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What is a Wallet Address?

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What exactly is a wallet address? This seemingly straightforward query exposes a world of cryptographic complexity and uncharted financial territory in the digital sphere.

Cryptography, public and private keys, and clever architecture supporting the frictionless transfer of digital currencies are the keys to understanding the true meaning of a wallet address.

In this piece, we will delve into the layers that secure our digital assets and facilitate seamless transactions, elucidating the idea of a wallet address in the process.

A wallet

Crypto wallet address

A wallet address, or blockchain address, is a string of alphanumeric characters that identifies the owner of a particular cryptocurrency held in a blockchain wallet.

These digital wallet addresses are uniquely generated and used to receive crypto transfers.

They are similar to phone numbers or email addresses used in traditional finance electronic transfers. Sharing crypto wallet addresses is common when receiving crypto from friends, family, or exchanges.

Each cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, Litecoin (LTC), and Ethereum (ETH), exists on its blockchain network. Consequently, each coin requires its distinct wallet address due to the unique protocols of these blockchains.

In the case of Bitcoin, an alphanumeric string functions as the Bitcoin address. This address operates much like an email address, allowing anyone with it to send you Bitcoin. Similar rules apply to other cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum, with its distinct address format.

To find your wallet addresses, you can click Receive or Deposit beside each cryptocurrency in your wallet. This action will display a sequence of characters and a QR code representing the coin’s address.

It’s crucial to ensure that the blockchain address corresponds to the specific cryptocurrency you intend to send. Sending any cryptocurrency to the wrong address results in permanent loss.

Crypto mobile wallet

How do wallet addresses work?

Understanding wallet addresses involves grasping cryptography, the art of secure communication systems. Cryptographers use encryption to establish decentralized payment networks in cryptocurrencies.

For example, if someone has any of your Bitcoin addresses, they can send you Bitcoin from their crypto wallet.

How it works? Wallet addresses condense lengthy public keys, facilitating transactions. Hashing, an automatic process in digital wallets, creates concise addresses. For Bitcoin transactions, a wallet address is shared, derived from a hashed public key.

It’s worth noting that wallet address behavior varies; some generate new ones (Bitcoin), while others remain consistent (Ethereum). However, this method grants control over crypto assets, allowing movement from exchanges to personal wallets.

Furthermore, a public key and a private key are cryptographic tools securing wallets. Your public keys are shareable, resembling an address. Even though public key and private key are connected, encryption ensures that intricate interconnection remains indecipherable.

Different types of wallet addresses

Wallet addresses generated by various cryptocurrency networks follow different protocols, and these differences often make it easy to identify the network and coin in use.

For example, Bitcoin addresses typically start with 1, 3, or bc1. In contrast, the ETH wallet address is 40 characters long and includes the initial 0x.

Moreover, there are numerous cryptocurrencies and, consequently, various crypto address types, each with its specific purpose. In the case of Bitcoin, there are four main types of Bitcoin wallet addresses: Segwit (Bech32), Legacy (P2PKH), Compatibility (P2SH), and Taproot (BC1P).

Moreover, there are many other kinds of cryptocurrencies out now, each with its own format and network, such as Litecoin, Dogecoin, and Ethereum addresses.

What’s the difference between an address, a key, and a wallet?

Many people mistakenly believe that addresses, keys, and wallets are all the same thing. Here are short descriptions of these three elements to help you distinguish them better.


Imagine a wallet as an encrypted virtual keychain, encapsulating data essential for accessing Bitcoin blockchain funds. It consolidates addresses and digital keys.

For example, hardware wallets, considered cold wallets, are physical devices designed to securely store cryptocurrency private keys offline.

On the other hand, hot wallets are digital wallets that are connected to the internet, making them convenient for day-to-day crypto transactions but potentially more vulnerable to security risks.

Crypto wallet addresses

An address comprises randomly generated alphanumeric characters, serving as a distinct identifier akin to a bank account number. For instance, the first Bitcoin address was 1A1zP1eP5QGefi2DMPTfTL5SLmv7DivfNa.

Notably, Bitcoin addresses can be effortlessly generated by anyone without involving a third party, swiftly and free of charge. The creation of multiple public addresses is unrestricted.

Sharing your public address enables the receipt of cryptocurrencies from others. However, Bitcoin and Ethereum networks are pseudonymous rather than anonymous.

This means, that anyone aware of your public Bitcoin address can access information about your holdings and transactions.

Public and private key

Two types of keys exist: public and private keys. Wallet’s public key functions like account number and is shareable for potential transactions.

Private key, as implied by its name, must remain confidential. It acts as a PIN or verification code, granting access to blockchain-held funds alongside their corresponding public keys. Therefore, under no circumstances should you share private keys with others.

Moreover, unlike being stored on a blockchain, a private key can be maintained in encrypted files offline.

An easier way to buy crypto

If you are looking for an easier way to buy BTC or ETH, then swissmoney crypto wallet is just for you. You can get a swissmoney account by completing a simple verification process within 10 minutes.

After you get an account, you can open BTC, ETH, USDC, USDT, and TRX crypto wallets and buy these cryptocurrencies in seconds. Additionally, you can exchange your coins for EUR, USD, GBP, or CHF whenever you need it. It’s worth noting that swissmoney keeps adding new currencies.

When it comes to securing your digital assets, swissmoney uses two-factor authentication (2FA), ensuring that only you can access your account. Furthermore, swissmoney’s offline cloud storage option keeps your private keys out of contact with the internet.


What does a wallet address look like?

A wallet address is a string of alphanumeric characters, typically a combination of letters and numbers.

The specific format of a wallet address depends on the cryptocurrency or blockchain network it is associated with. For example, the initial Bitcoin addresses looked like this: 1A1zP1eP5QGefi2DMPTfTL5SLmv7DivfNa.

However, in general, a wallet address consists of the following components:

  1. Prefix: One or two-character identifier that indicates the cryptocurrency or blockchain network.
  2. Alphanumeric characters: It is a series of numbers and letters. The length and composition of this part vary between different cryptocurrencies.
  3. Checksum (optional): Some cryptocurrencies include a checksum to help detect errors in the address.

How to get a wallet address?

To obtain a wallet address, a blockchain wallet is required. Several alternatives exist, such as software and electronic wallets.

Hot wallets are software that may be downloaded into a computer or mobile device and used to store cryptocurrency. Devices called hardware wallets are available for purchase for offline cryptocurrency storage.

Due to their low transaction costs and widespread availability, digital wallets have quickly gained in popularity.

Hardware wallet is more secure than software wallet because they use cold crypto storage, which is storage that isn’t tied to the Internet.

Is the wallet address and public address the same?

It is vital to grasp a fundamental distinction: a public key and a wallet address are not interchangeable, although this misconception persists among some individuals.

A wallet address, the linchpin of Bitcoin transactions, holds the role of identifying the intended recipient. This alphanumeric string serves as a clear marker, guiding funds to their designated digital destination.

On the other hand, a public key emerges from this very address, born from complex cryptographic processes that ensure the security and privacy of transactions.

The public key, while related, serves a distinct purpose, functioning as a digital signature to verify the authenticity of transactions within the blockchain network.

Thus, understanding the nuanced relationship between wallet addresses and public keys is paramount to navigating the realm of cryptocurrency with precision and confidence.

Živilė Šarkauskaitė

Živilė is a writer with a diverse background, having worked with tech start-ups and pioneering brands across various industries. Her profound interest in progress and innovation drives her to the field of Fintech, a realm that sparks her curiosity and inspires her to share insights with others.

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