Blockstream reiterates its active commitment towards developing useful tools for Bitcoin with the launch of a slick and modern BTC block explorer. The event follows an announcement from August 2018 which promised to offer a reliable service which includes full Liquid Network compatibility and dedicated features. Therefore, the company provides a transparent and trusty way of checking out all the Bitcoin mainnet, testnet, and Liquid transactions.
The Liquid federated sidechain is Blockstream’s solution to facilitate the transfer of big amounts of BTC between exchanges and big traders. As explained by Allen Piscitello in his exclusive Crypto Insider interview, the Liquid Network reduces costs and prevents the blockchain from getting bloated with transactions. In this regard, Blockstream.info becomes the first BTC block explorer to also include Liquid network operations.
Given Blockstream’s significant financial backing, this new service takes pride in operating without ads, analytic scripts, and tracking services. Furthermore, it offers full support for confidential addresses and Bech32 addresses. Another essential feature is the live monitoring of Liquid peg-in and peg-outs, which basically means that each time someone trades between the main BTC chain and the Liquid sidechain, it will all be transparent.
We're excited to announce our new block explorer: https://t.co/BaYGrrfwHU! Search & view data on the #Bitcoin #blockchain & #LiquidNetwork. No analytics scripts, no tracking. Native support for SegWit, bech32, Tor Onion, & other modern #BTC features. ⛓️? https://t.co/ukSJUGhP9t pic.twitter.com/8qxZNnPCmM
— Blockstream (@Blockstream) November 6, 2018
Another feature that Blockstream has taken into consideration is privacy – and it’s thanks to this fundamental belief in confidentiality that the company has enabled full support for the ToR browser. Nobody has to know that you’re following a transaction, and there should be no association between your IP and the searches that you’re making through the block explorer.
Competing with Blockchain.com
This rather uncompromising focus on privacy may also come (more or less coincidentally) as a response to Blockchain.com’s decision to add Stellar (XLM) and do the biggest crypto airdrop as a way of “spreading adoption”. Right now, anyone can claim $25 worth of XLM in their wallet, and the complete amounts given out for free add up to the fabulous sum of $125 million.
— Blockchain.com (@blockchain) November 6, 2018
However, this comes with a price tag attached: you associate your e-mail address with the Blockchain.com wallet, thus losing your privacy. Though some people see this as an opportunity to load up on coins before the expected bull run, the initiative also has vocal critics. Some Twitter users have pointed out that this is a way to sign up to a KYC service that will associate all the coins in your wallet with your personal e-mail. This isn’t only about the Stellar coins that you’re receiving, but all the cryptocurrencies you’re keeping in the Blockchain.com wallet – and regaining privacy through obfuscation is going to cost a lot of time and money.
There's nothing particularly exciting or "inclusive" about a centralized token's KYC'd airdrop.
Don't sell your privacy for $25 "worth" of XLM. (and while you're at it, don't use https://t.co/kJgrWFhf2e)
— Matt Odell (@matt_odell) November 6, 2018
Currently, Blockchain.com (rebranded as Blockchain.info for the block explorer) is the biggest player in the game, has been around since 2011 and welcomes the most daily users who want to check the status of their BTC transactions. However, Blockstream.info offers extra features by allowing anyone to view testnet and Liquid transactions, and also appears to put a stronger emphasis on privacy.
In the long run, this dichotomy between KYC philanthropy and radical focus on privacy will prove to which extent the market is driven by greed or rationality. Though the early ideals of absolute confidentiality seem to dissolve in favor of a more profit-oriented approach, the existence of two free services which offer similar functions in different ways is going to reflect the status-quo of the community.
Crypto Insider has reached Blockstream CSO Samson Mow for comment, and in regards to the launch of the new block explorer he said the following:
“https://Blockstream.info is a privacy focused block explorer with the aim of providing highly accurate data for the Bitcoin ecosystem. It fully supports bech32 and SegWit natively, along with Confidential Transactions on the Liquid Network. This is just our first release and we’ll have much more functionality in the coming months.”