What Are The Different Prefixes For Crypto Wallet Addresses?

2/20/2023, 9:02:18 AM - Henry Chikwem
What Are The Different Prefixes For Crypto Wallet Addresses?

Crypto wallet addresses are alphanumeric characters that are similar to unique identity codes linked to a single user. These codes are generated automatically by an exchange or a wallet provider when a user applies for a wallet to hold, stake or trade cryptocurrencies.

Wallet Addresses are distinct and are required for transferring cryptocurrencies from one wallet to another. These alphanumeric characters are about 34 characters long (for Bitcoin) with unique prefix and suffix character combinations.

Below are two Bitcoin wallet address examples:

Prefixes For Crypto Wallet Addresses

Every crypto wallet address has its prefix, although some cryptocurrencies have unique prefixes that were made specifically for their wallet addresses, while some others share the same prefix for their crypto wallet addresses.

In this article, I will be listing the different prefixes that come with the wallet addresses of Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, and Bitcoin Cash.

Key Takeaways

• A Crypto wallet address prefixes are unique character attributes linked to each crypto type.

• Bitcoin and Ethereum are some of the cryptocurrencies with their own unique wallet address prefix.

• Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash may have different wallet address prefixes, but they share the same technology.

• The Segwit technology is a development that was implemented in new formats of the Bitcoin wallet address.

SEE ALSO: Can A Bitcoin Wallet Address Be Traced?

SEE ALSO: What You Should Know About Bitcoin Address Formats
SEE ALSO: What are Unspent Transaction Outputs (UTXO)?

These crypto wallet addresses will be used to paint a picture of how different crypto addresses come with their prefixes.

Hence, follow me as I list the unique prefixes belonging to the wallets of the above-listed cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin Address Prefix

Prefixes For Crypto Wallet Addresses

Bitcoin, being the pioneer cryptocurrency, has 3 unique prefixes attributed to its wallet address. They are:

Wallet Address that starts with “1”

This type of address that starts with 1 is referred to as a P2PKH wallet and was the first type of wallet address used by Bitcoin before the introduction of segwit.

Wallet Address that starts with “3”

This type of wallet address beginning with 3 is called a P2SH wallet and is segwit enabled. It was created to improve transaction speeds and process more transactions at lower fees.

Wallet Address that starts with “bc1”

This is a native segwit type of wallet, which is known as a bech32 wallet, and differs from a P2SH wallet in that many crypto exchanges do not accept it, although it is compatible with a P2PKH wallet.

Ethereum Address Prefix

Prefixes For Crypto Wallet Addresses

Ethereum is another cryptocurrency that was created to rival Bitcoin, and it comes with its own unique prefix for its wallet as well.

Its wallet address has a prefix that starts with “0x”, which is supported by all exchanges and is not as complicated as that of Bitcoin.

It is also important that you take into consideration smart contracts when doing Ethereum transfers, as some wallet providers do not accept them and it may affect your transactions with an exchange.

Ripple Address Format

Prefixes For Crypto Wallet Addresses

XRP is the native coin of Ripple and it has two unique wallet address prefixes, which are:

Wallet Address that starts with “R”

This is a typical XRP wallet address, and it is always important that when transferring XRP, you take note of the prefix so you don’t send it to the wrong address.

When you create an XRP wallet, you automatically become an XRP contractor, but having an XRP wallet does not give you any special privileges as exchanges typically hold your XRP in an XRP ledger account.

Wallet Address that starts with “X”

This is another XRP wallet address with a different prefix. This type of XRP wallet address was introduced as a new format and as an upgrade to the wallet address starting with “R” in 2019.

Its main purpose was to prevent XRPs from being sent to the wrong addresses. That is why it came with a combination of both the wallet address and the destination tag.

The destination tag and the wallet address are two important things you need to have or know if you want to send XRP to someone else’s XRP wallet.

Keep in mind as well that some crypto exchanges may not accept this new XRP wallet address format, so you will need to check for that too.

Bitcoin Cash Address Format

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Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin are two cryptocurrencies that make use of the same technologies and wallet formats but operate on different blockchains.

The Bitcoin Cash wallet address prefix starts with “q” or “Bitcoin cash: q”. This wallet address is a new format that was created to differentiate between Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin wallet addresses, which typically begin with “1” or “3”.

Final Thoughts

There are so many wallets out there with their unique prefixes, although some share similar prefixes. These prefixes usually exist mainly to prevent wrong or accidental transactions.

In this article, you can take a look at some of the wallet address prefixes listed concerning Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, and Bitcoin Cash.

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