It could happen to even the best of us – especially after a long and tiring day. You go to send your brand-new Bitcoin you just bought to your hardware wallet, but horror strikes – you accidentally sent it to a Bitcoin Cash address! The panic sets in and you frantically smash the refresh button, hoping that the transaction wasn’t finalized. Fortunately, depending on where you sent that Bitcoin to, you might be able to recover it relatively quickly and without any fuss or mess – how great is that!
The Confusing Addresses
The root of the issue that causes many people to make this simple mistake is that Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash share addresses. This means a Bitcoin wallet address is perfectly valid on the Bitcoin Cash network and vice versa. When you head over to Blockchain.com to verify the address you’re sending crypto to, you will see two wallets for the same address – one Bitcoin and one Bitcoin Cash. This is due to the fact that Bitcoin Cash is a hard fork of the Bitcoin blockchain and the team decided to keep the same address structure.
When Can You Recover Your Funds?
There are a number of situations where it’s possible to recover the funds. As long as you’re sending to a wallet that you own the private keys to, then you should be alright. The Bitcoin hasn’t been destroyed or lost forever, it’s simply sat in the Bitcoin Cash wallet address waiting to be picked up by its owner. So, first try and find the private keys to the matching Bitcoin Cash wallet address. With any luck, you will be able to find this and solve the issue in under five minutes!
On top of this, if you made the mistake when sending to a hardware wallet such as a Trezor or Ledger device, both of these companies have apps that will recover the lost funds for you! These pretty nifty tools will save you a lot of heart ache and stress. For Ledger you need to launch the Bitcoin app, click on “show advanced options” then click recover BTC. This will sync the blockchains and recover the missing Bitcoin for you!
When Could You Have More Trouble?
Sadly, there are some instances where the Bitcoin could be lost forever. If you sent the funds to an exchange or other provider – such as Wirex – then the company might not have access to this wallet. The Bitcoin wallet needs to be added manually to the system, and if the exchange of services doesn’t have access to the private keys, there could be a good chance there is nothing they can do. However, occasionally – and we mean very occasionally – the exchange or service provider might be able to manually recover it for you, but they will likely charge you for recovery. If the heft recovery price tag is worth it to you, then you can go ahead and the company will recover crypto for you!
Next time you’re buying Bitcoin, don’t be afraid. You now have the tools and knowledge to deal with accidents and slipups like this comfortably. The most important thing to do is remain calm and think logically. Don’t give out your private keys to strangers from the internet who promise to recover your lost Bitcoin!