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Author Topic: Bitcoin Address you send money too does not exist.  (Read 8400 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
 #2

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
 #3

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
 #4

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
 #5

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.

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June 07, 2011, 05:41:34 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.  

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
 #7

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
 #8

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
 #9

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
 #11

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
 #12

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
 #13


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
 #14

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.

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September 14, 2013, 06:53:36 PM
 #17

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

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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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January 31, 2014, 06:54:48 PM
 #21

If bitcoind and bitcoin-qt didn't check to see if you tried to send to an invalid address, could you send the bitcoins to it?
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January 31, 2014, 06:59:39 PM
 #22

If bitcoind and bitcoin-qt didn't check to see if you tried to send to an invalid address, could you send the bitcoins to it?

No, I doubt anyone would relay a transaction to an invalid address.  Try sending 1 BTC to the address "bob", it just doesn't work.

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January 31, 2014, 07:04:50 PM
 #23

If bitcoind and bitcoin-qt didn't check to see if you tried to send to an invalid address, could you send the bitcoins to it?

No, I doubt anyone would relay a transaction to an invalid address.  Try sending 1 BTC to the address "bob", it just doesn't work.
Yeah I accidentally told someone to send to <insert_first_33_valid_chars_here>p instead of <insert_first_33_valid_chars_here>P

paper wallets...
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January 31, 2014, 07:13:54 PM
 #24

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.

Are there not properly three types?

I thought that some alt-coin had an issue with pre-mining, such that the owner decided to evidence his destroying the coins by sending to an address that was valid but *could not* be controlled by anyone; a /dev/null blackhole, as opposed obviously to those valid addresses that simply are not controlled at the moment but could be.

..or does Bitcoin not have the same equivalent /dev/null address?

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January 31, 2014, 08:50:51 PM
 #25

If bitcoin addresses have a checksum, like a UPC barcode, there must be a way to be able to generate one if you have a computer script to do that. For example 1 in every 2 to the nth power would be valid. If someone sends to one of these by accident, and the address is one that had never been used before on the blockchain, could a new user potentially have a surprise in finding something in his wallet when creating a new wallet?
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January 31, 2014, 09:20:48 PM
 #26

Yes, absolutely.. but don't burn coins setting that up of course!

It's equally likely that you stumble on someone else's account. I'm not sure what occurs if two private keys to the same public key are used, I expect either are accepted as it stands.

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October 16, 2016, 03:58:33 PM
 #27

wow just found this thread.

I did a withdraw with 1 digit short at the end. Hopefully it failed on the site and comes back (gambling site).
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October 21, 2016, 04:44:30 PM
 #28

This why I always double check the wallet address that i'm going to send money to. What i usually do is check the first and last 4 alphanumerics of the address that i will be sending to and if i am really sure that its correct, i proceed with the payment. its never bad to be extra cautious because this is real money that we are working with  Smiley
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November 01, 2016, 02:39:49 PM
 #29

This why I always double check the wallet address that i'm going to send money to. What i usually do is check the first and last 4 alphanumerics of the address that i will be sending to and if i am really sure that its correct, i proceed with the payment. its never bad to be extra cautious because this is real money that we are working with  Smiley

Thats where I went wrong I just copied and pasted and missed a number  Shocked
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November 01, 2016, 04:19:31 PM
 #30

There should be a way to guarantee that you aren't sending money to an address that doesn't exist, but unfortunately I don't see how this could be engineered at all. The client would need to scan the entire blockchain.. its nuts. Just always copy and paste, then I don't see how it can go wrong. Remember to double click the address to select the entire address when copying.
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November 01, 2016, 10:39:47 PM
 #31

I do remember to read somewhere if you make or put a wrong adress, lets say a litecoin adress and send bitcoins to those you will loose those coins, if you miss some character if should give error when you trying to complete the transaction.
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November 02, 2016, 01:26:38 AM
 #32

Can the Bitcoins be send to the address that doesn't exist or in that case some kind of error would be reported? Does the system recognise correct or wrong addresses?
If the coins are sent to the wrong or unexisting address I suppose they will be lost for you, I can't see how can you get it back because you can't stop the transaction once it's submited.

.BITSLER.                 ▄███
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November 02, 2016, 02:30:29 AM
 #33

Actually i haven't experimented with this. But I think that it will show transaction failed at the end I mean at the end of 6th check.
Otherwise it would create and add the amount to that bitcoin address and wherever system generate that address for someone will get the money.
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November 02, 2016, 02:59:11 AM
 #34

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

That would be an open possibility for people to lose a lot of Bitcoins. Also am I the only one who copy/pastes the address and then checks and verifies it per character by looking back and forth at the address copied from? Sometimes I inwardly cringe before clicking those send and confirm buttons.


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November 02, 2016, 03:20:43 AM
 #35

If bitcoin addresses have a checksum, like a UPC barcode, there must be a way to be able to generate one if you have a computer script to do that. For example 1 in every 2 to the nth power would be valid. If someone sends to one of these by accident, and the address is one that had never been used before on the blockchain, could a new user potentially have a surprise in finding something in his wallet when creating a new wallet?
yes that is a possibility ,i do not think people do send those accidentally but then if they are doing to test that out they would do that and i believe that a lucky user could get the coins

That would be an open possibility for people to lose a lot of Bitcoins. Also am I the only one who copy/pastes the address and then checks and verifies it per character by looking back and forth at the address copied from? Sometimes I inwardly cringe before clicking those send and confirm buttons.
The OP is having a doubt regarding that and he never mentioned that he lost bitcoins doing so,don't worry dude no one's brain work like a computer and everyone copy and paste the wallet address and verifies
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November 02, 2016, 04:11:47 AM
 #36

I think transaction will be failed due to invalid bitcoin address. If this doesn't happen then there might be conflict between the address (unrealistic). I think there is check of available address first before doing the transaction. If address doesn't exist then transaction will be stopped.
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November 02, 2016, 10:18:25 AM
 #37

Hi

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

thank you

Nothing.You can`t send money to a btc address that doesn`t exist.

Have you ever tried to do this? Grin

I`ve never tried this,and i will never try it.

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November 02, 2016, 10:31:28 AM
 #38

Hi

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

thank you

Nothing.You can`t send money to a btc address that doesn`t exist.

Have you ever tried to do this? Grin

I`ve never tried this,and i will never try it.

wrong, you can send to a bitcoin address that doesn't exist yet as long as the address is a valid one tho you cannot send to an address which is not valid. most (or all) bitcoin client can detect wether the address you entered is a valid one or not
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November 02, 2016, 12:49:44 PM
 #39

There should be a way to guarantee that you aren't sending money to an address that doesn't exist, but unfortunately I don't see how this could be engineered at all. The client would need to scan the entire blockchain.. its nuts. Just always copy and paste, then I don't see how it can go wrong. Remember to double click the address to select the entire address when copying.

As noted in other posts there is a checksum in the addresses that will cause a transaction to fail virtually all of the time for simple typos. But if you are given a "fake" address that has a valid checksum but for which no one holds the private key, there's no way for the software to protect you. Scanning the blockchain will not help because people send bitcoins to new, valid, addresses all the time.

The blockchain is not a registry of all valid addresses only a log of addresses that actually have transactions - including the "fake" addresses that are dead ends from which bitcoins cannot be recovered because no one has the private key.

Example: https://blockchain.info/address/1BitcoinEaterAddressDontSendf59kuE

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November 02, 2016, 01:34:47 PM
 #40

I think if the address is invalid address,the coin will be back to your wallet,but if the address is valid,the coin is lost,then if late if some one gen the address,the coin will be him,is it right?

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November 02, 2016, 01:38:28 PM
 #41

First of all if you are trying to sen bitcoins to an address which does not exist say you are trying to send money to (1QJmjiAZrapPyLUDUXYsR4YkGb22rvrC7W) This address but you accidentally typed something wrong in the addressees like (1QJmjiBCrapPyLUDUXYsR4YkGb22rvrC3A) Which do not exist then your transaction will not happen.
Other thing is if you just send transaction to an address which exist but not owned by anyone then you coins is gone if you are sending bitcoins to wrong address Means that the bitcoins you are trying to send to the address never created or never ever existed then you transaction will not be processed.

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