The easiest way to explain a Bitcoin wallet is to think of it like a post box. Your wallet is like a secure post box public address. The general public know the address of the postbox (the public key address) and can send their mail by posting a letter in the box (sending a transaction). Once the person has sent their mail, only the mail company can open the box up using the specific key to that box (you as the owner of the private key to your wallet).
A Bitcoin address has many similarities to a normal postal address or email address for the following reasons:
- All three provide a place to conduct a transaction of information knowing that the receiver will get the information that has been sent.
- All three are generally public and used to provide one person a static place to send information to.
- All three are used widely and easily input into online forms or physical forms for reasons of transaction or information transaction.
Most Bitcoin exchanges with built in wallets or most digital wallets for that matter will provide the user with a wallet Bitcoin address generator. This generator creates a random combination of between 26 and 35 alphanumeric characters starting with either the numbers 1 or 3 as the first character. Bitcoin addresses are generated with no cost whatsoever to the user and most allow have a shortcut to ‘copy’ the address straight to your clipboard for ease of use as you are able to ‘paste’ the address anywhere.
Here is an example of a Bitcoin address:
Be aware that this address is not our real Bitcoin address (don’t waste your donations! haha).
You can also create Bitcoin addresses using software completely offline and with no pre-connection to the Bitcoin network whatsoever. Bitcoin addresses are case sensitive and need to be copied exactly as they are written. This is why copying and pasting the address is widely used so no mistakes are made.
Just a piece of advice when you do copy and paste a Bitcoin address make sure you check the first few and last few alphanumeric characters to make sure they are correct this is a quick way to make sure you cut and paste correctly without cutting out the first or last characters. Also check no spaces are prevalent before or after the first or last character as this will make the transaction fail.