August 31, 2022. Mastering the use of blockchain explorers, or block explorers, is an indispensable skill for any blockchain investigators. This short article will serve as a quick introduction primer to the use of block explorer to navigate the various views to assist you with your investigation.
In its simplest form, a block explorer is an online tool that enables you to search for both real-time and historical information about a blockchain blocks, transactions, addresses and more.
Why do you want to use a block explorer? Possible use cases include:
check the status of a transaction if you’re buying or selling crypto.
obtain information associated with your blockchain address, including your transaction history, the total value of the assets held at the address, the total amount of crypto received at the address, and the total amount of crypto sent from the address, among other data points.
review interactions with any other smart contracts
review transactions related to tokens
What are examples of block explorers? Every blockchain network has its own blockchain explorer. For Ethereum, etherscan.io is the de facto king. Bitcoin has several blockchain explorers, and our favorite is blockchair.com. For Binance Chain, formerly Binance Smart Chain, BNB Smart Chain Explorer is what we use.
The block explorer typically has a search bar where you can search by address, transaction hash, block, token name, or other supported attributes. Here is an example of the search bar on BNB Smart Chain Explorer. We choose to highlight examples below using BNB Smart Chain because most scams tend to take place there.
Using information from Web3rekt.com's on Cryptogodz (https://www.web3rekt.com/hacksandscams/cryptogodz-1076), we can demonstrate some capabilities of the BNB Smart Chain Explorer.
Most explorers offer partial search for addresses, thus the full address can be determined if most of the starting portion is known as shown below for the partial search for Godz's deployer address.
For tokens search, the block explorer expects a token contract address and that token contract address is retrievable where shown below.
Data retrieved from an address query typically comes in two views:
1. Summary of transactions from the queried address
2. Details from a specific transaction from the queried address. For example, details from the first transaction from Step 1.
These two views will serve to assist tracing with native cryptocurrency, or BNB in our example shown here.
From the transaction summary for a given address, you can also observe token transactions related to the same address by selecting BEP-20 Token Txns.
Furthermore, by using the View All button, you can also filter token transfers to specific address across its history.
Lastly, Internal Txns view shows transactions which are transactions that may originate other contracts and not from the user account. This is one of several common ways where a transaction in a scam can be obfuscated.
That concludes our brief discussion on how to use block explorers to begin your crypto investigation journey.