Say what you will about Blockstream: blame them for putting together the most brilliant minds in cryptography and distributed systems, accuse them of centralizing development, and ultimately question the benevolence of some of the most prominent figures. However, you can’t contest the company’s cypherpunk ethos or deny the usefulness of its developments. Furthermore, as we’ve seen this fall, every major release is open-sourced in order to have the code consulted, evaluated, and even forked for other purposes.
On December 6th 2018, Blockstream has announced the launch of Esplora. Just a month ago, the company has released Blockstream.info, the first block explorer to focus on advanced privacy features and include support for the Liquid sidechain. Consequently, in the true spirit of open and transparent development, Blockstream has released the source code behind their previous product.
According to the official statement, “Esplora is based on a number of open source components. Using a modified Electrs, a Rust implementation of Electrum Server written by Roman Zeyde, Esplora indexes blockchain data quickly from Bitcoin Core and Liquid full node software.”
The technology includes support for the mainnet and testnet of Bitcoin, as well as Liquid. Bench32 and confidential addresses are also included, but enthusiasts can also make use of link peg-ins and peg-outs between Bitcoin and Liquid, as well as a light mode for reduced resource use. Now anyone who has interest in this source code can contribute to the Blockstream.info project, build new extensions, or even create new and independent blockchain explorers.
This is great news for the entire market of blockchain explorers, as features that used to be unique and proprietary of Blockstream can be implemented with ease and universalized. One can also regard this as a way of standardizing Liquid by extending its reach among passionate coders who might get drawn to more advanced features. And ultimately, it’s one step closer to taking privacy and confidentiality into the mainstream of blockchain software.
Crypto Insider has contacted Blockstream CSO Samson Mow in order to comment on the importance of Esplora’s launch. His reponse was the following:
“A high performance, accurate, & open source block explorer like Esplora is strategically important for the Bitcoin ecosystem. Many current explorers are owned/run by entitles that have been/are hostile to BTC. It’s a social attack vector in times of a contentious split.” – Samson Mow
Cover image credit: Blockstream