The very first step to get a Bitcoin address is to create a Bitcoin wallet. A Bitcoin wallet is a software that holds the Bitcoin address. It is also used to send and receive bitcoins (BTC). In many cases, the software helps you to get a new Bitcoin address each time you make a BTC transaction.
The literal meaning of the word “wallet” should not be confused with what a Bitcoin wallet really is. Bitcoin wallets do not store bitcoins (the cryptocurrency) itself. Instead, it holds a Bitcoin address and digital keys that give a user the right to own or spend a specific amount of BTC on the Bitcoin network.
There are two digital keys – the public key, which is the same as your address and can be shared publicly, and the Bitcoin private keys that you should never share with anyone, unless you trust them with your money.
There are different types of Bitcoin wallets that can be created to get a Bitcoin address but the easiest way to set up is a mobile wallet. This article presents a great deal of information on how to get a Bitcoin address.
- What is a Bitcoin Address?
- Challenges on How to Get a Bitcoin Address
- Methods to Get a Bitcoin Address
- Types of Bitcoin Addresses
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Bitcoin Address?
A Bitcoin address is a set of unique alphanumeric characters that is used to identify the source of a Bitcoin transaction and the destination to which the bitcoin is (or should be) sent. It is derived from a public key which becomes visible to everyone after a transaction is completed.
Generally, all Bitcoin addresses come from nine numbers (that is, numbers one to nine [1-9]) and 49 letters (that is, all the uppercase and lowercase letters in the alphabet, with the exception of uppercase letter ‘O’, uppercase letter ‘I’ and lowercase letter ‘l’). The number “zero” is also excluded. The omission of these characters is done so as to prevent confusion. This gives a total of 58 alphanumeric characters from which all Bitcoin addresses are formed.
A Bitcoin address is needed to send and receive bitcoins. It can be likened to an email address that specifies where an email should be sent or the details of a bank account that points out where money should be paid.
Bitcoin transactions cannot be reversed. You cannot get your bitcoin back even if it was unintentionally sent to an incorrect Bitcoin address. Hence, to send bitcoin, simply copy and paste the Bitcoin address of the receiver carefully, rather than type or write it. This will prevent or reduce the occurrence of a mistake.
Also, when you copy and paste a Bitcoin address, always double check and triple check to ensure it is correct. There are several copy-and-paste malware targeting crypto users. Once your device is affected, the malware automatically changes the copied Bitcoin address to the attacker’s Bitcoin address. If you don’t cross check, you may end up sending the funds to the hacker instead of the intended receipt. If you notice that your device has been affected by a copy-and-paste malware, you can use Malwarebytes to get rid of it.
There is no limit to the number of Bitcoin addresses that can be generated. In fact, getting a new address for every new transaction is a good way to increase your privacy. Using the same Bitcoin address to execute all your BTC transactions makes it easier for blockchain analytics companies to track your spending
Challenges on How to Get a Bitcoin Address
In explaining how to get a Bitcoin address, it is impossible not to make mention of a Bitcoin wallet. This is because creating a Bitcoin wallet is the first step toward getting a Bitcoin address. However, deciding on the exact wallet to create could prove to be quite a challenge even though there is a variety of options to choose from.
This is due to the fact that many Bitcoin wallets have been cracked and billions of funds in bitcoins have been stolen till date. There are many fake wallets that trick users in order to get their private keys and gain access to their BTC.
Three Methods to Get a Bitcoin Address Instantly
If you have been itching to learn about how to get a Bitcoin address instantly with the aid of simple methods that are not too technical or difficult to understand, these three methods explained below can help you.
Install a Mobile Bitcoin Wallet (Takes Less than a Minute)
Setting up a mobile Bitcoin wallet is the easiest and most comfortable way to get a Bitcoin address. Mobile wallets are popular because they are simple and very easy to use. Users can have their mobile wallets accompany them everywhere they go. They are portable, convenient and suitable for quick day-to-day Bitcoin transactions.
A mobile wallet is a type of software wallet for mobile devices. Because mobile Bitcoin wallets run on mobile devices that are connected to the internet, they lack enough security. As such, they are meant to be used only for small amounts of bitcoins.
In many mobile cryptocurrency wallets, you can get a Bitcoin address and the addresses for any other cryptocurrency in just one app. Each Bitcoin mobile wallet meets the needs of different users and contains specific guides on how to get a Bitcoin address.
Generally, to get started, you need an Android or iOS device. You can download and install a mobile wallet on your Android device by using the Google Play Store. In the search icon, type “Bitcoin Wallet” or “Crypto Wallet” and choose the wallet you prefer from the list that appears.
For an iOS device, use the Apple App Store to download and install the app and follow the steps therein as mentioned above.
Be very careful not to select or install a fake Bitcoin wallet, as this would be harmful. Instead, download a wallet which has a well-known name, many positive reviews and a great number of users.
Here is a list of popular and trusted mobile Bitcoin wallets:
After installing your preferred wallet, follow the instructions in the app to create your Bitcoin wallet. Once created, you can select the “Receive” option on the Bitcoin wallet to copy your address and send it to the person who wants to make the transfer.
It is important that after setting up a mobile wallet successfully, it should be kept safe and secure. Mobile wallets store private keys on the app, making it possible for anyone who can open your device to gain access to the wallet and do whatever they wish with your bitcoins. Using your fingerprint or a very strong passcode to open the app could be a helpful mechanism to secure your wallet.
In a situation whereby your device malfunctions, gets hacked or is stolen, it is possible to recover your mobile wallet using a 12 to 24-word recovery phrase, called a seed phrase. Your mobile wallet will be properly backed up with this recovery phrase upon setup.
The seed phrase should be written down and kept in a very secure place. This seed phrase should be kept physically. Storing it online or on a mobile phone could make it vulnerable to hacking, thereby exposing the wallet to thieves. Securing this recovery phrase is so important that without it, it may be impossible to restore a misplaced mobile Bitcoin wallet.
Register on a Bitcoin Exchange
A Bitcoin exchange is a digital platform where people can buy and sell BTC. Different fiat currencies can be used to purchase bitcoins, depending on the currencies that are accepted by the crypto exchange.
To make use of a Bitcoin exchange like Binance, a user needs to register and get verified through a series of authentication processes on the platform. After verification, the user now has an account. Many Bitcoin exchanges provide Bitcoin wallets for their users who have an account on the platform. From this Bitcoin wallet, a user can get a Bitcoin address and use it to make transactions.
Unlike mobile Bitcoin wallets, though, many Bitcoin exchanges do not allow their users to get a new Bitcoin address each time they make a transaction. Hence, their users have only one Bitcoin address to make transactions at all times.
It is very key to do adequate research before choosing a Bitcoin exchange. Many fake exchange platforms exist with the common goal of stealing the bitcoins of those who create an account with them.
Set up a Bitcoin Hardware Wallet
A hardware wallet is a physical device that stores the private keys offline, making it less vulnerable to viruses, malware, unauthorized access and other attacks common to software wallets. A hardware wallet is a physical or offline wallet that stores the private keys on a device that does not have access to the internet.
Hardware Bitcoin wallets are said to be the safest and most secure type of wallet due to their offline nature but they are not cost-friendly.
Compared to the cost of other wallets, setting up a hardware wallet is very expensive. The high cost of getting a hardware wallet is one reason why users still find the use of mobile wallets very convenient.
The specific steps involved in the setup and how to get a Bitcoin address depend on the instructions that come with the hardware wallet of choice. When a user needs to make a Bitcoin transaction, the hardware device should be connected to the computer. An interesting note is that hardware wallets are not affected by any virus that could be on the computer.
During the setup, the recovery phrase for the private keys should be carefully written down word for word and kept in a secure place offline.
It is not possible to recover stolen bitcoins because transactions of this digital asset are irreversible. As a result, it is imperative to have a wallet that has the highest guarantee of safety.
Like mobile cryptocurrency wallets, hardware wallets generally allow users to get a Bitcoin address and the addresses for many other cryptocurrencies.
Types of Bitcoin Addresses
There are three different types of Bitcoin addresses with not so many service providers (wallets and exchanges) supporting all of them. This means that some bitcoin wallets and exchanges do not support all these three types.
Gaining knowledge about them can be helpful in choosing a suitable Bitcoin wallet or exchange.
The three types of Bitcoin addresses include:
- Pay to Public Key Hash (P2PKH) Addresses or Legacy Addresses
- Bech32 Addresses
- Pay to Script Hash (P2SH) Addresses
Pay to Public Key Hash (P2PKH) Addresses
Also known as a legacy address, this type of Bitcoin address is the original address format for Bitcoin. They start with a 1, for example, 1GfDNTCZjuArqsPym4Bv5n4HEw7aFdMgS9
P2PKH addresses are the most commonly used addresses and are supported by many Bitcoin service providers (that is, Bitcoin wallets and Bitcoin exchanges). Transactions with this type of address are larger in size and so are likely to have higher transaction fees.
Bech32 addresses are unmistakably different from P2PKH and P2SH addresses. This type of Bitcoin address starts with “bc1”.
An example is bc1pvvbght6a8fj77k8f9y32b5j7ugkq8dfb4sc3y1
The length of the address is longer than that of P2PKH and P2SH addresses because its preceding characters are more than one.
They are supported by many Bitcoin software and hardware wallets but few Bitcoin exchanges.
Pay to Script Hash (P2SH) Address
P2SH addresses are similar to P2PKH addresses but are easy to identify because they start with a 3. For example, 3K79s2YqFY51DMnRwgfbqmphVtmrYuVLYD.
They are mostly used for, but not limited to, multi-sig addresses. Multi-sig addresses are addresses that require more than one digital signature to approve transactions.
P2SH addresses have reduced transaction fees because the transaction data recorded in the Bitcoin blocks are smaller in size.
P2SH addresses are widely supported by various Bitcoin wallets and exchanges and can be used to send bitcoins to P2PKH and Bech32 addresses.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bitcoin Addresses
How Many Bitcoin Addresses are There?
There are so many Bitcoin addresses, both those with a balance and those without, numbering in the hundreds of millions. This is because there is no limit to the number of Bitcoin addresses that can be generated. In 2018, there were about 460 million Bitcoin addresses in existence. Today, the number is even higher.
Do Bitcoin Addresses Expire?
Bitcoin addresses do not expire. Once a Bitcoin address is created, it neither expires nor disappears. It remains permanent and can be used to make Bitcoin transactions as many times as desired. To ensure safety and privacy, though, it is advised to generate a new Bitcoin address each time a transaction is made.
Who Can Get a Bitcoin Address?
Anyone who sets up a Bitcoin wallet, either a software or hardware wallet, or registers on a Bitcoin exchange can get a Bitcoin address. Having a Bitcoin address enables a Bitcoin transaction to take place.
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