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Author Topic: Bitcoin Address you send money too does not exist.  (Read 5562 times)
Possum
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June 07, 2011, 05:23:47 PM
 #1

Hi

What happens to your bitcoin balance if you send a bitcoin to an bitcoin address that does not exist.

thank you
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BitterTea
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June 07, 2011, 05:30:55 PM
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There are two types of addresses that don't exist. Those that are invalid as an address, and those that are valid as an address but aren't controlled by anyone.

For the first type, the client will let you know if you enter an invalid address. It knows this because an address contains a checksum which must match the rest of the data.

For the second type, there's nothing that can be done. If you send a transaction to a valid address that nobody controls, it is gone. Perhaps one day someone will generate a private key which corresponds to that address and get free money, but perhaps not.
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June 07, 2011, 05:32:07 PM
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i'm not sure i understand how that could happen.

addresses are all cut & paste - how do you screw that up?

and if you send to an address that doesn't exist (by typing it in?  holy god!), yet satisfies the address format, would the blockchain even accept it?  i don't know - just asking.
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June 07, 2011, 05:32:50 PM
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There are two types of addresses that don't exist. Those that are invalid as an address, and those that are valid as an address but aren't controlled by anyone.

For the first type, the client will let you know if you enter an invalid address. It knows this because an address contains a checksum which must match the rest of the data.

For the second type, there's nothing that can be done. If you send a transaction to a valid address that nobody controls, it is gone. Perhaps one day someone will generate a private key which corresponds to that address and get free money, but perhaps not.

ah.  thank you, BitterTea.
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June 07, 2011, 05:38:29 PM
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i'm not sure i understand how that could happen.

addresses are all cut & paste - how do you screw that up?

and if you send to an address that doesn't exist (by typing it in?  holy god!), yet satisfies the address format, would the blockchain even accept it?  i don't know - just asking.

If you managed to type a valid address, the transaction will end up accepted in the blockchain.

15kfBM3TQ4PGzL7cKncU3su2pH7ZJmiLtr
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June 07, 2011, 05:41:34 PM
 #6

Short answer: your balance goes down, you get poorer and everyone else (that holds bitcoins) gets richer

The client tries to protect you against putting in an invalid address (there is a checksum in the address that will protect against simple copy/paste errors).  But if you send money to some address for which no one holds the keys to spend, the bitcoins go to bitcoin heaven.  The supply of bitcoins shrinks, and hence, assuming constant demand, all other bitcoins in existence increase slightly in value.  

Compare this the US dollar...if you lose a US dollar, assuming demand remains constant, the value of the dollar goes up (deflation)...to combat deflation, the FED can print more money and put it into circulation, keeping the value of dollars constant.  But, that's a nice way of spinning it.  Another way of saying it is that that for every dollar someone loses, that's another dollar the FED can "print" (I say print, but it's really a digital book entry) without triggering inflation.  And since newly printed FED dollars flow through the primary dealers, it's those primary dealers that most directly benefit when you lose a dollar.

(gasteve on IRC) Does your website accept cash? https://bitpay.com
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June 07, 2011, 05:47:24 PM
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Short answer: your balance goes down, you get poorer and everyone else (that holds bitcoins) gets richer

The client tries to protect you against putting in an invalid address (there is a checksum in the address that will protect against simple copy/paste errors).  But if you send money to some address for which no one holds the keys to spend, the bitcoins go to bitcoin heaven.  The supply of bitcoins shrinks, and hence, assuming constant demand, all other bitcoins in existence increase slightly in value.  


this is interesting.

so if i understand you correctly, one could set up a script to install new bitcoin clients - thousands upon thousands of them, one after the other - have a downloaded blockchain ready for them, and -rescan...

eventually you would create a client with an address that someone had mistakenly sent some bitcoin to?
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June 07, 2011, 05:50:06 PM
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Short answer: your balance goes down, you get poorer and everyone else (that holds bitcoins) gets richer

The client tries to protect you against putting in an invalid address (there is a checksum in the address that will protect against simple copy/paste errors).  But if you send money to some address for which no one holds the keys to spend, the bitcoins go to bitcoin heaven.  The supply of bitcoins shrinks, and hence, assuming constant demand, all other bitcoins in existence increase slightly in value.  


this is interesting.

so if i understand you correctly, one could set up a script to install new bitcoin clients - thousands upon thousands of them, one after the other - have a downloaded blockchain ready for them, and -rescan...

eventually you would create a client with an address that someone had mistakenly sent some bitcoin to?

Yes, you could do that, or you could run a miner and make a lot more profit.

(gasteve on IRC) Does your website accept cash? https://bitpay.com
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June 07, 2011, 05:50:10 PM
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i'm not sure i understand how that could happen.

addresses are all cut & paste - how do you screw that up?

and if you send to an address that doesn't exist (by typing it in?  holy god!), yet satisfies the address format, would the blockchain even accept it?  i don't know - just asking.

If you type in a valid address, there is no way for the blockchain or other nodes to know that it doesn't exist.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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June 07, 2011, 05:53:02 PM
 #10

Short answer: your balance goes down, you get poorer and everyone else (that holds bitcoins) gets richer

The client tries to protect you against putting in an invalid address (there is a checksum in the address that will protect against simple copy/paste errors).  But if you send money to some address for which no one holds the keys to spend, the bitcoins go to bitcoin heaven.  The supply of bitcoins shrinks, and hence, assuming constant demand, all other bitcoins in existence increase slightly in value.  


this is interesting.

so if i understand you correctly, one could set up a script to install new bitcoin clients - thousands upon thousands of them, one after the other - have a downloaded blockchain ready for them, and -rescan...

eventually you would create a client with an address that someone had mistakenly sent some bitcoin to?

Yes, and your average time to success would be, on average, something only a couple millenia after the Sun engulfs the burnt crust of the Earth as a red giant.

But, yes.  It's technically possible.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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June 07, 2011, 05:57:23 PM
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Short answer: your balance goes down, you get poorer and everyone else (that holds bitcoins) gets richer

The client tries to protect you against putting in an invalid address (there is a checksum in the address that will protect against simple copy/paste errors).  But if you send money to some address for which no one holds the keys to spend, the bitcoins go to bitcoin heaven.  The supply of bitcoins shrinks, and hence, assuming constant demand, all other bitcoins in existence increase slightly in value.  


this is interesting.

so if i understand you correctly, one could set up a script to install new bitcoin clients - thousands upon thousands of them, one after the other - have a downloaded blockchain ready for them, and -rescan...

eventually you would create a client with an address that someone had mistakenly sent some bitcoin to?

Yes, and your average time to success would be, on average, something only a couple millenia after the Sun engulfs the burnt crust of the Earth as a red giant.

But, yes.  It's technically possible.

is there a limit coded into the client on the -keypool (key pool size) function, creighto?
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June 07, 2011, 06:00:32 PM
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Short answer: your balance goes down, you get poorer and everyone else (that holds bitcoins) gets richer

The client tries to protect you against putting in an invalid address (there is a checksum in the address that will protect against simple copy/paste errors).  But if you send money to some address for which no one holds the keys to spend, the bitcoins go to bitcoin heaven.  The supply of bitcoins shrinks, and hence, assuming constant demand, all other bitcoins in existence increase slightly in value.  


this is interesting.

so if i understand you correctly, one could set up a script to install new bitcoin clients - thousands upon thousands of them, one after the other - have a downloaded blockchain ready for them, and -rescan...

eventually you would create a client with an address that someone had mistakenly sent some bitcoin to?

Yes, and your average time to success would be, on average, something only a couple millenia after the Sun engulfs the burnt crust of the Earth as a red giant.

But, yes.  It's technically possible.

is there a limit coded into the client on the -keypool (key pool size) function, creighto?

No, but that's not really going to save you a great deal either.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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September 14, 2013, 12:10:43 PM
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I just had this problem and see how it can happen. I accidentally confused a XPM address for a ANC address. The ANC client accepted the address so presumably the checksum is the same for both coins. I am guessing that you could have the same with BTC alt-coin forks too?

I was hoping I could delete the transaction, but there are already confirmations from the network coming through.

>1k ANC (~1.5 BTC) just vanished into thin air. *sigh*

Kate.

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September 14, 2013, 12:13:51 PM
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Jumping on the necro here, but what are the odd of mistakenly typing in a valid address? Is it a realistic possibility?

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September 14, 2013, 01:12:40 PM
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Jumping on the necro here, but what are the odd of mistakenly typing in a valid address? Is it a realistic possibility?

No it isn't. There's 1 chance in 4 billion to mistype a valid address.

Plus, why are you manually typing addresses? Wink

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September 14, 2013, 06:01:11 PM
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Jumping on the necro here, but what are the odd of mistakenly typing in a valid address? Is it a realistic possibility?

No it isn't. There's 1 chance in 4 billion to mistype a valid address.

Plus, why are you manually typing addresses? Wink

No webcam on my pc for scanning QR codes.

"There is only one thing that is seriously morally wrong with the world, and that is politics. By 'politics' I mean all that, and only what, involves the State." Jan Lester "Escape from Leviathan"
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September 14, 2013, 06:53:36 PM
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Jumping on the necro here, but what are the odd of mistakenly typing in a valid address? Is it a realistic possibility?

No it isn't. There's 1 chance in 4 billion to mistype a valid address.

Plus, why are you manually typing addresses? Wink

No webcam on my pc for scanning QR codes.

Where was this QRC located?


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September 15, 2013, 10:50:33 AM
 #18


I just had this problem and see how it can happen. I accidentally confused a XPM address for a ANC address. The ANC client accepted the address so presumably the checksum is the same for both coins. I am guessing that you could have the same with BTC alt-coin forks too?

I was hoping I could delete the transaction, but there are already confirmations from the network coming through.

>1k ANC (~1.5 BTC) just vanished into thin air. *sigh*

Kate.

if you have control over the xpm address, you can export the key and import it back into the anc client, vioala the coins are back

1jimbitm6hAKTjKX4qurCNQubbnk2YsFw
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September 15, 2013, 12:37:18 PM
 #19

Short answer: your balance goes down, you get poorer and everyone else (that holds bitcoins) gets richer

The client tries to protect you against putting in an invalid address (there is a checksum in the address that will protect against simple copy/paste errors).  But if you send money to some address for which no one holds the keys to spend, the bitcoins go to bitcoin heaven.  The supply of bitcoins shrinks, and hence, assuming constant demand, all other bitcoins in existence increase slightly in value.  


this is interesting.

so if i understand you correctly, one could set up a script to install new bitcoin clients - thousands upon thousands of them, one after the other - have a downloaded blockchain ready for them, and -rescan...

eventually you would create a client with an address that someone had mistakenly sent some bitcoin to?

If you were to convert all of the matter on earth to power the computer you used to do this (at 100% efficiency), you would run out of matter before you found a single valid 'collision' address, yet alone one that contained Bitcoins.

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September 15, 2013, 01:09:28 PM
 #20


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