What Is Crypto Address?
A crypto address is a unique virtual address assigned to a wallet to receive and send digital assets. Every address is special, so funds don’t get transferred into the wrong hands. Considering the immutable nature of cryptocurrencies, the ability of a wallet to create a unique address every time a user needs is a protection measure.
Crypto addresses are somehow similar to our home and email addresses. However, they are unfathomable to humans as they are created and used by computers (similar to binary numbers if added alphabets). A crypto address that is unpredictable and used once only becomes almost untraceable, which as a result, provides satisfaction and a sense of security to crypto traders.
Crypto addresses are usually public (except the privacy-based wallets); anyone can see the transactions and the amount being carried out to and from an address. To become incognito, experts advise generating a string-like address that must be of an adequate length and a combination of alphabets and numbers. Using a new address every time makes it impossible for others to know where your funds come from and where they vanish. If an address resembles the name or email address of the owner, its chances of becoming a subject to hacking attempts increase significantly.
A crypto address is only used as a reference or identifier, so it can’t store assets. The assets are stored in the wallets, which can be mobile, web, or hardware wallets, depending on the user’s preference. So, professional traders use a new and unique address every time they send or receive cryptocurrencies so that no complication arises and guarantee smooth transfers. A crypto address must be handled with precision and caution as a mistake of even a single digit can cost thousands of dollars in a matter of seconds.
Usually, the crypto addresses have different formats depending on the exchange being used and the cryptocurrency being transferred. A crypto address may be as long as 70 digits, but it surely cannot be shorter than 14 digits. In the case of Bitcoin, the address length can vary between 25 to 36 alphanumerical characters, while in the case of Ethereum (ETH), the average is about 42 characters for each address.
Crypto addresses are generated by using cryptographic operations. Software available in the market generates private keys via asymmetric signature algorithms and then converts these keys into individual addresses. This allows double protection as the user sign with keys and vindicates the signature through the private keys generated by the software.
To give you a nostalgic tour of the past, people used to transfer cryptocurrencies through IP addresses a decade ago. As it was an easy method, people with evil minds soon targeted this weakness and started stealing funds from users. Sensing it, Bitcoin hurriedly made its move and shifted from using IP addresses to using unique virtual addresses, which proved a good move as the number of attacks immediately declined. Using this method to make crypto transactions more secure cleared the doubts of skeptics, and ultimately, people started developing trust in blockchain and Bitcoin.
Common Crypto Address Formats
The Bitcoin address format is typically longer than other crypto addresses. A Bitcoin address is between 27 to 34 alphanumerical characters and usually begins with 1, 3, or bc1. The users are allowed to send Bitcoin to other format crypto addresses as well without any restriction.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Initially, Bitcoin cash used the blockchain of Bitcoin which created many problems for Bitcoin Cash users due to the same crypto address. In 2018, Bitcoin cash started using a new crypto address format which provided a sigh of relief to its users. Its new crypto address is easy to recognize as it starts with ‘q’. On various occasions, it starts with ‘bitcoincash’ as well.
Finding an Ethereum address among dozens of crypto addresses is quite easy. Ethereum addresses are unique thanks to their length. Every Ethereum address is 40 hexadecimal characters and begins with ‘0x’.
5 Tips for Using Crypto Address
Many people make mistakes while sending or receiving crypto and as a result, lose crypto. But these losses can be avoided by following some simple precautions. We have compiled some tips for you so that you don’t make any mistakes in the future.
- Always double-check while sending a crypto address
- Use copy-paste tool instead of typing manually
- For testing a crypto address, send a small amount to confirm the address
- Try to grasp the limitations and working of relevant crypto address
- Make sure that the crypto address you use is for the same network
How to Recover Crypto Sent to the Wrong Address
Cryptocurrency transactions are irreversible in nature because they are on blockchain, a public ledger. It means that these transactions cannot be reversed once sent. Unlike credit cards, there is no option of a chargeback hence you should focus more on double-checking or even triple-checking before sending crypto.