Chainlens Blockchain Explorer for Substrate and WASM

Web3 Labs’ Chainlens blockchain explorer and analytics platform now supports ink! smart contracts on Substrate networks.

Chainlens Substrate Explorer Dashboard
Chainlens isn’t just for EVM chains!

Chainlens Blockchain Explorer

Chainlens is a blockchain explorer and analytics platform. It provides a view of activity taking place on-chain as it happens. It provides a rich API, and easy-to-use interface to provide information on the various assets such as tokens and smart contracts deployed on blockchains.

Chainlens historically supported Ethereum networks. It was written for Ethereum-compatible networks running both publicly and privately. 

Those Ethereum-compatible networks included those running on top of Substrate via its EVM pallet. As a result of this, it made sense to think about how better we could support the Substrate ecosystem.

Last year this came to fruition through discussions with the Parity team, who mentioned a need to support Substrate’s !ink smart contract language.

What is ink!?

ink! is an embedded domain-specific language (eDSL) for Rust that compiles to WebAssembly. Smart contracts written in ink! can be deployed to and executed by Substrate's contracts pallet. Whilst ink! is the main smart contract language for the contracts pallet, other languages such as Ask! (AssemblyScript compiled to Wasm) and solang (Solidity compiled to Wasm) are also supported.

ink! smart contract and substrate contracts pallet overview

Since smart contracts on the contracts pallet work differently to smart contracts running in EVM, custom support needs to be added to index and display data emitted by the pallet. Hence support needed to be added for blockchain explorers and other data and analytics platforms.

During this past year, we commenced work on creating a blockchain explorer for Substrate’s contracts pallet, and this work culminated in creating a new modular version of our Chainlens explorer. 

Chainlens Substrate Explorer for Substrate’s contracts pallet

 If you’d like to see it in action, there is a version already live on the Rococo testnet, which is available publicly.

Some of the contracts deployed on Rococo already have source code uploaded for them, such as in the below example.

Smart contracts deployed on Rococo in Chainlens Substrate Explorer

 Look here to access this contract.

!ink is a relatively new language, as such the wider ecosystem of tooling is currently expanding, and we’re collaborating with the ink! team on identifying critical features required for the ecosystem.

We are continually adding new features, for instance, the decoding of events emitted by contracts will be available imminently.

For more information on the project, you can head to its GitHub repository, or reach out directly to the Web3 Labs team on Discord, especially if you have specific features you’d like to see in it.

If you’re interested in us hosting a version of the Chainlens Blockchain Explorer for your project — either EVM or for !ink, please feel free to drop us a message.

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