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I got the address for my account on a site and wrote it down. As I had had a huge hassle buying my bitcoin that morning due to problems with the vendor's site (and which they denied was at their end for 3 or more hours, nearly drove me spare) I was flusterred quite badly.

Anyway, for some reason that is still not apparent to me I clicked on a button saying "generate new account". However, as the site kicked me out due to poor connectivity and it flagged me that "your request could not be processed", I sent the bitcoin off to the address I had written down.

Some hours later I went to the site to check my balance...my funds were not there. There was A NEW ADDRESS for sending bitcoin to in my account details.

So, it would appear that I have sent my bitcoin to a valid address that is now redundant.

What will happen to my bitcoins? Will they bounce around for a few days before coming back or will they just disappear into the ether?

  • 1
    Contact the vendor, they most likely have the private key and should be able to recover the funds from the previous address. – Roy May 7 '13 at 11:03
  • Thank you Roy, I have contacted them with the details of the account where the money was sent but no reply so far. – Peter May 7 '13 at 13:03
  • It is recommended that services which provide an e-Wallet account for customer funds will provide a new address for each payment. When this advice is followed, each time an address for "add funds" is shown it will be different. So usually, this means each account can have multiple bitcoin addresses for adding funds. – Stephen Gornick May 8 '13 at 9:50
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If the address is valid then the bitcoins will stay there until spent. If you don't have the private key for that address they are now unspendable.

However, in general Bitcoin uses addresses in a different way to that which might be considered immediately obvious. An address is generally considered a single-use item and as such it is entirely possible that your wallet contains the private key for the address to which you sent these coins, as well as any other addresses which you might have created. Take a look at your wallet to see if it is present.

  • I definitely have the address to where I sent the bitcoin. I have checked out the tracking...it has had 56 confirms at last count and the bitcoin HAS NOT been redeemed. – Peter May 7 '13 at 13:01
  • All the transaction details are in my wallet. What is the "private key"? I assumed it is a series of numbers, would they be the first block of numbers in the "Raw Transaction" field, or in some other place? If and when I find the private key for the receiver's address, what do I do next? – Peter May 7 '13 at 13:09
  • Bitcoin is a bit confusing in how it talks about keys and addresses. Public keys are translated in to addresses, which are the long strings you see starting with "1". Think of this as the equivalent of a postal box. Private keys are the actual keys to the postal box, and required to use the funds sent to the address. The private key will not be visible anywhere public but might be in your wallet. If you can find the private key you can import it in to your wallet and access the funds that way. – jgm May 7 '13 at 13:25
  • Thanks jgm. OK, so the private key may be in my wallet. How do I find it? It wouldn't be the "Hash 160" string of characters as shown on the blockchain.info page for the account in question would it? – Peter May 7 '13 at 15:50
  • If you are using blockchain.info as your wallet provider then open up your wallet and go to the "Receive Money" tab. Look for the address in either 'Active' or 'Archived' tabs. If it's there, and doesn't say "Watch Only", then you have the private key. Otherwise I'm afraid you are out of luck. – jgm May 7 '13 at 17:34

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