Can we think of an address as a mini-account, and we can keep on using one, or we can use many to add privacy to our activities, and we can transfer or sell the bitcoins in it and make them empty and dispose of them any time?


No, you should not reuse addresses/treat them as a "mini-account". You should create a new one for every transaction and not re-use old addresses.

Your wallet software will generally handle this automatically for you -- just remember to request a new receive address each time you receive new bitcoin, and it should give you a new address that you should only use once.

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    Perhaps also important to note that under no circumstances this has any effect on fees. Reusing an address is not cheaper than creating a new one. – Pieter Wuille Feb 5 at 2:02
  • Isn't it I have to at least use an address twice? The first time when the address is created, it has 0 bitcoins. So when 0.001 bitcoins go into it (is associated with it), then it has 0.001 bitcoins, and ... at least you need to use it again to consolidate it into your bigger account (address), or that you need to send to another person, so that in either case, the address becomes empty (0 bitcoins), so that you can stop using it forever? – nonopolarity Feb 5 at 8:37
  • Or, one other way is: the time you spend that 0.001 bitcoin is the time you dispose of it. So if I have 12 addresses with 0.001 bitcoin, and now I need to buy something or transfer 0.01 bitcoins to Coinbase, now, out of the 12 addresses, 10 of them will be transfer to Coinbase, and then immediately thrown away by my wallet? So basically we only use the address twice: when bitcoins come in and when it goes out – nonopolarity Feb 5 at 8:59
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    You should not consolidate addresses. But yes, when we say "single use" we mean receive once and send once -- if you only use it to receive once, your wallet software should handle the rest automatically. – ieatpizza Feb 5 at 11:56
  • @nonopolarity I find this abstraction most useful: you have a single wallet, and it has multiple "entry points" that are addresses, which are used to receive coins into the wallet. But once received, those coins are held and managed by the wallet, and it's the wallet that sends them - not the individual addresses. In this abstraction, addresses are indeed single use. – Pieter Wuille Feb 6 at 23:37

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