What happens to bitcoins that were sent to the wrong bitcoin wallet address? Is it possible to return the “lost” bitcoins sent to the wrong place? What should I do if the correct wallet is indicated, but the cryptocurrency has not reached the recipient? Read about this and the actions that should be taken in these cases in this article.
Below are three of the most likely scenarios.
A typo in the bitcoin address
If you entered the addressee’s bitcoin wallet address manually, it is likely that you made a typo in any part of it. There is a difference between an invalid address and an incorrect bitcoin wallet address.
All bitcoin wallets or bitcoin clients check the validity of the wallet address where you want to transfer the amount in bitcoins. Since there are 32 characters in the encoded checksum, the probability that you enter an incorrect address, which after decoding will turn out to be incorrect, but valid, is approximately 1 in 4.3 billion. So, in 4,294,967,295 cases out of 4,294,967,296, a typo will create an address that is both incorrect and invalid. When such an address is decoded in PubKeyHash, it will not produce the correct checksum. Therefore, the error will be noticed by the client/wallet and this transaction will not be created.
In the almost unbelievable case that you, after a typo, still enter a valid address, your funds will really be lost. Only a person who owns a private key to this address can manage them. Considering how many private keys there can be in principle, we can say with almost complete certainty that no one will ever use these means and they really “went into oblivion”.
Invalid Bitcoin Address
If you mistakenly entered not the address you were planning to send the funds to, but some other valid address, your funds have been lost forever. Unless you know the owner of the address. It is impossible to find it at the Bitcoin wallet address, since the blockchain will not show any information about it, except for cryptocurrency transfers made with the participation of this wallet. In this case, you can write to him and possibly agree.
Transfer to another blockchain
As with sending a transfer to an incorrect but valid address, the likelihood of such a transfer is extremely small. If you enter the Litecoin address as the recipient of the Bitcoin transfer, your client/wallet will say that this address is invalid. This is because each blockchain has its own way of recording and encoding addresses. So, the address of your Bitcoin wallet will be recorded with the first character “1”, and the address of your Litecoin wallet will begin with “L”.
In this case, multi-sig wallets (safer wallets that require several keys to enter) will be an exception, since both bitcoin and Litecoin addresses often start with “3” in them. If you enter a valid but incorrect address, the transaction will pass and it will no longer be stopped.
Is it possible to cancel a transaction in the blockchain or return the cryptocurrency?
It is impossible to cancel a transaction or return funds sent on the blockchain. Each transaction within the blockchain of a cryptocurrency first enters the mempool (abbr. From memory pool), before being approved by the miners. With a sharp increase in the network activity, a lot of transactions can accumulate in the mempool, which means that it will take more time to confirm your transaction.
To speed up transaction confirmation, you can set a commission. Miners will confirm such a transaction in priority order since this commission is one of the important items of their income.
Unconfirmed transaction: sent the crypt to the correct address and the funds did not reach
In most cases, if the transaction parameters are entered correctly, but the transaction did not find the addressee, is “lost” in the blockchain, it will return to your wallet within one to two days. If, after three or more days, the transaction did not find the addressee and the funds did not return to your wallet, it is worth considering how to verify its operability.
First, make sure that the transaction is really hanging. To do this, you will need to go to the Block Explorer (database of transactions on the blockchain) of your cryptocurrency and find out if there is information about your transaction. Below are links to Block Explorer of various cryptocurrencies:
- Bitcoin cash
- Bitcoin gold
If there is no transaction information in Block Explorer, then it makes sense to reinstall the wallet, deleting it and entering the client again (for multi-sig wallets, you must first save the private keys). So you will see the real state of your wallet and, most likely, it will contain the amount that you previously tried to send. There is also another solution to this problem – delete all the files in the / chain state directory so that the transaction database is downloaded again (as in the case of reinstalling the wallet) and shows the real number of crypto coins in your possession. Well, to summarize: in order to avoid unnecessary worries and torment, I advise you to always just copy the address of the Bitcoin wallet where you want to transfer funds, and never retype it manually, and also always double-check the authenticity of the address before making a transaction. Inattention can result in a loss of money for you.