Building Lightweight Block Explorers using Pokt

Dec 30, 2019

Modern block explorers in crypto are a mixing pot of different implementations and flavors of similar codebases, with the vast majority of active explorers in the space being traceable to 4 major families of codebases

So far industry-wise, these explorer codebases have been pretty static in their core architecture and usually have only had light modification in most cases (barring some outlier closed source examples). These codebases also have very similar architectures and in some cases share code for large swathes of functionality.

Most implementations of block explorers have shared issues in relation to the handling of forks and block reorganizations.

Having a single perspective from which the network is viewed can lead to the incorrect display of Forks and Reorganizations when displaying data on an explorer, this usually requires manual reindex to solve in general cases.

By using Pokt, a trustless API for Blockchain Data, we can circumvent the issue of having a single point of view (a single full node) to view the chain by taking advantage of their SDK.

Example Architecture of a Standard Iquidus Explorer

While the architecture of block explorers in crypto as a whole could use a significant reworking to better handle modern issues correlated to tracking chains. We are using a low-tech solution to simplify handling of reorganizations and forks, which is to remove the single perspective of the full node within the block explorer architecture and instead use the Pokt SDK to query multiple Service Nodes running full nodes to get multiple perspectives on the best chain tip, and to separately add a Reorganization Handler which would use Pokt as a means to check the integrity of the chain being serviced and update the information as needed.

Dummy Architecture Using Integrating Pokt into the Iquidus Architecture

There are much better means to use Pokt for serving block data to a block explorer, but this is one of the most low-tech ways we can improve the data being served with minimal cost and effort.

Arcadia is a blockchain software development company based out of Dallas, Texas, focused on privacy-preserving technology, network scaling, and novel consensus algorithms. Arcadia as a company currently hosts a service node on the Pokt network and are active participants in the Pokt ecosystem.