I have sent BTC to an unknown address. The BTC shows up as "unspent" on a blockchain explorer. How can I locate or retrieve the BTC?

  • Please don't offer BTC payments for help Dec 11, 2017 at 9:46

2 Answers 2


There is a plethora of things wrong here that make it almost impossible if not impossible to receive your Bitcoin Back.

  1. You must know who you send the Bitcoin to in order to contact them, if you don't know who they are, you cannot find out their identity (pretty much), because Bitcoin is supposed to be anonymous and its near impossible to find someones identity from a wallet address (pretty much impossible)
  2. The Blockchain is completely transparent, you can see all transactions ever made, so if you sent any Bitcoin to a wrong address, you could see to what address you sent it to.
  3. Even if you knew the address, like I said in number 1, you would have to have their contact information and ask them to send the Bitcoin back to you
  4. The person you've sent it to might not want to send it back to you, if you somehow get their contact.
  5. that wallet address you sent the Bitcoin to might be inactive... in other words you (dropped it into a black hole that gobbled it up forever, or) sent it to someone's old wallet they don't use anymore/lost/deleted or will never look at it and it will always remain there, unspent, forever.

I was suprised by the title which is saying : "Btc remains unspent" wheras BTC were sent to an unknown address. There's a kind of payment address method is named P2NullData. The script starts by the OP_RETURN (0x6a) and by the content size.

You have an example here : https://www.blockchain.com/btc/tx/bb1d3de5b1052faf40a2ab176ebfe3398ae58437a71009636a35681246dd8c9a. You should turn HEX toggle on, which will able you to see the script with OP_CODES.

The main thing that you have to know about OP_RETURN is opcode immediately ends the execution of the script and marks it as invalid. Therefore, any output with a NULL DATA locking script on it is unspendable ! There is no need to store it in the UTXO database because there's the OP_RETURN code. This saves precious RAM.

The NULL DATA locking script was introduced in Bitcoin 0.9.0 as a compromise to allow people to include arbitrary data inside transactions.

Some people were adding data to transactions by using the existing standard locking scripts. For example, you could always use a P2PKH script and put your arbitrary data inside where the hashed public key.


This above example is from learnmeabitcoin

However, the problem with this approach is that it looks like a standard locking script, so the output would be stored in the UTXO database. This is a waste of RAM.

Thanks, Loopite.

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