How Long Does a Bitcoin Address Last?

Bitcoin is the most commonly traded cryptocurrency. A bitcoin address is needed to send and receive Bitcoin. The Bitcoin address is not designed to hold a balance; it is merely a means to complete transactions.

A bitcoin address lasts indefinitely. They do not expire. However, a new address is typically created every time a transaction is made. Bitcoin addresses can be reused, although it is not recommended. 

Sending and receiving Bitcoin is not possible without a recipient address and a sender address. While you do not have to worry that an address may become invalid, Bitcoin transactions still have some complexity. This article seeks to explain some of these complexities.

Do Bitcoin Addresses Disappear?

Understanding Bitcoin addresses may help to dissipate some of the confusion surrounding bitcoin and its nuances. If you understand how to send and receive Bitcoin, your life will be a whole lot easier. 

No, a Bitcoin address does not disappear. Once it is generated, the address remains. Even if the address is old, previously used, or no longer used, it continues to exist. Bitcoin addresses will not expire, regardless of inactivity.

Are Bitcoin Addresses Unique?

Bitcoin addresses are unique. Each address is generated with a random string of alphanumeric characters. Bitcoin relies on a complex 256-bit hash format to create addresses, leaving the possibility of duplicate Bitcoin addresses nearly impossible.

There is no need to worry that your Bitcoin may end up in the hands of someone else who happens to have the same Bitcoin address. 

Why Bitcoin Addresses Change

A Bitcoin address can be assimilated to a location, and only the location is virtual. Each Bitcoin address is unique. This means that no two people will ever share the same Bitcoin address as there is a large number of Bitcoin address combinations possible; each Bitcoin address consists of 26 to 35 alphanumeric characters. 

Each address starts with either a 1, 3, or bc1. Bitcoin addresses are necessary to send and receive Bitcoin, so it’s important to note it down somewhere safe and secure.  

Bitcoin addresses change to protect users and keep their crypto secure. While you can technically reuse any Bitcoin address, this leaves you susceptible to third parties gaining access to your wallet. When Bitcoin addresses are used for multiple transactions, a third party could gain access to your account by using a blockchain explorer. 

A blockchain explorer allows a third party to see every transaction made, along with the Bitcoin balance. Blockchain explorers are able to see such pertinent information because of Bitcoin’s structure. The Bitcoin network allows public viewing. 

The best option to protect your assets is to change your Bitcoin address often. A new address for every transaction will keep your Bitcoin the most secure. This makes it nearly impossible for blockchain explorers to see your balance and transactions. 

How Often Bitcoin Addresses Change

Bitcoin addresses change, but not on a schedule or frequency. Instead, your Bitcoin address changes each time a transaction is made. If funds move to or from your wallet, a new address is generated for your protection automatically. 

Since a new address is generated between transactions, keeping tabs on this is essential – especial if you are performing transactions regularly to and from your wallet.

How Bitcoin Addresses Change

Essentially, each Bitcoin address that you generate is unique. However, parts of the address remain the same for all of your generated addresses. Each Bitcoin address contains a part of your xPub, or extended public key. 

Your extended public key will change depending on your transactions and how you use your wallet. 

How To Receive Bitcoin

Receiving Bitcoin is simple: you can give the other user your Bitcoin address, which is located in your Bitcoin wallet. Conveniently, Bitcoin has its own wallet, or you can utilize one of the dozens of other wallets available. 

QR codes are another option for receiving Bitcoin. Many wallets have QR code versions of your Bitcoin address. If you and the sender are nearby, the sender only has to scan your QR code to send the funds.

Some people may be hesitant to give their Bitcoin address to others, even if it is family and friends. However, this should not be a concern. In order to access your Bitcoin, a party would need both your address and the private key. 

How To Send Bitcoin

To send Bitcoin, you need the recipient’s Bitcoin address. As the sender, you will need the Bitcoin address, or as above, the QR code. Using the QR code will populate the address field. Next, you only need to select the amount of Bitcoin that you want to send. 

Fees for Sending Bitcoin Through Wallets 

There are fees when you send Bitcoin to others. There is no predetermined fee with some Bitcoin wallets, including Bitcoin’s very own wallet. The Bitcoin network wallet allows you to customize the fee you pay. 

Higher transaction fees guarantee that your transaction will be prioritized and processed quicker than others. Transactions with lower set fees may take days before it is processed. For those in a hurry, a higher transaction fee may make more sense to ensure the transaction is processed in a timely fashion. 

If the transaction is not able to be processed within a reasonable timeframe, the transaction will be canceled. This can be frustrating since you will be forced to wait 72 hours until you have access to the funds again. 

Determining Bitcoin Fees

Bitcoin fees are measured in bytes and satoshi. Satoshi is one hundred millionth of a Bitcoin, or in other words, 100 million satoshis equal one Bitcoin. It is the smallest denomination of Bitcoin cryptocurrency, named after the alleged and unconfirmed founder, Satoshi Nakamoto. 

Given the fluctuating price of Bitcoin, similarly, the transaction fees can vary. The transaction fees are based on two components: the transaction volume and network congestion. There are some websites that can give a reasonably accurate estimate of a transaction fee. The websites are listed below:

  • Bitcoinfees.info
  • Bitcoinfees.earn.com
  • Estimatefee.com

Inability To Reverse Transactions

Bitcoin transactions are not traceable. Returning Bitcoin to the sender is not as simple as returning a letter to the sender through the postal service. For the privacy of all users, Bitcoin transactions cannot be linked to each other. Furthermore, Bitcoin transactions are nonreversible. 

What Are Unconfirmed Bitcoin Transactions?

Bitcoin transactions generally cannot be canceled except under one condition: the transaction is unconfirmed. Confirmed transactions cannot be canceled. 

Unconfirmed Bitcoin transactions are transactions that haven’t been processed. Unfortunately, some Bitcoin transactions end up unconfirmed. Unconfirmed Bitcoin transactions are those that do not receive a confirmation within 24 hours of initiation. 

Bitcoin transactions require confirmation by miners. To be fully confirmed, the transaction needs at least three confirmations. It takes, on average, a minimum of ten minutes to confirm a Bitcoin transaction. 

One of the prime causes of an unconfirmed transaction is a transaction fee that is too low. A smaller transaction generally lowers the likelihood of a successful confirmation. The best course of action is to use your wallet’s recommended transaction fee. 

Canceling an Unconfirmed Bitcoin Transaction

You can track your transaction because Bitcoin uses a public blockchain. All you need is the transaction ID and a block explorer, like blockchain.com. 

You must wait the full 24 hours before a transaction is considered unconfirmed. Sometimes, a transaction may have one or two confirmations. If this is the case, your only option is to wait for a third confirmation. 

To cancel an unconfirmed transaction, the sender will need to replace the original transaction with a new transaction. The new transaction will require a higher transaction fee. This process is called an RBF or Replace by Fee. 

Conclusion

There is no need to worry about a Bitcoin address expiring over time or in any way becoming invalid. However, it is recommended that you use a new address for every transaction to ensure security. 

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