Blockchain and transparency, these two words are interdependent. There is no blockchain ecosystem without it being transparent. This means that all blockchain transactions are fully traceable and also open to the public. Anyone can see the transaction happening on the distributed database. But for all that accumulation. . . where exactly do you find them?
Block explorer is a search engine for a blockchain network. Block explorer is a type of tool that can provide information about the contents of individual blocks and transactions that are on a blockchain. It provides an interface that allows users to search the blockchain for wallet addresses, fees, transaction data, mined blocks, token holdings, NFT ownership, and more.
There are many public blockchains, unlike the internet or the singular web. To support its users, each needs its own infrastructure, including node software, development libraries, and, of course, block explorers. As for block explorers, Ethereum has Etherscan, Solana has Solscan, BTC.com for Bitcoin and so on.
Etherscan allows users to track blocks, tokens, transactions, and wallet addresses on the Ethereum blockchain. This includes every “ERC20” token, the token standard for all fungible tokens created on Ethereum. Etherscan is like a search engine dedicated to Ethereum.
These block explorers can provide a wealth of information about the data they contain. This may contain statistics such as most valuable tokens, NFT sales and other information. This is similar to reading data from a website – it is available to everyone.
As wonderful as this all sounds, there is a big problem with these block explorers for different blockchain platforms. As far as users are concerned, the entire network can also be down if the block explorer used by a user’s wallet is down.. They suddenly lose sight of what is happening.
The idea of decentralization, which blockchain proponents tirelessly promote, is completely defeated in such cases. Due to the risk of centralization, there is a need to abandon the current model and make decentralized services the norm for users who want to query all data from blockchains.
In this context, “pure decentralization” could refer to completely decentralized API services, such as those sought by “The Graph” protocol.
The Graph: Making Centralized Search Decentralized
Indexing is a widely used method to facilitate the discovery of information. Using a technique like this, specific data entries can be retrieved without having to search through the entire database using references pointing to those entries. In truth, this strategy has its roots in physical books, where indexes are used to identify pages on which specific entries, such as book chapters, encyclopedia entries, etc., can be found. As a result, it predates the digital age to a significant extent.
It is this strategy that The Graph aims to apply to Web 3. It is an indexing system for searching information on blockchain networks like Ethereum and InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). The protocol allows for the creation of subgraphs, which are open APIs that make blockchain data easily accessible.
The Graph wants to maintain the trustlessness of the distributed ledger space by offering a fully decentralized solution. Another important distinction is that The Graph’s technology will allow dApps to access all types of blockchain data instead of data provided only by a specific data provider.
However, given the expansion of centralized exchanges, it is likely that centralized block explorers will continue to be successful.. As long as there is a sufficient selection and degree of standardization between the different services, it’s not a terrible thing.
Search beyond tokens, NFTs and crypto
The global search engines currently in use are centralized databases with limited access that everyone must trust. These search engines were largely created for Web 2 client-server architectures.
Humbl, a California-based company, is working on a similar decentralized Web3 search engine. Cyber, another platform, is currently testing an experimental prototype of a Web 3.0 search engine. Cyb.ai is basically a browser within a browser that allows users to surf the Internet. Users can use its built-in IPFS node to search and browse content, index material, and interact with decentralized applications.
With Blockchain around the corner, we should see new challengers emerge and take a stand in the existing system.