Book Image

Learning Bitcoin

Book Image

Learning Bitcoin

Overview of this book

Table of Contents (16 chapters)
Learning Bitcoin
About the Author
About the Reviewers

Explaining Bitcoin addresses

Similar to an email address, a Bitcoin address, or simply address, is used to receive and hold bitcoin. While people typically have one primary email address, Bitcoin users have many addresses. They are created at no cost by your Bitcoin wallet each time you request to receive money. Anyone with access to a Bitcoin wallet can create an unlimited number of addresses.

Bitcoin addresses usually have 26-35 characters and are case sensitive, as in the following example:


The address can contain numbers and letters, both uppercase and lowercase. To help reduce confusion, there are no capital O's, zeros 0's, lower case l's, and capital 'I's'. These characters are removed to reduce the errors made from writing with pen and paper, as often encountered in the past. The result is a format that is easy to share digitally and/or physically.

Bitcoin addresses have an error-checking code called a checksum. Computing the checksum of an address will detect if any single character is incorrect. This helps to prevent errors when sharing your address. Most wallets will validate and reject an invalid address. As an example, note the following two addresses:

  • Valid Bitcoin address:


  • Invalid Bitcoin address:


They both appear valid, yet the second address does not compute a valid checksum. They are nearly identical except for the uppercase N at the end of the second address.


Checksums have been used in finance for many years. All credit card numbers have a built in checksum digit, specific to the issuing bank.

Your Bitcoin wallet will typically hold many Bitcoin addresses. It's important to know that a single Bitcoin address is not a wallet nor is it your account; rather, it's simply a way to receive money.