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Most crypto investors use dedicated portfolio trackers to monitor their assets. But only a few know that you can get the same wealth of data from a regular Ethereum block explorer, including the value of your coins in USD and the portfolio’s performance chart.
Why and how regular investors monitor portfolios
How do you know if your crypto portfolio is performing well? Lots of wallets will show you the current value of your assets in USD, but that’s just a snapshot. You need to see how the portfolio’s value has changed over time to decide which assets to sell for profit and which to keep as long-term investments.
For this reason, most crypto users who hold more than three different coins sooner or later start using some sort of portfolio tracker. There are dozens on the market, including Blockfolio, CoinTracker, CoinStats, Delta and more.
Six problems with using a tracker app
While the popular portfolio monitors definitely do their jobs, they have a few issues.
1. You have to set up an account and link a wallet. Many trackers (for example, CoinTracker) let you do that using a Google or Coinbase account, but it’s still an additional stepou can’t just go to a page, paste your address and see what your assets are worth. Some trackers even require that you add each asset separately.
2. Potential security concerns. The best trackers require read-only access. Nonetheless, there are still some risks. For example, a phisher could create a copy of the tracker website to trick you into logging in, or the tracker’s database could get hacked. Basically, using a tracker always means some degree of de-anonymizationand the longer you use it, the more you expose yourself.
3. Advanced features are premium. Most trackers offer only a very basic set of features for free. You have to pay for full analyticsand that means additional exposure of your data.
4. Limited depthnderstanding how your portfolio’s value has fluctuated over time can be a problem. Often, you can’t get detailed historical data beyond a certain point in the past, or it takes too long to display it.
5. It’s not possible to track large addresses. Tracker apps aren’t designed to monitor addresses with thousands of transactions and hundreds of tokens, such as exchange wallets. Even if it’s technically possible, it will cost too much.
6. Not all exchanges and wallets are supported. Most trackers have dozens of exchange and wallet integrations but not all allow you to add a random address.
Learn to monitor your assets without a portfolio tracker
What most people don’t realize is that you can also track a portfolio using a blockchain explorer – yes, the same explorer you use to see the status of a transaction, check where your crypto came from or view the average mining fee.
The main advantage of Ethereum monitors is that they can provide you with all the same information that dedicated portfolio trackers do but without the need to set up an account or link a wallet. This is preferred if you do not want to disclose your personal data to third parties. Simply enter your wallet address in the search field – the same field where you normally paste the transaction ID – and hit “Search.”
However, not all monitors have the same functionality. For example, Etherscan gives you a historical chart and the USD value of the ether in your portfolio if you click on the Analytics tab a Binance wallet is used as an example.
Blockchain.com allows you to research the general situation on the network. The growth in the number of active addresses, the average transaction size, the number of large transactions, the concentration of whales on the network and many other data that can be useful to analysts and researchers are available here for free.
Blockchair allows you to investigate the status of the new Ethereum 2.0 network, study validator deposits, the pace of network development and export data for free in a convenient format for further use.
At the same time, Etherscan offers no way to see how much your whole portfolio (ether plus ERC20 tokens) was worth on a specific date. However, you can view your historical balance for each token separately – a feature that Ethplorer and some other monitors don’t have.
One downside is that the balance is displayed in tokens, not in USD. Considering how volatile crypto prices are, that doesn’t help you evaluate how your investments are doing in the fiat equivalent, but there are many other ways to leverage this information. For instance, if you track the address of an exchange and see that its BNB balance has been increasing, it may signify an upcoming sell-off.
By contrast, searching for the same address on Ethplorer will give you a summary of its portfolio, including the total value in USD with all tokens. There is also a historical performance chart, where you can choose between different views one month, six months, a date range and so on.
That’s essentially what you look for in a portfolio tracker – the whole portfolio’s value in USD on any given date in the past.
Why block explorers are a better way to track portfolios
Using a free explorer as a portfolio tracker works for any Ethereum address, even if you’ve never copied it into a particular tracker before. That’s because all the information on the blockchain is aggregated automatically, so the tracker can instantly pull it up straight from the ledger and then use price oracles to calculate the assets’ value. The address doesn’t even have to be your own. For example, you can put in the address of an exchange and see how much its holdings were worth last week or last month or last year – no matter how many different tokens it holds.
Another advantage is that the data is gathered and displayed faster than in any tracker app – and for the whole period since the address was created. Moreover, you can click on any asset in the list to see its price chart, market cap, trading volume, contract address and more.
Portfolio monitoring apps are fine, but you don’t really need them to track your assets. Using monitors like Ethplorer, Etherscan, Blockchair, Blockchain.com and many others is faster, easier and more private than using a special tracker app. This way, you can monitor any address and any wallet – in complete privacy and from any device.
Nick Bel is a cryptocurrency enthusiast and tech writer based in London. He is passionate about finance and emerging technologies such as blockchain, cryptocurrency and artificial intelligence.