What Is a Bitcoin Address?

Bitcoin Address

Many people take the plunge into Cryptocurrency without realizing there is a bit of a learning curve along their way.

At first, it seems simple, buy and store Cryptocurrency.

Then addresses get thrown at you, encryption, QR codes and so much more. For a lot of people, the technical jargon can drown out the actual implications.

So before we dive into what a Bitcoin address is, let's use an analogy for public and private addresses...

Cryptocurrency Public and Private Addresses

When someone wants to send you money on PayPal, Venmo, via a check, or the like they typically need to have somewhere to send the money. Or who knows where the money will end up.

Let’s use a bank account as an example...

To send someone money you need to have their wire transfer number and hook up an account.

That is similar to the Bitcoin public address.

This is front facing, something you can show to people and what is typically represented by the infamous QR code that everyone shows.

It is the receiving point of the funds.

If you have someone’s Bitcoin Address what you have is this - their public address.

With a public address, you can’t access their wallet and take their funds. So it's safe to give out and it's used to receive money.

To do that you need some form of a biometric or multi-sig component that can verify your identity.

What Do Biometric and Multi-Sig Mean?

Biometric would be anything from a fingerprint to a retinal scan.

It is a measurable biomarker that can verify someone’s virtual signature via biology.

While a multi-sig simply means multi-signature.

Instead of just one verification, you need two.

For instance, with a Bitcoin Address, you not only need the public address but some other form of verification.

In this case that is the private address (depending on what you are using it can be a regular ole password).

Now if you have a public address, and the private address to that then you can access the wallet and look inside, doing what you please with the funds.

Going back to the bank account example, you can think of a private address like your routing number or a credit card number. You wouldn't want to give those out, because someone could directly access your funds. 

What is a Bitcoin Address?

Now a Bitcoin address is the cryptography part of Bitcoin.

In this case, it is a 25-35 alphanumeric character identifier, beginning with the number 1 or 3.

These are generated at random with a SHA-256 hashing algorithm created by the NSA.

When people wanted an anonymous currency, originally they turned to Bitcoin.

That’s because the addresses aren’t theoretically linked to one person or another.

Is Bitcoin And Bitcoin Addresses Anonymous?

Not really.

The thing is, in the beginning, they slightly were.

Today, with advanced tracking and firms aiming to help figure out the direct paths of those using Bitcoin is isn’t as secure.

Add to that the fact that when signing up for an account on Coinbase or just about any other exchange/means of buying Bitcoin makes you input your Name, Address, and typically much more.

Right there creates a link between the public address and your identity.

Many blockchains also show metadata in the form of IP addresses and much more linking to your location.

Meaning that no, Bitcoin addresses, aren’t typically anonymous.

Unless You Create Multiple Bitcoin Addresses

One can create multiple public addresses for when they want to send and receive Bitcoins.

This helps to change the pattern and ensure a bit more privacy, and with the advent of TOR integration or Zk-snarks, it will be more secure as well.

Although, there are solutions.

Plenty of coins like Zcash, Zencash, Monero, Dash, Verge, and others are anonymous coins which are better alternatives.

Or you can learn how to purchase cryptocurrency anonymously with our article.

Wrapping Up Bitcoin Addresses

We hope this article simplified Bitcoin addresses for you. Of course, when first starting out the huge string of letters and numbers can look a bit intimidating. Make sure you always copy and paste, never try to type them out and risk error. When creating a password, make sure to triple check your work.

If you need help learning how to buy other Cryptocurrency - contact us through our FB Messenger below and we'll send you our free guide right to your inbox. 

If you're still trying to learn more about Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency, make sure to check out more articles and guides in the GCA Learning Center here.

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