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Definition: Bitcoin address


A destination (user or organization) on the blockchain that is the recipient of funds. A Bitcoin address is a string of characters that is the Bitcoin equivalent of "Pay to the order of" on a bank check. It is the address in a Bitcoin transaction that is publicly available in contrast to a private key, which is never revealed.

Private to Public to Bitcoin Address
A user's private key generates a public key using elliptic curve multiplication. The public key is then converted into the Bitcoin address using two hash algorithms (SHA256 and RIPEMD160) and one encoding method (Base58Check). The result is an address from 26 to 35 characters long that is easier to copy by hand because it eliminates the confusing letters and digits (zero, capital O, digit 1 and lower-case L). See HASH160, Bitcoin and crypto glossary.