What happens if you send Bitcoins to an invalid address?

what happens if you send bitcoins to an invalid address

So, what happens if you send Bitcoins to an invalid address? The basic answer is, you won’t receive your BTC and it will be lost.

One of the first things I was taught when starting in the crypto space was: NEVER get your wallet address wrong. Always make sure you send your crypto to the correct address. Don’t try to write it out, only copy and paste to avoid human error.

However, what really happens to the BTC then? Does it end up in someone else’s wallet? What if the address you send to isn’t created? Does it go down a black hole? Is it lost forever and ever?

Many questions could have very technical answers to them that I might not even be able to understand. However, I did some research and here’s what I found:

Valid vs invalid address

A valid Bitcoin wallet address is one that exists on the network while an invalid address does not exist. Thankfully, sending BTC to an invalid address won’t work. It will be caught by the network, not process and the funds will not be transferred from your wallet.

However, sending BTC to a valid address is a whole different story. Cryptocurrency transactions are irreversible and can’t be canceled. So, if you send your BTC to a wallet address that exists with a user attached to it, you’ll probably not be getting your funds back. Unless you know that person, nothing good will come of it.

With some wallet systems, there could be the chance of you sending funds to an address that exists and has no user attached to it. Then, and it seems only then, you could potentially get a refund for your funds.

The fact remains: Don’t send BTC to a wrong wallet address!


For further reading and more technical information, be sure to check out the links below: