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What is a Block?
A Block is a form of data structure that contains several transactions that are permanently stored on the public ledger. Once the transactions for a block have been chosen and included in the block, the block is linked to the previous block and then signed with a digital signature.
Blockchain technology was invented to overcome the shortcomings of traditional ledger databases, in particular the security and integrity of existing systems. For example, a traditional ledger could easily have a monetary value in a transaction altered without any major impacts to the system. It would take an audit of the transactions to find the altered value.
Blockchain technology by design will fail if any of the previously included transactions are tampered with. As in, the chain will be broken because the digital signature of the tampered block will be different and therefore will no longer link to the next block. To verify the integrity of the blockchain, all nodes that receive a block verifies every transaction inside the block, validates the link to the previous block and checks that the signatures are authentic. Once a node verifies that a block is genuine, it adds it to its own self-contained blockchain and waits for the next block.
Cardano is different in the way it creates blocks compared to Bitcoin and Ethereum. Bitcoin is based on Proof-Of-Work, which is based on the concept of brute-forcing a cryptographic hash, and the first node to solve it can create the block and submit it for validation against the other nodes. Proof-Of-Work is very energy intensive and is therefore not a practical way of choosing block producers.
Cardano uses a concept called Proof-Of-Stake, which has a balance of randomness along with a lottery system. Every Cardano Block is assigned a Slot. A Slot is a specific point in time to the second. It is therefore not possible to have two Blocks assigned to the same Slot.
The Proof-Of-Stake protocol (known as Ouroboros in Cardano), uses the concept of a Pool. A Cardano Pool is a group of ADA holders who use their ADA to vote for a pool. The more ADA a pool has staked, the more likely the pool will be selected to become a Slot Leader.
The Slot Leader selection process uses almost the same amount of energy as an idle computer and is therefore a lot more environmentally friendly.
Once a pool is selected to become a Slot Leader, it can then select the waiting transactions and add them to the block and sign it.
If more than one pool is selected to produce a block for a particular slot, it will create what is known as a “fork” event which is a second chain. The Cardano protocol has several protections in place to let the running nodes know which chain to follow and is very quick to resolve.
To view Blocks on the Cardano (ADA) Blockchain, you need to use a Blockchain Explorer, or unofficially known as an Ada Explorer, or Cardano Scanner. ADATools is a Cardano (ADA) Blockchain Explorer that allows you to view the transactions that were included inside the accepted blocks. The transactions inside the accepted blocks can then be explored and analysed to see the transferred ADA and Tokens.
To view a block, use the table above to select the Block Number. You can also use the search bar on the home page to find a Block by its umber or the Slot that it was created in.
ADATools is a Blockchain Explorer and Analytics Platform for Cardano, a third-generation, energy efficient, decentralized smart contracts platform.