Which canonical address is a legitimate address that nobody can claim?


4 Answers 4


Probably this address would be pretty acceptable - 1111111111111111111114oLvT2. It has a RIPEMD-160 hash of 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000.

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    Don't forget that there are roughly 2^(256-160) private keys for each bitcoin address, so it's very unlikely that none of them correspond to the address you specified, meaning that the coins are in all likelyhood claimable. Commented May 23, 2012 at 19:40
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    @DavidPerry OK, but we don't send bitcoins to public keys; we send them to 160 bit hashes of public keys. Any private key whose public key has the same 160 bit hash can claim the funds. There are likely a massive number of private keys that are able to claim funds sent to 1111111111111111111114oLvT2. It's just almost impossible to find any of them. Commented May 24, 2012 at 2:43
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    @ChrisMoore I see your point. It's statistically possible that some address exists which has no possible valid privkeys but every time I try to come up with a way of finding such an address the phrase "computationally unfeasible" comes to mind with it :P Commented May 24, 2012 at 3:47
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    Why the downvotes? I am looking for "effective /dev/null", not theoretical /dev/null.
    – ripper234
    Commented May 24, 2012 at 4:39
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    Just make up any 160 bit number and convert to an address then. They're all impossible to spend from unless you already know a private key for them, or get very very (very) lucky and find one. As for canonical, which definition did you mean? "authorized; recognized; accepted: canonical works" or "Mathematics . (of an equation, coordinate, etc.) in simplest or standard form." The 'BitcoinEater' one is probably most recognised. The 0x0 one could be argued to be simplest. Commented May 24, 2012 at 6:21

There is probably no bitcoin address that nobody can theoretically claim, since so many different private keys (256 bit) map to each bitcoin address (160 bit).

It has been proposed that 1BitcoinEaterAddressDontSendf59kuE should be used to destroy unwanted bitcoins.

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    What do you mean by "nobody can theoretically claim"? What is your "theory" here? Because if you use any reasonable theory for polynomial computational abilities, no, polynomial agents cannot claim these addresses (given we key the private and public addresses correctly). This is the same theory that supports, for example, the unbreakability of RSA and ECDSA. Specifically, for practical purposes, as you mention bit sizes, you'd need to brute-force a space of 2^160 which is impossible. The fact that the private key space is larger is insignificant.
    – dionyziz
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 14:13

The address 1FYMZEHnszCHKTBdFZ2DLrUuk3dGwYKQxh is a valid address made from an invalid public key which certainly qualifies as an effective /dev/null

It seems that the address was created by a bug in one particular wallet software.

By the way, don't burn money, it is the epitome of the old saying, "A fool and his money are soon parted."

Invalid public key was spent! How was this possible? (it wasn't, actually)

  • Are you referring to the P2PKH transactions that sent around 2600 Bitcoin to "0" in 2011? I won't consider that a valid address. (Here's one of them blockchain.info/tx/…)
    – sr_gi
    Commented Apr 23, 2018 at 10:44
  • @sr-gi Updated answer.
    – Willtech
    Commented Apr 23, 2018 at 10:53

The funds of the address 16QaFeudRUt8NYy2yzjm3BMvG4xBbAsBFM can't be spent. Why? What makes it different from other addresses?

The private key is zero. ECDSA private keys must be greater than zero. If not, funds of that address can't be spend.

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