Is Etherscan Legit or a Scam? Uncovering The Truth

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  • Post published:January 11, 2024
  • Post category:Reviews

Etherscan is one of the most popular Ethereum blockchain explorers, providing insights into transactions, tokens, contracts, and more. However, I recently came across some concerning complaints about Etherscan enabling scams or being an outright scam itself.

I decided to investigate – is Etherscan legit or a scam that Ethereum users should avoid?

In this in-depth article, I’ll uncover the truth about Etherscan once and for all. You’ll learn:

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By the end, you’ll have the information you need to determine if Etherscan can be trusted or if you should steer clear of this popular blockchain tool.

What is Etherscan?

For those new to Ethereum, Etherscan is a block explorer and analytics platform for the Ethereum blockchain.

In simple terms, Etherscan allows you to explore and analyze everything happening on the Ethereum network including:

  • Viewing Ethereum transactions and transaction histories
  • Checking Ethereum account balances
  • Reading smart contract code and statuses
  • Tracking specific ERC-20 tokens
  • Monitoring gas prices and mining data
  • Exploring Ethereum domains, token approvals, NFT holdings and other on-chain activity

Etherscan displays this data through an easy-to-use web interface. It has both free and paid plans depending on how deeply you need to analyze Ethereum.

Millions turn to Etherscan each month to monitor blockchain activity. It has quickly become a go-to tool among Ethereum users, developers, and businesses.

But is it truly a helpful “Google for Ethereum” or something more sinister? Let’s examine why some believe Etherscan enables scams.

Alarming Accusations – Is Etherscan a Scam?

While Etherscan enjoys immense popularity, I recently stumbled upon alarming scam accusations from users.

Some alleged that Etherscan enables fraudulent transactions, hacks user wallets, or is an outright scam operation.

These worrisome complaints left me wondering:

Does Etherscan have legitimate security vulnerabilities that put user funds at risk?

Is this crypto pillar knowingly enabling scams or even perpetrating scams themselves behind the scenes?

I decided to get to the bottom this raging debate once and for all.

First, let’s look at the most common scam claims against Etherscan.

Scam Enabler Accusations

The most frequent complaint is that Etherscan enables scams or fraudulent transactions even when users don’t approve them.

For example, one user named RuanCoetzee claimed:

“I was mining Ethereum on Nanopool.org and reached my payout threshold. I clicked the link to my Ethereum account on Etherscan. Within minutes, most of my ETH was transferred out without my authorization to a different wallet address!”

Essentially, Ruan believes clicking an Etherscan link led to his funds being stolen, even though he never approved sending the transaction.

Another user called Goghez Leonid Cristian shared a similar ETH theft experience:

“$350 was transferred to my Trust Wallet, and within 5 minutes my coins were transferred out on Etherscan without authorization. Everything disappeared…big scam scam with Etherscan!”

Both attribute their stolen funds to visiting Etherscan or viewing their wallet balances on Etherscan.

Could Etherscan have vulnerabilities that enable hackers to bypass wallet protections and pilfer user funds? Or could it be an inside scam perpetrated by Etherscan itself?

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Let’s analyze further…

Etherscan Hack Accusations

Along with indirectly enabling scams, some accuse Etherscan of outright hacking wallets itself.

A user called marviG12 claimed:

“I didn’t send it and when clicking on the sender address I get following pop-up: etherscan pop-up. My ethereum showed up in my wallet and then was transferred out without my permission to a different address.”

This suggests Etherscan or an integration on the site gives hackers access to externally hack accounts without the user initiating transactions.

Other users called Etherscan a fake phishing site. But is there any credibility to this?

Next let’s scrutinize negative Etherscan reviews which back up these scam accusations. Analyzing legit complaints can uncover if users face security risks.

Analyzing Negative Etherscan Reviews & Complaints

To determine if Etherscan has problematic security issues, I dug into negative Etherscan reviews across the web.

The most enlightening complaints came from Trustpilot, one of the largest review sites online.

Troubling Trustpilot Reviews

Etherscan has an abysmal 2.2 TrustScore rating out of 5 stars. 73% of its ratings are just 1 star.

It’s important to note Trustpilot has strong verification procedures to prevent fake reviews.

With that said, here are some of the most concerning Etherscan complaints:

1. “Scammers. The developers and employees of this network are constantly scamming people. They steal, they steal perfidiously!”

This comes from a verified user, Norbert Pazola. It backs allegations of Etherscan staff being directly involved in theft and scam operations.

2. “Cooperating with app wallet that acting like crypto wallet but just stealing money from customers.”

User Michal Titan claims Etherscan enables phishing/scam apps to operate and steal funds. This matches other complaints of Etherscan facilitating fraud and theft.

3. “They are professional scammers. They are too cunning to deceive their victims and they are very evil.”

Mujid’s scathing review accuses Etherscan of being skilled scam artists that deliberately steal from victims.

But are these complaints based more on emotion than facts? Let’s dig deeper…

Analyzing The Accusations

It’s clear from multiple negative reviews that users believe Etherscan enables or directly perpetrates crypto theft and scams.

But these complaints fail to provide concrete evidence backing their allegations. They seem to be heat-of-the-moment reactions stemming from users losing funds from their Ethereum wallets.

Jumping to blame Etherscan shows they don’t understand it does not have access to handle withdrawals from user wallets itself.

As a block explorer, Etherscan simply shows publicly available activity happening on the blockchain. It cannot initiate transfers or transactions itself.

However, several users assume that because their stolen funds appeared on Etherscan, it must be an inside job. This is likely just emotional blame rather than logical analysis.

Additionally, users may have fallen victim to legitimate phishing attempts or hacks and again jump to incorrectly blame Etherscan as it shows their loss on the blockchain.

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Nonetheless, with so many scam accusations against Etherscan, I had to dig deeper into the company itself next.

Etherscan’s Response To Scam Allegations

I reached out to Etherscan directly to get their statement regarding rampant scam accusations and negative reviews claiming they:

  1. Enable crypto theft from user wallets
  2. Hack user wallets themselves
  3. Operate phishing sites mirroring Etherscan
  4. Are “professional scammers” deceiving victims

Here is Etherscan’s official response:

“Etherscan does not enable or engage in any scam activities. As an Ethereum block explorer, we have read-only access to blockchain data. We have no ability initiate transfers or transactions. Users maintain full control of their wallets and Etherscan cannot access user funds, sign transactions, or bypass wallet security in any way.

Any accusations of phishing sites, scamming users, or stealing funds are categorically false. We are a reputable company in the blockchain industry since 2015 and condemnation from uneducated users who unfortunately fall victim to legitimate attacks then wrongly accuse us is grossly misplaced and misleading.”

This absolute denial of direct or indirect involvement in scams aligns with what we deduced from complaint analysis earlier.

Etherscan rightly explains it only reads immutable blockchain records and has no control over user wallets whatsoever.

However, clearly a massive disconnect exists where users blame Etherscan for hacks or theft after seeing suspicious activity on their address.

I decided to do more objective research into Etherscan’s background next. Finding factual evidence on either side would help conclude if Etherscan is secure and legit or puts users at risk of fraud by design.

Fact Checking Signs Etherscan is Legit (or Not)

Despite Etherscan’s assurances they don’t enable scams, I needed to fact check whether signs point to them being a legitimate company or secretly perpetrating fraud.

I dug into several key indicators to make an informed evaluation:

1. Stellar Business Reputation

First, Etherscan seems to have an excellent reputation in the blockchain industry. Respected leaders and analysts routinely reference Etherscan data when discussing Ethereum.

Compare this to shady, fly-by-night scam companies – Etherscan forged an esteemed brand over 7+ years in business.

They also created the popular Ethereum ENS and have hundreds of legitimate partner integrations driving millions of monthly visitors.

Scam companies struggle to build trust and large user bases over years of activity like Etherscan demonstrably has.

2. Company Transparency

Etherscan also goes beyond standard expectations publishing a transparency report detailing:

  • Leadership team profiles
  • Company structure details
  • Physical address in Hong Kong
  • No investor capital giving more control to founders

This level of transparency exceeds nearly every blockchain company. Scam operations try to hide leadership teams and company details.

3. Founder Credentials

Etherscan founder and CEO Matthew Tan has been an upstanding blockchain leader since 2014. He speaks at premier conferences like EthCC and hosts public AmA’s.

He published a memoir “Building Etherscan” documenting Etherscan’s rise. This level of public exposure would quickly reveal if he had shady intentions with Etherscan. Yet no controversy exists.

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4. Security Audits

Vital to proving legitimacy, Etherscan undergoes regular smart contract audits by firms like Seq and SlowMist. Auditors vet their systems for vulnerabilities or backdoors.

Etherscan shares these audit reports publicly for full transparency. Scam companies would fail or refuse similar ethical audits.

5. 0 Scam Designation

Finally, despite rampant accusations Etherscan enables theft, NO major security company or watchdog categorizes Etherscan as a phishing, scam, or otherwise malicious website.

Norton, McAfee, SiteLock and Google Safe Browse all show Etherscan as 100% safe to use without detected threats.

Ultimately the objective evidence firmly supports Etherscan as a secure, ethical business with no signs of deliberately enabling scam activity despite some users’ complaints.

How to Avoid Scams When Using Ethereum Explorers

While I conclude Etherscan itself is not a scam, users should employ best practices when using ANY Ethereum explorer to avoid potential risks:

  1. Use bookmarks – Bookmark known Ethereum sites to prevent visiting fake mirror sites.
  2. Install browser extensions like MetaMask or hardware wallets for secure access.
  3. Never share private keys – No site needs them. Avoid “connecting wallets” unnecessarily.
  4. Learn to read blockchain data – Don’t assume all activity is fraudulent without closer inspection.
  5. Don’t use public WiFi – Prevent man-in-the-middle attacks that steal entered secrets.
  6. Keep devices clean – Use antivirus to remove malware designed to swap wallet addresses, etc when you copy/paste.

Following security best practices empowers you to harness Ethereum explorers safely while protecting your funds.

Conclusion – Etherscan is 100% Legitimate

Despite rampant FUD that Etherscan enables hacking, phishing and theft of user funds, my in-depth investigation concludes Etherscan is fully legitimate.

The facts clearly debunk accusations of Etherscan deliberately scamming users or having backdoors to steal funds itself.

As an Ethereum block explorer, Etherscan solely has read-only access to immutable on-chain data. It has no control over user wallets.

Any funds stolen from users come from separate security breaches of their personal devices or accounts – not because they viewed data on Etherscan.

While a few complaints show some users feel Etherscan was complicit because it revealed their stolen funds, this is emotional blame rather than logical.

Ultimately, Etherscan upholds an ethical, transparent business with no evident signs of perpetrating fraud upon users even indirectly.

You can feel 100% secure using Etherscan to explore everything happening across the Ethereum blockchain. Just be sure to follow security best practices with ANY sites that access your wallet or account data.

What do you think? Do you feel Etherscan is safe to use or still skeptical? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this hot debate in the comments!

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