I am trying to research and learn about Bitcoin Ordinals, BRC20 and SRC20. However, there is one point I'm stuck on. While we have a single address in all Blockchain networks, why do we have separate wallet addresses for BTCs and Ordinals in Bitcoin? Can anyone explain this? Also, what happens if I transfer to addresses in my Xverse wallet in reverse?

What happens if I send Ordinal or BRC to a BTC address? Or what happens if I send BTC to my Ordinal address?

Even if it does not appear in the wallet, what happens to its status in the Blockchain network?


2 Answers 2


Bitcoin and altcoin addresses

Sometimes someone creates a Bitcoin transaction that pays to an address not created in the Bitcoin network but which is an address that looks like a Bitcoin address. The recipient would not have a Bitcoin wallet containing the corresponding private keys and would be unable to see the received money and would be unable to spend it.

If the non-Bitcoin address was created by an altcoin that uses the same scripting system and address-construction rules as Bitcoin, it might be possible for the recipient to construct a Bitcoin private key from the altcoin private key and import that private key into their Bitcoin wallet.

For some altcoins, this is difficult. Sometimes this is not possible at all. In that case the Bitcoin money sits at a Bitcoin address no-one controls and the received money can never be spent.

Ordinals, Inscriptions and BRC-20

This is a question and answer website specifically for Bitcoin. This means Ordinals, Inscriptions and BRC-20 etc are off-topic. Nevertheless I'll describe how I believe the Bitcoin network treats those things.

Ordinals are not an altcoin. Ordinals is a set of rules for assigning a number to a unit of money in a Bitcoin transaction. The rules specify how the Ordinal number is transferred from the inputs of a Bitcoin transaction to the outputs of a Bitcoin transaction. This is completely external to the Bitcoin network.

Ordinals Inscriptions build on the foundations of Ordinal numbering and hide some non-Bitcoin data inside a Bitcoin transaction in a place where normal Bitcoin nodes don't look†. The inscribed data is recorded in the Bitcoin blockchain but is not recognised in any significant way by normal Bitcoin nodes. Obviously Bitcoin nodes see it in the overall size of the transaction and therefore it affects Bitcoin fee rates for inscribed Bitcoin transactions and is affected by rules over Bitcoin transaction sizes. The data hidden in an Ordinals Inscription was initially mostly pixel art images.

BRC-20 builds on Ordinals Inscriptions in that the hidden non-Bitcoin data is not an image but text, in javascript object notation (JSON) that describes some event affecting a BRC-20 token. Ordinary Bitcoin nodes take no notice of the contents of Inscriptions so they take no notice of BRC-20.


† Inside an if false { ... } statement inside the Segwit equivalent of an unlocking script for a specific type of input - one that spends a P2TR output.



I don’t know about all the ordinal stuff, and I am not convinced it’s on-topic here, but I’m gonna answer the two questions that are applicable to Bitcoin:

While we have a single address in all Blockchain networks, why do we have separate wallet addresses for BTCs and Ordinals in Bitcoin?

There are generally two ways to track funds in cryptocurrency systems. Ethereum uses an account-based model. When you receive money, it goes to the account associated with the address. When you send money, it is deducted from your account. AFAIU, transactions in an account-based system can only spend from one account and credit one account. Consequently, addresses are heavily reused leading to almost non-existent financial privacy for network participants.
Bitcoin uses an UTXO-based model. Each Unspent Transaction Output (UTXO) is tracked individually and must be signed for explicitly upon spending. There is no savings whatsoever for reusing the same address. Wallets generally create a new address every time the user invoices someone. When sending a transaction you can spend funds received to many different addresses at once and send to many addresses at once.

Even if it does not appear in the wallet, what happens to its status in the Blockchain network?

You should only ever send funds to an address generated by a Bitcoin wallet. A Bitcoin wallet will only generate addresses that it knows how to spend from. Since other networks have completely different mechanics how funds are encumbered, there is a high probability that funds are lost permanently if you manage to send to an address generated for a different network.

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