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Definition: crypto address

The identification of a sender or receiver of cryptocurrency on a blockchain network. Crypto addresses use the public key cryptographic method, which comprises a private-public key pair. The public key is derived from the private key, both of which are a binary number that is presented as a series of alphanumeric characters.

The private key is used to withdraw digital coins and must be backed up and kept secret. The public key is used to receive coins and can be freely shared in a manner similar to a bank account number for a wire transfer.

Not Entirely Anonymous
Every transaction that a person makes on the blockchain, no matter how long ago, can be viewed by anyone via the public address (see crypto stats). However, with sufficient effort by a hacker or government agency, a public address can eventually be matched with the name of a person or entity.

It Can Be More User Friendly
There are several systems that translate human readable addresses to public crypto addresses (see user-friendly crypto address).

Bitcoin Public Address
A public address can be freely published to receive bitcoins. For quick scanning, QR codes of public addresses are commonly available in wallets and on exchanges. To generate a Bitcoin public key, there are several steps; for details, see Bitcoin address.