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New Ethereum Explorer Feature: VM Trace

You can now view the computational steps by which an Ethereum contract is created or invoked. Ethereum contracts are software programs that are executed in the so-called Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). Contracts are created or invoked via transactions and each of these transactions involve a sequence of EVM operations, which are now displayed within the ‘VM Trace’ section of the corresponding transaction.

VM Trace allows for an increased level of auditability for any contract on the Ethereum blockchain. You may also find this feature useful for debugging Ethereum contracts, comparable to conventional debuggers that allow single-stepping through individual machine instructions.

Per the screenshot below of the creation transaction for a sample contract, you can now view the sequence of operations along with updates to the execution’s stack and memory, as well as the contract’s storage at each step.

Contract Creation5

Within the ‘VM Trace’ section, the list of operations that occurred is now displayed in a table format. The columns include: Opcode (operation code), PC (program counter), Gas Cost (amount of gas used to execute the given step), and Gas Remaining (remaining amount of gas in the transaction).

Similarly, steps within the invocation transaction for the same contract can also be viewed on TradeBlock’s live Ethereum blockchain explorer.

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