Last updated on May 30th, 2023 at 09:07 am
One of the questions that newbies in the crypto space frequently ask is do Bitcoin addresses expire, or how long does it take before a Bitcoin address expires? It’s a question that is reasonable seeing that the addresses look like a string of characters that are randomly generated.
Bitcoin is always in the news, from talking about the price, its regulations, and also its legality. If you are looking to start your journey in cryptocurrencies, this might be one of the questions on your mind to find out about.
Bitcoin just like every other cryptocurrency requires an address before you can receive it. These addresses can be looked at like bank accounts in the centralized banking system (though quite different in some ways). I guess if you imagine it in that sense, it is easier to understand. Well, let us start from the beginning.
What is Bitcoin?
In 2009, Bitcoin was created by a person, or maybe a group of people with the pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto.” According to the whitepaper which was released, Bitcoin is described as a peer-to-peer version of digital currency that allows payment to be sent between two parties without the interference of a financial institution.
It is the most popular cryptocurrency in the market and is also regarded as the first cryptocurrency to be introduced. It is a decentralized form of payment that bypasses the dependencies of any third party to complete transactions.
With Bitcoin, you can buy, sell, and also store your digital asset without involving any central authorities. Bitcoin is built on a blockchain which makes it more transparent and efficient to own. Transactions involving Bitcoin are accounted for through Distributed Ledger Technology. It is an easy and stress-free way of transferring money to anyone around the world. You can follow up on Bitcoin’s price and market cap on platforms like CoinGecko.
To know more about what is Bitcoin and why it is valuable, read our detailed post which explains it.
What are Bitcoin Addresses?
A Bitcoin address is a combination of a string of characters. It is an identifier that is made up of 27-34 alpha-numeric characters. Bitcoin addresses usually begin with 1, 3, or bc1.
In addition, Bitcoin addresses are used to receive Bitcoin payments. Users can generate these addresses at no cost using a crypto wallet or a cryptocurrency exchange. Just like a bank account, or maybe even an email address, Bitcoin can be sent to people using these addresses.
A Bitcoin address looks like this 3J98t1WpEZ73CNmQviecrnyiWrnqRhWNLy. Also, here is an example of an address that starts with bc1 bc1qar0srrr7xfkvy5l643lydnw9re59gtzzwf5mdq.
How to Generate Bitcoin Addresses
As I said earlier, generating a Bitcoin address is a very easy process when you use cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase. Below are the steps for creating a Bitcoin address using the Coinbase exchange:
- Sign up with Coinbase: Before you can use Coinbase, just like every other crypto exchange, you will have to sign up first and complete the KYC process.
- Go to Crypto addresses: Once you have successfully signed up, locate the “crypto addresses” option.
- Select Create new address: Any address created on the exchange will forever remain associated with that platform. There is no limit to the number of addresses you can generate, you can generate as many addresses as you want.
Now that we have established what Bitcoin and Bitcoin addresses are, let us go further to answer the question.
Do Bitcoin Addresses Expire?
Well, the answer to this question is: NO, Bitcoin addresses do not expire, they remain associated with your account forever. Once an address is generated, it is permanent and never vanishes. However, you must make sure you retain the private key associated with that address.
I was browsing through the internet recently and I saw a question someone asked in a forum. He asked, suppose someone delayed a Bitcoin payment for up to 2 months (or longer), will the address he sent to the payer still be valid pending when he finally makes the payment?
I thought about the question from a beginner’s point of view and realized that it was a worthy question. To answer this question, YES the address will remain valid and active till whenever the payer decides to send the Bitcoin. Unlike traditional bank accounts that become dormant, if they are not used for some time, Bitcoin addresses remain active. So far you still have the private keys, you can always access that address.
Can two Bitcoin Addresses be the same?
As I mentioned earlier, Bitcoin addresses are made up of randomly generated 24-37 alpha-numeric characters, so it is possible, though in very rare cases that two same addresses can be created by different people.
If this very rare occasion happens, it is known as a collision. When there is a collision, it is possible for both the original owner and the colliding owner to use the Bitcoin sent to that address. But note that the colliding owner can’t use or spend the original owner’s whole wallet, and it goes both ways.
Bitcoin addresses are important for sending and receiving Bitcoin payments. These addresses are randomly generated numbers that contain a limited number of characters.
Once addresses are generated, they are associated with your account forever, and as far as you still hold the private key, you can always access that address and use it to receive Bitcoin payments. Bitcoin addresses do not expire.
Q: Can you send Bitcoin to the same address twice?
YES, you can use a Bitcoin address as many times as possible to receive several Bitcoipaymentsnt.
Q: Do Bitcoin transactions expire?
Most times, Bitcoin transactions are confirmed, but if they get stuck unconfirmed, it means that the transaction has not been included in a block. In this case, your transaction will be forgotten or expire and then return to the source wallet.
Q: Do Bitcoin wallet addresses change?
YES. If you are using an online wallet, it is quite normal for your Bitcoin address to change for different transactions, however, you can still reuse your old address to receive Bitcoin into the wallet.
Q: What happens if you send Bitcoin to an expired address?
There is no such thing as an expired Bitcoin address. Once an address is generated, it remains associated with your account for as long as ever. As long as you know your private key, your Bitcoin belongs to you.