I Sent My Coins To The Wrong Address
We get this question all the time...
Many times people ask us if we can get their coins back when they messed up a transaction, and sadly, the answer is no.
Because this is a decentralized network, human error will result in lost coins.
That’s why it's so crucial to double and even triple check addresses before sending a transaction.
And that is what this page is about:
What happens when you send a coin to the wrong coin address?
Let’s dive into it.
I Sent My Coin To The Wrong Coin Address... What's Next?
Well, first off the coin is likely gone.
By this question you probably mean one of two things:
- You legitimately sent it to the wrong address of the same coin
- You sent one coin to a different coin address
Both of these can be irreversible transactions, but one is worse than the other.
Sending A Coin To The Wrong Address (But Same Coin Address)
This happens a lot.
One alphanumeric digit wrong and your coin is going to someone else's wallet.
Yes, that is what happens.
You essentially just sent a transaction to some unknowing party (or one of the infinite possibilities of addresses out there where it will wait until someone gets the private keys to it).
Theoretically, when this happens, you could try and track down the address (if it is active) and find/beg the person for your money back, but this doesn’t often happen.
Whichever coins you sent still exist, they are just in another wallet for the time being.
This is why you need to make sure you are NOT typing but rather copying and pasting in the correct address before pressing send.
You’ve Sent Your Coin To A Different Coin Address
Maybe you typed in the correct address.
But, instead of sending BTC to a BTC wallet you sent BTC to and ETH wallet.
What happens then?
Well, the short answer is that if your coin has been sent and the transaction has been completed - there is no way to retrieve the coin (at least yet).
For the long answer let’s dive into this...
Bitcoin and Ethereum (and many similar systems) Have Their Blockchain
With Bitcoin, it has its blockchain.
The hashing algorithms use a certain code, and all 21 million coins exist within that blockchain.
Which means when you make a mistake and end up sending Ethereum to a Bitcoin wallet, it doesn’t make it because 1) it's leaving its preexisting blockchain (and going poof in the midst) and 2) the bitcoin blockchain doesn’t know what to do, and the coin can’t join the network.
Essentially, that means that when you send one coin to another coin’s address, it's gone.
Unless there is a master address sorting everything (sometimes exchanges do this), then you’ll be shit out of luck.
Ethereum and ERC-20 Addresses Use The Same Protocol
On the other hand, Ethereum and other ERC20 tokens all use the same master address for their coins.
That’s why on Myetherwallet or Mycrypto you can log in with one private key and see all of your ERC20 coins.
It's simply an executable protocol for creating Dapps on the network.
And these are coins of those Dapps feeding back into the Ethereum network.
Meaning that sending an ERC20 coin to an Ethereum address (granted it is ERC20 compatible) will result in the coin being safe and sound, pending again on if they have ERC20 compatibility.
Will There Ever Be A Solution?
For some reason, I can never get the image of a guy snorkeling in a pond next to a golf course retrieving golf balls as what's needed in this case.
Granted, this is a lot more complex.
Like entirely more complex because it involves somehow tracking down the transaction and then creating a cross blockchain mechanism that can grab the coins and move them to the proper blockchain after claiming the address typed in.
This will probably cost more funds, and we don’t know if it is possible.
But it's fun to surmise.
For now, make sure you’re sending your tokens to the correct address. Give it a test by sending us a donation below 😉
If you liked this review and want to help support the academy donate some ETH below!
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