What is a Block Explorer?

What is a Block Explorer?

A block explorer is an online blockchain browser which displays the contents of individual cryptocurrency blocks, transactions, the transaction histories and balances of addresses. A Bitcoin block explorer is used for exploring the bitcoin blockchain while other block explorers may be specific to other cryptocurrencies.

Popular Block Explorers

As you go further and further down the bitcoin rabbit hole, you will probably find yourself needing some information on a particular transaction, address, block or hash. The following block explorers are the most popular in the bitcoin space for finding out just about any information that the blockchain has to offer. It will definitely benefit you to learn how they all work and what they can do for you.

Blockchain.Info

Blockchain.info is not only one of the first block explorers but it probably one of the most trusted sources for data on the bitcoin blockchain. It is equipped with several useful bitcoin tools such as an HD wallet, charts and a robust API that includes some merchant tools and a donate button. One of the things that I personally do not like about their wallet is that you are required to sign in with an e.mail address which means that this is not a zero-knowledge nor a permissionless wallet and this can erode your personal privacy.

Blockchain.info

Blockonomics.co

Blockonomics.co is my personal favorite block explorer primarily because of its simplicity and privacy enhancing features. Not only does it provide some great visual features, it is also equipped with a permissionless, zero-knowledge merchant service such as an invoice generator that is pegged to a fiat price rather than a bitcoin price. This means that you can sell goods for bitcoin but price them in a fiat currency so you don’t have to worry about bitcoin price volatility. I have spoken highly of this service in the past and I personally believe this service has the potential to be the most useful block explorer in the bitcoin space.

Blockonomics.co

BlockExplorer.com

BlockExplorer.com is probably the most obviously named block explorer. It is able to give you basic information on the blockchain and has some basic API services. According to their landing page they are “an open source web tool that allows you to view information about blocks, addresses, and transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain. Their source code is available on GitHub.

blockexplorer.com

Additional Block Explorers

There are probably dozens of block explorers and I will end up making this post 2,000 words if I list them all in detail but here are a few others that you might like.
Blockr.io
Blocktrail.com
BlockCypher.com

What is a bitcoin term that you would like us to define for you? Let us know with a comment below or a tweet at @WhatIsBitcoin.

Donate Bitcoin