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I imagine downloading the blockchain ends up being just asking for transactions and getting their states, receipts, etc. Functionally, I would hope there is a way to do that without initiating a blockchain sync from Geth.

Is there a way to use geth to download one specific transaction state with receipt, without initiating an entire blockchain sync? Essentially using it as a blockchain "explorer."

I have no need to create or use a wallet. Just a need to look up transactions for verification at times.

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Seems, a geth light client might be what you need. If not critical, could use a public node like infura.

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If you want let's say fetch contract events, light mode won't show past one (I'm not sure but from what I know it's not)

Also I'm pretty sure infura node can't fetch events as well.

Try: https://github.com/MetaMask/provider-engine

Or even metamask itself, create an account for test,then build a js dapp where you filter or fetch the data you need, so you don't need geth syncing or any blockchain data, only metamask adn your app that interact with the blockchain.

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