Tracking Cryptocurrency Transactions
Public blockchains like bitcoin and most other blockchains have their data publicly accessible. This means we can see everything that happens on the blockchain. But, have you ever tried browsing or exploring the blockchain data?
Block explorers are web applications that work just like web browsers, they help you browse the blockchain the same way a web browser helps you browse the web. Each blockchain has its own block explorer. Just as there is a block explorer for the bitcoin blockchain there is a different one for the ethereum blockchain. So you can’t use the ethereum block explorer to browse the bitcoin blockchain. But some block explorers like blockchair combine up to 10 of them in a single web application.
To find the block explorer of a coins blockchain you can access it from your wallet or search for it on your web browser. A simple Google Search should do the job. Some wallets like the Jaxx liberty wallet have an inbuilt blockexplorer.
The circled transaction Id on the Exodus wallet is a link to a block explorer which has information about this transaction.
Here comes the fun part we’ll be tracking transactions carried out on a random address on the bitcoin blockchain using the blockchain.com explorer.
The search bar from blockchain.com explorer can take address, transaction and block height arguments.We’ll be entering an address.
Address Used: 1Po1oWkD2LmodfkBYiAktwh76vkF93LKnh.
Entering the address in the search bar we get the above from which we can see the address balance, total received and total spent.
Scrolling down we see the list of transactions the address has ever engaged in since it was first recorded on the blockchain. The first transaction shows that 0.00000546 BTC was transferred to 175oV7qoR4VDwbGwbWtVQ8nJJZgmG1XzxQ and 0.00002184 BTC was sent back as change to the sending address with a fee of 0.00100000 BTC. The red rectangle shows that it was a spend or debit transaction, 0.00100546 BTC was the total amount spent on fees and a part of it was also sent to the receiving address. A green rectangle would have meant a receive or credit transaction.
The blockexplorer has given us all information pertaining to this address and all its transactions. Although each address is a pseudonym representing each blockchain user we can easily get anybody’s address by simply asking for it 😉, and tracking all the transactions they ever carry with that address, provided they do not lose their wallets or do a coin mix. You should however note that most wallets make sure an address is used only once notwithstanding, following the change address still let’s us track his transactions.
The data being public is fun but this has led to privacy issues since all our activities are public and trackable. If you want to keep your transactions and other blockchain other activities private try using a privacy coin like Monero, Zcash or Dash’s private send feature.
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