An address is a string of alphanumeric characters which identifies a bitcoin wallet. Users can use addresses to send and receive cryptocurrency. Addresses are usually identifiers for their public keys, and are recorded on the blockchain.
Addresses might have a protocol name at the beginning of them, such as “bitcoin:1aF398Csd3hF…..”. This allows browsers to open the correct wallet program to send a payment to this address when it is clicked on.
Some cryptocurrencies can use the address and its public key to cryptographically sign a message, which proves that the message originated from the owner of that address.
In Bitcoin, addresses are the base58 or the bech32 encoding of a 160-bit hash of its public key. You can not extract the public key using only the address. One of the reasons why the public key is hashed to save storage space on the blockchain.
There are three different types of addresses: The P2PKH address beginning with a “1”, the P2SH address beginning with a “3”, and the P2WPKH address beginning with “bc1q”. The P2PKH and P2SH addresses are base58-encoded addresses, while P2WPKH addresses are encoded with bech32.
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