Perhaps not unexpectedly, it appears that blockchain.com quietly removed a critical tool from their site that enhanced transaction analysis by the site's users significantly.
Why This is an Issue
As one of the more popular blockchain explorers in the blockchain space currently - blockchain.com markets itself as a portal to gaining insight about activity on the blockchain.
However, removing a visual analysis tool from the site entirely (without prior announcement, substitution, or replacement) only serves to undermine that very cause.
Evidence That Blockchain.com Has Purposefully Obfuscated Transaction Information on its Site
The biggest plop of evidence stems from the 'Binance hack', which occurred in early May of 2019.
In specific, we're referring to the theft of 7,000 bitcoins from Binance's hot wallets in what was later surmised to be a "compromise" of user API keys and 2FA codes (this response does little to explain how the entire hot wallet itself would have been siphoned or why this event would have led to the shuttering of the exchange for over a week...but that's a different story for a different day).
Due to the magnitude of the news (Binance is the 'flagship' exchange of the blockchain space) - many users took to sites like blockchain.com in an effort to gather more information about the transfer of funds by directly analyzing the transactions themselves.
Blockchain.com Initially Provided a Visual Transaction Analysis Tool For Users
At the time of the hack, blockchain.com advertised a feature on its website (specifically on web pages dedicated to individual transactions), where users could "view" / "visualize" the transaction in an interactive manner.
Providing Proof of This Claim
Fortunately, the web archive machine still has a version of the link on blockchain.com for the Binance hack transaction.
That link can be accessed here at this URL: https://web.archive.org/web/20190508014141/https://www.blockchain.com/btc/tx/e8b406091959700dbffcff30a60b190133721e5c39e89bb5fe23c5a554ab05ea
Upon clicking the link above, all one must do is scroll down toward the bottom of the archived page in order to see this:
Where Did 'View Tree Chart' Go?
Recently, when visiting blockchain.com, Librehash attempted to find the same option on the site (as we were unaware that it had been removed - and why would one expect that it would be?).
To our dismay, not only was the option no longer available, but we couldn't find an explanation as to why it was either.
Perhaps if there were a blog post published by blockchain.com at some point prior indicating that they had decided to make this feature exclusive to subscribers / customers - we would at least be left with a plausible explanation for its current absence.
However, surprisingly, there was no such press release, alert, notification, changelog update, etc., that even alluded to the absence of this feature.
This article wasn't a lengthy one as there wasn't much to really cover here apart form the fact that it appears that blockchain.com is no longer concerning themselves with attempting to be transparent in their actions.
Why This is Troubling
At this point in time, transaction explorers are the only means that the community possesses to even attempt to get a grasp of what the major entities (which provably own the vast majority of all available cryptocurrencies) are actually doing.
The Need for Visual / Graphical Transaction Explorers
Many may think that a graphical / visual on-chain explorer is a tool that would only facilitate those that are 'new' to the world of blockchain or transaction analysis - but this is far from the case.
The primary benefit of a visual (on-chain) transaction analysis of Bitcoin (or any other blockchain for that matter) - is that it allows us to more easily show and track relationships between various entities.
This is especially important in situations where funds have been hacked / stolen / illictly obtained and must be tracked for the benefit of the community as well as all affected victims.
If the space remains without a reliable means of doing so, then general blockchain theft and hacks may continue to go unabated due to a feeling of 'helplessness' when hacks do occur.
Worst yet, even the tools that authorities have access to may be rendered less useful as they will receive fewer reports (or reliable leads with decent starting point information) as a result of the seemingly purposeful effort to create knowledge deprivation as it pertains to the functionality of Bitcoin, as a cryptocurrency, and blockchains in general.