In a moment of carelessness, I mistakenly used one of my wallet's sending addresses as the recipient for a transfer from a bitcoin exchange. The exchange confirms the transaction completed, but nothing shows up on my end. Is there any way to recover the amount?

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    There is no such thing as a "sending address" in general. If you have some specific context where that means something, it would be very helpful if you explained what that was. Also, the term "wallet" can refer to anything. Presumably, you have some specific service in mind. It would be very helpful if you told us what precisely you meant. Dec 26, 2013 at 18:47
  • @DavidSchwartz, I thought so, but I haven't yet seen the transaction appear in my client (Bitcoin-Qt). There's a top-level tab called “Addresses” which has a subtext: these are your Bitcoin addresses for sending payments. For some boneheaded reason, I accidentally selected the address in the listbox and used that as the recipient for a transfer away from Coinbase. Visit blockchain.info/address/1BbNoWd5wgEKkjbFskdYcxeTAhE7dWiXpV and look the most recent transaction. By the way, there's a discrepancy between transactions on that site and in my client. Might my wallet corrupted some how? Dec 27, 2013 at 22:55
  • Is your bitcoind running and up-to-date? I had troubles with my bitcoind some days ago, it was spending too much memory and stopped loading new blocks due to spam attacks. Solved it by temporary adjusting minrelaytxfee=0.005 (basically, ignoring almost all the unconfirmed transactions). Replacing bitcoin-core with bitcoinXT may also help.
    – tobixen
    Oct 11, 2015 at 6:42

1 Answer 1


Bitcoin payments are irreversible

Any transaction issued with Bitcoin cannot be reversed, they can only be refunded by the person receiving the funds. That means you should take care to do business with people and organizations you know and trust, or who have an established reputation. For their part, businesses need to keep control of the payment requests they are displaying to their customers. Bitcoin can detect typos and usually won't let you send money to an invalid address by mistake. Additional services might exist in the future to provide more choice and protection for the consumer.

No, they might not be lost. Addresses can both be used both for sending and receiving transactions. You have sent them to one of your own addresses. In your case you transferred to another address you own. So your wallet will have a new total minus the transaction cost. So technically, you could refund yourself again but you will loose another transaction cost.

Crucial note: All of this depends on your wallet. Some online wallet services share addresses between different users, so you want to be careful if you are using one of those.

If you are using the standard client, all your addresses are fully under your control and are safe to receive transactions.


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    There's some other problem then. My wallet's balance remains unchanged and the transaction isn't reflected. I'm using the Bitcoin-Qt application. Any advice? Jan 4, 2014 at 13:43
  • It's probably worth noting: this is a wallet I discovered unused for a while and I decided to “buy back in”. It had a zero balance. I had bought some bitcoin through Coinbase, and transferred to the address I mentioned around December 26. According to your sources, I should've still received the amount. Jan 4, 2014 at 13:51
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    Yes; Bitcoin-Qt reports that it's up to date (green checkbox), and no specific errors. I'll try issuing that command, and report back. There's another oddity here. If you search for transactions with the address I used (reference), you'll see three. The most recent is the one that's missing and would like to recover. The latter two are for 0.01 (a send and receive I can't explain). In Bitcoin-Qt, those latter two transactions are shown with conflicting dates and amounts (0.02) (screenshot). Jan 5, 2014 at 17:27
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    That is definitely an address I own, which the oddity that it comes from a list that's labeled as sending addresses (screenshot). By the way, still reindexing those blocks as recommended. Jan 5, 2014 at 23:30
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