old Hands
A couple of explorers have been around almost as long as Etherscan
Built by the Everex team, who seem to have their fingers in a few pies. They also have a wallet (who doesn’t these days…) and seem to be messing around with blockchain powered money transfers.
One nice feature of Ethplorer is a chart that tracks the $ price of your address balance, and also shows transfer volume.
Ethplorer also has a solid focus on tokens, and you can find most of the key information (although they lack descriptions and links). It’s easy to see at see at a glance the token balance in your address, as well as the price fluctuations.
Every token has a profile, where you can check the ‘pulse’, which reveals the price as well as onchain ‘operations’ (transaction count).
Very similar to Etherscan, with a slightly more appealing interface. It’s got a lot of similar charts and tools (one unique thing I noticed was the Unit Converter, useful if you’ve ever wondered about the difference between a WEI, Szabo or Finney)
The address overview is compact and gives you all the required info, and it’s very easy to see what you have sent and received over time (displayed in chart form as well, by clicking on ‘History’ tab).
A major feature that is lacking is the token explorer. Input a token address and you will not get anything useful.
New kids on the Block.
These projects have popped up in the last few months
Built by the POA Network team, who saw the need for an open source block explorer. A very cool bit of infrastructure that can be examined and utilized from their GitHub. Their ultimate goal is to cover everything on Ethereum, from transactions and block information, token values to sidechains and private chains.
The address interface has everything you would expect to see, and identifies clearly between transactions, token transfers, contract calls, and so on, which is very useful and lacking in most other explorers.
The token explorer is however very limited and not pulling through recent transfers, but as a note informs, the chain is still being indexed, so I hope this aspect will be improved over time.
A very fast and nice looking explorer that was only released in December 2018 by the EnjinCoin team. It not only supports Ethereum (along with ERC-20, 721 & 1155 tokens), but also Bitcoin and Litecoin.
The address interface crams a lot into a tabular format, which might be a bit crowded for some. However, the key info is all clearly displayed, with token transfers separated into its own tab.
The token explorer covers basic details, holders and transfers.
In my opinion, EnjinX can boast the best looking ranking by marketcap of over 1000 ERC-20 tokens. However, it’s a shame that it doesn’t also let you rank by onchain activity or number of holders.
Originally built as block explorers for Bitcoin, these services have diversified to include Ethereum.
Rather basic, shows what has been sent and received, so good for quick checks.
Again, covers the basics of Ins and Outs, but nothing much to dig into. Nice colourful representation of token holdings, and has a functional token explorer.
Down the Rabbithole.
These services offer something a little bit different.
This is one serious piece of kit. If it’s happening on Ethereum, Bloxy is intent on letting you know about it. For simply checking transactions, it’s a bit of overkill, and quite confusing when you first fire it up. However, if you want to see everything that is going on within your address, this is where you need to go.
- Sent + Received
- Activities by month graph
- Calls to smart contracts
- Relations with other addresses
- Portfolio analysis
Bloxy also has you covered for comprehensive analysis of of tokens. I could write another long post about all the things that you could find out around individual and grouped tokens, but as an overview of features:
- Onchain activities (daily + monthly graphs)
- Contract calls
- Holders (distributions, historical growth, owner intersection with other tokens)
- DEX trades
Bloxy covers ERC-20, 721, 223 + 827. While you can see the most transferred tokens at a glance, I don’t find this especially useful, as most are shitcoins I’ve never heard of. I’d much rather see a list by marketcap or unique senders, as (in my opinion) this gives a better indication of interesting projects.
A couple more things. Great API, and very cool Analytical Reports.
Quite similar to Bloxy, in that you can access a some intriguing data around transactions and tokens. It also lists ERC-721 collectibles in an appealingly visual way, and reminded me of some I’d forgotten about.
However, overall Amber Data feels a bit limited, and the interface is confusing. For example, while it’s easy to see what’s been sent and received, you can only view a graph of account history for 30 days, and ‘No Addresses were found’ for Incoming Volume by Address.
The token view has some nice graphs (especially Incoming Volume by Address), but again limited to only 30 days. The Contract Activity and Adoption & Usage graphs I do not find especially useful, due to the confusing terms that are poorly defined (eg. EOA to Contract Transactions or Unique Address Interactions).
Lastly, the token list seems wildly inaccurate, especially when considering marketcap. According to this, VERI and something I’ve never heard of called XCEL have higher markecaps than BNB and MKR — something’s gone wrong here!
A very interesting way to visualize Ethereum network, that makes exploring transfers much more interactive.
It’s quite easy to get lost in the maze of transfers and connections, but nonetheless a cool tool for seeing how active an address is, and where the larger transactions are heading to and from.
A nice touch is the categorization of addresses, so you can easily identify whales, small fish, exchanges, scams, etc.
Sprung out of Alethio data studios (which is one of the major Consensys projects), this explorer takes some getting used, but once you do it’s seriously cool and very beautiful to look at.
The address interface shows you the value of your portfolio, with distribution of ETH and tokens, charting the rise and fall over time.
Of course you can dive deeper into the transactions, and it even visualizes where in the block your transaction fell.
While you can search token addresses, and get an overview of the activity, there isn’t a dedicated token explorer per se. But I don’t think Alethio will be resting on their laurels, so I’d expect to see a token explorer before too long.
So there you have it. Some alternatives to Etherscan. Let me know what your preference is?
Also, if token exploration is your thing, I’ve been working on Trivial, attempting to provide information and insights into ERC-20 tokens on Ethereum.