Etherscan Basics – Tracking Crypto Transactions

Past and current transcations are permanently stored within Blockchains. Etherscan is a utility that allows those on the Ethereum network to be followed with relative ease. We will look at trading in a football related NFT to illustrate the basics of how to use Etherscan.

I am COURAGE #171 is a NFT created on behalf of Manchester City FC and promoting women’s football. It is listed on OpenSea and at the time of writing was last sold on 9th March 2023 to 9point6em. The OpenSea records link through to Etherscan. We can use those links and direct searches on Etherscan to see who has been trading in this and other NFTs together with some idea of where the money is going.

There are a lot of character strings going back and forth but we are going to look at wallet addresses and OpenSea user names. An individual could have any number of either and in the case of wallets finding who is behind them is not so easy.

Starting with the sale:

Here we see that …E4 has sent funds to Seaport 1.4 and received the token in exchange from …B9F.

…B9F looks to be a trader; running with the user name greentrades.eth.

Judging by the number of transactions Seaport1.4 is a busy bee and seems to be an element within OpenSea itself.

Below are the details of the transactions linked to the buyer’s wallet …E4. Funds are being transferred IN and OUT of the wallet.

..E4 currently has 1 NFT and no funds. This would make sense if they had spent the lot on a NFT but quite a bit currency is moving around.

Looking at the header buttons in grey or blue above the data columns:

  • ‘Internal Transactions’ are those running automatically within the Blockchain. These are the result of Smart Contract actions.
  • ERC-20 Token Transfers relate to the transfer of fungible tokens. These are not the same as NFTs (Non Fungible Tokens). Our wallet ..E4 had been buying some currency tokens including USD COIN and BONE SHIBASWAP.
  • NFT Transfers are what they appear to be. The …E4 wallet is linked to 3 purchases and 1 sale.

1 day and 12 hours ago was a transfer out to …22ac.

Moving to ..22ac’s account we see the 0.03464766 ETH coming in but minus a transaction fee it goes out again almost immediately to …8a8.

There is some serious action over at …8a8 and a healthy balance.

Scrolling through the transactions of ..8a8 the crypto input from …22ac shows up at the expected time minus more fees.

Anyone making use of cryptocurrencies needs to be aware of what can be seen and what they might be divulging. The wallet addresses are almost impossible to decipher but account names and details from other platforms that those wallets access, such as OpenSea might give a clue as to owners of significant funds and attract fraudsters.

A simple security precaution is to transfer funds to off-line or ‘cold’ wallets. The existence of such funds might still be traceable but they will not be vulnerable to on-line attacks. Funds can also be moved through linked wallets and even onto other Blockchain currencies making tracking very much harder but at a cost of increasing gas fees. For the fraudster this would be a small cost to ensure anonymity and to protect their ill-gotten gains. Splitting up deposits and sending them along different routes together with slight delays to disrupt tracking timestamps further clouds the money trail.

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