Your Questions Answered: Blockchain Explorers

March 5, 2023

What is a Blockchain Explorer?

A blockchain explorer is a web-based tool that enables users to browse and search for information on a blockchain. It is a user interface that displays data from the blockchain in a way that is easy to understand. Blockchain explorers allow users to view transaction histories, see balances, track network activity, and more.

How Does a Blockchain Explorer Work?

A blockchain explorer works by connecting to a node on the blockchain network. A node is a computer that stores a copy of the blockchain and communicates with other nodes to verify transactions. When a user requests information from the blockchain explorer, the explorer sends a query to the connected node and displays the data received from the node.

Why are Blockchain Explorers Important?

Blockchain explorers play a crucial role in the blockchain ecosystem. They provide transparency and accountability by enabling anyone to view transactions on the blockchain. This helps to build trust in the system and allows users to verify that transactions are legitimate. 

Types of Blockchain Explorers:

There are several types of blockchain explorers, including:

  1. Public Explorers - These are open to anyone and allow users to view all transactions on the blockchain.
  2. Private Explorers - These are restricted to a particular group of users and only display transactions that are relevant to that group.
  3. Multichain Explorers - These explorers support multiple blockchains and allow users to view data from different blockchains in one place.
  4. Open Source Explorers - These are explorers whose source code is publicly available and can be modified by developers to suit their needs.

How often is a blockchain explorer updated?

The frequency of updates for a blockchain explorer depends on the blockchain it is connected to and the type of data being displayed. Generally, blockchain explorers are updated in real-time, meaning that the explorer will display the updated information as soon as a new block is added to the blockchain.

However, some blockchains may have longer block times or slower network speeds, which can cause delays in updating the blockchain explorer. In some cases, blockchain explorers may only update every few minutes or even every hour, depending on the blockchain.

It's worth noting that blockchain explorers may also have different levels of data granularity. For example, some blockchain explorers may only display basic information, such as transaction amounts and confirmation times. In contrast, others may provide more detailed data, such as the transaction hash and block height.

Ultimately, the frequency of updates for a blockchain explorer depends on several factors, including the speed of the blockchain network, the amount of data being displayed, and the capabilities of the explorer itself.

Are there any blockchain explorers that are better than others, and if so, why?

Many blockchain explorers are available, each with its strengths and weaknesses. Some blockchain explorers may be better than others, depending on the user's specific use case or requirements. Here are some factors to consider when evaluating the quality of a blockchain explorer:

  1. User Interface: A well-designed and user-friendly interface can make navigating and understanding the displayed data easier.
  2. Data Granularity: Some blockchain explorers may only display basic information, while others may provide more detailed data such as transaction hashes or metadata. Depending on the use case, more granular data may be necessary.
  3. Blockchains Supported: Some blockchain explorers may only support a specific blockchain or network, while others may support multiple blockchains. Accessing data from numerous blockchains may be necessary for users who work across different networks.
  4. Speed and Reliability: The speed and reliability of a blockchain explorer can affect its usefulness. A slow or unreliable explorer may hinder accessing and analyzing data.
  5. Features and Tools: Some blockchain explorers may offer additional features, such as search filters or analysis tools, that make finding and analyzing data easier.
  6. Privacy and Security: The privacy and security of a blockchain explorer can also be important, particularly for users who are working with sensitive data.

Ultimately, the "best" blockchain explorer will depend on the specific needs and preferences of the user. It's important to evaluate different options based on the most critical factors for your use case and to choose a reliable, secure explorer that provides the data and features you need.

Zinnia Network’s block explorer is called Navigator. We have created it in such a way as to give all users easy access to our network data from multiple search points with a simple-to-use interface. You’ll find detailed information on transactions, block activity, voting/staking statistics, network economics, and more.