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Why aren’t checksums used in Ethereum addresses? Was it a mistake that the designers, auditors, and community were unaware of until after Frontier was released? (This is more of a historical concern than a question about current and future attempts to correct.)
Edited to include: Users and wallets have increasingly started to turn over to strings like “mywallet.eth” instead of raw hex addresses, as expected by the launch of the Ethereum Name Service (ENS). It refers to the same term as a “namereg” since that name was unknown at the time this response was written.
I may go into more detail about this because it’s not enough that end users would inevitably be forced to use human-readable strings for everyday transactions. It’s that the raw hexadecimal string you’re referring to as a “Ethereum address” wasn’t even intended to be the standard way to represent that data.
The pure hexadecimal address does not contain any checksums, which is right. However, nothing prevents you from writing software that uses the same method as Bitcoin to generate a base 58 encoding of that string with a built-in version number and checksum. By silently decoding the new “Ethereum address” into raw hexadecimal form, it would seamlessly integrate with the network. It could also support all types of formats if you made sure the raw ones still had the “0x” in front of them (which you should be doing anyways). Then you’d be able to submit and receive with the same ease as with Bitcoin. However, you may want to use a different version number so that the addresses don’t get mixed up.
😍 Ethereum address must contain uppercase and lowercase letters for safety (eip55)
In Mist (https://github.com/ethereum/mist/pull/201), a simple backward compatible address check-sum mechanism was implemented, in which certain characters are capitalized and others are not depending on the address itself.
Mist believes it’s a non-check-summed address if all the characters are uppercase or lowercase for backward compatibility. If some of the addresses are uppercase and some are lowercase, Mist compares the capitalization to how it would capitalize the address itself. The address is considered correct if they match.
It doesn’t seem to matter to me. The capitalization is for optional checksum purposes only. The Checksum mechanism is encoded in the capitalization variation of the address. It’s difficult to verify the authenticity of an address if it only includes lowercase letters. As an address, however, any variation will suffice. In reality, you could capitalize or lower-case the letters at random and it would still work! (However, the prefix “0x” should not be capitalized.)
💫 Ethereum address checksum
I attempted to withdraw ether from Bittrex today, but the transaction was rejected due to a “invalid address.” After a while, I found that the addresses I used for previous withdrawals in my Bittrex “Withdrawal History” were all in lower case. However, the new Mist wallet (version 0.5.1 on Windows) uses mixed case addresses. I decided to lowercase the address and try withdrawing again, and the transaction went through without a hitch. For the time being, my issue has been resolved, but it makes me wonder if this is a Mist or Bittrex issue. I read somewhere that eth addresses are all lowercase, but I seem to recall someone on YouTube suggesting that mixed addresses will be used at some point. Thank you5 commentssharesavehidereport100% Voted up This discussion has been closed. There are no new comments or votes that can be made. Sort by the strongest.
Beginners also have a lot of concerns when it comes to sending Bitcoin. Is it true that Bitcoin addresses are case-sensitive? This is one of the most frequently asked questions on forums by newcomers. Users often have the same issue when backing up or printing the keys: are the private keys case sensitive? Yes is the easy and straightforward answer. Case matters when it comes to Bitcoin addresses and private keys.
Here are a few more address and key-related questions we find on forums. Will it still work if I swap the upper and lower case in my Bitcoin address? Can I copy and paste the address or type it in by hand? Are my funds lost if a single letter or number is misplaced, or will the wallet alarm me with an invalid address error?
Fortunately, the wallet client has a checksum that can be used to verify the security of the public keys. As a result, even if you accidentally enter the wrong address, the wallet app will most likely reject the transaction due to an invalid address error. Also, to avoid misunderstanding, the Bitcoin address does not contain characters like 0, O, or I.