Public Address

Public Address definition: Also referred to as a wallet address, a public address is a unique code for a crypto wallet that can be shared to receive crypto.

A public address, also known as a public key or wallet address, is a cryptographic string of characters derived from a user's public key. It serves as a unique identifier that allows individuals to receive, view, and verify transactions on a blockchain network. Think of it as a digital destination for receiving cryptocurrencies.

A public address, while openly shared, plays a crucial role in safeguarding the security of an individual's cryptocurrencies. It is mathematically linked to the corresponding "private key," which is used to access and manage the funds associated with the address.

The process of deriving a public address involves applying cryptographic functions to the user's public key. This process ensures that while the public address can be openly shared, the associated private key remains confidential, preventing unauthorized access to the funds.

When an individual wishes to receive cryptocurrencies, they share their public address with the sender. This allows the sender to initiate a transaction to the recipient's address.

Public addresses also enable users to view the details of transactions on a blockchain explorer, providing transparency and accountability. In some blockchain networks, public addresses can be linked to certain online identities, facilitating accountability and transparency.

A public address varies in format across different blockchain networks. For instance, Bitcoin addresses start with a "1" or "3," while Ethereum addresses begin with "0x." For example, an Ethereum public address may look like this:


While public addresses are safe to share, it's vital to avoid sharing private keys. Additionally, for added security, some users generate new public addresses for each transaction, minimizing the risk of privacy breaches.

The concept of a public address forms the bedrock of cryptocurrency transactions, enabling individuals to receive and verify funds securely within a blockchain network. By understanding the role and implications of public addresses, individuals can navigate the cryptocurrency landscape with greater confidence and security, ensuring the smooth flow of digital assets while safeguarding their private keys.

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Michelle Legge
By Michelle LeggeHead of Crypto Tax Education
Updated Nov 9, 2023
This article has been fact checked and reviewed as per our editorial policy.