Exploring the Blockchain – Part1

A few days ago I decided that I wanted to learn more about the Blockchain. So I started reading various documentations, browsed through GitHub, watched video’s online and finally took the online training at the Microsoft Virtual Academy “Microsoft Blockchain as a Service”. I guess this is only the beginning as there is so much more to explore in this field. But today I want to share with you the first steps I took trying to understand how this all works.

The first thing I needed was a Blockchain where I can play around. When you download the Ethereum Wallet you can access the Main network, the test network or run a local blockchain node, but while I was looking into that, I came across a much easier and (for me as a Blockchain newbie) more comprehensive solution called “Ganache” Ganache is a one click ethereum blockchain which you can use to run tests, execute commands, and inspect state while controlling how the chain operates.

Ganache is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. I am going to use the Windows version. here. So let’s install it.

When starting the Ganache Application , it automatically creates 10 accounts. Each account gets an initial 100 ETH assigned.


There is no need to run a miner for generating new blocks, since it has an build in miner.


When we select the Blocks option, we see that the first block has been created.


Since we haven’t executed any transactions on the blockchain yet, the block has no transactions.


Okay, so we now have a local blockchain running that is waiting for some transactions. We could now setup some wallets for the test accounts and transfer ETHs, but since I am on a journey to learn how things actually work, I came across the web3 JavaScript API for Ethereum.

If you haven’t installed Node.js yet, you can download it from here: https://nodejs.org/en/download/

Next open a command prompt and create a folder like C:\DEV\Web3NodeJS


Then install the Ethereum JavaScript API with the following command:

npm install web3@0.20.3

(I specified the version, as this is the version where things worked for me).

Once installed, you should have the following content within the folder.



Now let’s start Node. Enter ‘Node’ at the command prompt.


then enter the following 2 lines of code:

Web3 = require(‘web3’);

web3 = new Web3(new Web3.providers.HttpProvider(http://localhost:7545));

Note that the above specified port relates to the local RPC server.



Now that we have a connection, we can start communicating with our local Blockchain. Let’s start with some simple commands:

at the prompt enter: web3.eth


to get a list of all the accounts enter.



These should be the same accounts that you see in the Ganache application. Now let’s take a look at the balances of the first 3 accounts.



And now we transfer some ETH from one account to another. We send 5 ETH from the 3rd account to the 2nd account.

web3.eth.sendTransaction({from: ‘0xC5fdf4076b8F3A5357c5E395ab970B5B54098Fef’, to: ‘0xf17f52151ebef6c7334fad080c5704d77216b732’, value: web3.toWei(5, ‘ether’), gasLimit: 21000, gasPrice: 20000000000})


Switch back to the Ganache application and check the account balance.


The next block has been created which includes the transaction.


Now let’s take a look at the transaction itself.


1. the transaction ID

2. The sender address

3. The receiver address

4. the value we transferred = 5

Now let’s switch back to the Node console and enter the following command to retrieve the details for Block 1.



Now let’s look at the transaction details. Note that I took the transaction ID from the output above.



That’s it for today, I hope you enjoyed the article. I am currently looking at creating contracts within Ethereum, I’ll share my learnings with that anytime soon.


What is Ethereum?



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