Which blockchain wallet address is case-sensitive?
Home > Which blockchain wallet address is case-sensitive?
Killian Bell
Oct 10, 2022 7 mins read

Which blockchain wallet address is case-sensitive?

When sending cryptocurrency to someone else, you may notice that you will sometimes stumble upon a wallet address that contains capital letters. This is especially true if you’re sending Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH) coins. So, should we worry about case sensitivity when moving cryptocurrency between different wallets? Well, that depends.

In some cases, case sensitivity may not matter, but in others, it is critical that you use both uppercase and lowercase letters where appropriate. In this AAG Academy guide, we’ll look at which blockchains use case-sensitive addresses and whether they really matter.

What Bitcoin wallet address formats are there?

There’s one scenario in which you should be particularly conscious about wallet address case sensitivity, and that’s when you’re dealing with Bitcoin. Unlike most other cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin has been around for a long time (since 2009), and so it has seen lots of changes. One of those is the evolution of wallet addresses on its blockchain.

As things stand today, there are three generations of Bitcoin wallet addresses, each with its own address format. These are:

Legacy (P2PKH)
Legacy Bitcoin addresses, or Pay to Public Key Hash (P2PKH) addresses, are the oldest and they’ve been around since Bitcoin made its initial public debut. These addresses start with a ‘1’ and can be 26 to 32 characters long. Legacy addresses tend to incur higher transaction fees because they require more work from the blockchain to process transactions.

P2SH
Pay to Script Hash (P2SH) addresses are second-generation Bitcoin addresses. They start with the number ‘3’ and are significantly more secure than P2PKH addresses, thanks to more advanced security features, including a multi-signature facility. P2SH addresses are 34 characters long, and they are some of the most widely used Bitcoin addresses.

Bech32
Bech32 addresses are the latest, third-generation Bitcoin addresses, and they were designed to address problems with earlier P2PKH and P2SH formats. They are also the longest and most advanced Bitcoin address format, starting with ‘bc1’, and they tend to have the lowest transaction fees because they are faster to process.

It’s important to note that, technically, all three wallet address formats can communicate with each other. However, it may depend on the wallet you’re using, since older wallets can have trouble recognizing and communicating with the latest Bech32 addresses.

You might be interested in: What is a cryptocurrency wallet?

Case-sensitive Bitcoin wallet addresses and examples

In addition to ensuring you are using the right cryptocurrency wallet, then (not all have added Bech23 support yet, so bear that in mind), you should be aware of what kinds of addresses you’re using when sending and receiving Bitcoin tokens. For instance, both P2PKH and P2SH wallet address formats are case-sensitive, so you have to make sure that you’re using uppercase and lowercase letters where appropriate.

An example of a case-sensitive address is 1BvBMSEYstWetqTFn5Au4m4GFg7xJaNVN2.

If you’re sending Bitcoin to someone else, it’s safest to assume they are using a P2PKH or P2SH address and enter their address exactly as it appears in their wallet. That way, nothing can go wrong. The easiest way to do this is to have them send it to you and copy and paste it, or to use the QR code that many wallet apps provide.

If you’re receiving Bitcoin from someone else, copy and paste your address from your wallet before sending it, or provide the sender with your address’ QR code.

Case-insensitive Bitcoin wallet addresses and examples

Fortunately, if you’re dealing with Bech32 addresses specifically, there’s no need to worry about case sensitivity. All Bech32 addresses are case-insensitive. However, if you’re not sure, as we noted above, it’s best to play it safe and enter the address exactly as it appears.

An example of a Bech32 Bitcoin address is bc11qar0srrr7xfkvy5l643lydnw9re59gtzzwf5mdq.

Do other cryptocurrencies use case-sensitive addresses?

Bitcoin isn’t the only cryptocurrency that requires traders to be mindful of case sensitivity. In fact, case-sensitive wallet addresses are relatively common. Solana is another example of a cryptocurrency that uses case-sensitive addresses. You may also find that you sometimes see an Ethereum address that uses both uppercase and lowercase letters.

Ethereum is interesting in that its addresses are not actually case-sensitive. All its wallet addresses use hexadecimal numbering, so there’s usually no need to worry about capitalizing any letters. However, case sensitivity is sometimes used as an optional checksum — simply to help ensure that addresses are more accurately typed.

Are private keys case sensitive?

Just like with wallet addresses, private keys can also be case-sensitive, depending on the type of cryptocurrency wallet you’re using. So, as we’ve mentioned above, it’s always best to write them exactly as they appear — or copy and paste them for better accuracy.

It should be noted, however, that your private key should never be shared with anyone. It is not like your public key or wallet address, which are perfectly fine to share. Your private key proves ownership of your digital assets, and if it ends up in the wrong hands, someone else could spend your cryptocurrency. Read our guide on private keys to learn more.

You might be interested in: What is a private key? What is a seed phrase?

References

Frequently Asked Questions

Your cryptocurrency keys are stored and managed for you by your wallet app, so there’s no need to worry about managing them yourself. It’s important to remember that your private key proves ownership of your assets and should never be shared with anyone.

A checksum is a small piece of data that is attached to your wallet address to ensure that it is accurate. The checksum is generated from the wallet address itself, so if the wallet address is changed or typed incorrectly, the checksum will not match.

If you enter a completely invalid wallet address when trying to send cryptocurrency, you should be notified that it is an invalid address and it won’t be accepted. However, if you enter an address incorrectly but it is still a valid address, it will be accepted.

The best way to ensure that you’re sending crypto to the right address is to avoid typing the address manually. Copy and paste the address if possible, or ask the recipient to provide you with their wallet’s QR code.

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About the author

Killian Bell
Senior content writer
United Kingdom
Senior copywriter for AAG Marketing team with the focus of educating our community on all things web3, blockchain and Metaverse.

Disclaimer

This article is intended to provide generalized information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always consult with your own financial, legal, tax, investment, or other professional for advice on matters that affect you and/or your business.

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