Updated on March 30, 2023
The cryptocurrency market is rife with stories that oftentimes sound stranger than fiction. Stories of traders failing to gain access to their fortunes. Take, for example, the story of Stefan Thomas, who forgot the password to his nearly $220 million bitcoin investment, or the story of the crypto trader who sent almost $400 million in cryptocurrency to the wrong address. This is the stuff nightmares are made of, and if you’re a crypto trader wondering how to recover crypto sent to wrong address, then you might want to read and bookmark this article.
Crypto traders are not strangers to performing thousands of deals a day. Every time a trader purchases cryptocurrency on an exchange platform and then wants to send those to their crypto wallet, transaction initiation occurs.
All cryptocurrency transactions go through blockchain networks which handle the transfers using the inserted private keys and addresses.
The keys are basically long alphanumeric strings that are virtually impossible to remember. To ease the process, crypto traders copy and paste or use QR codes. This process is also liable to errors and mistakes when transferring this information.
Additionally, there are many digital currencies worldwide, and with new ones being created every other day, it is easy for a crypto trader to accidentally send cryptocurrency to the wrong address. Due to the fact that addresses of certain currencies are compatible with the networks of other currencies, it is fairly easy to send coins to the wrong network by mistake.
This article is a guide on what to do in case you want to learn how to recover crypto sent to wrong address.
Common mistakes made by crypto traders
Although regular people might not be concerned about how to recover crypto sent to wrong address, for traders, this problem is more common than many think. Bitcoin (BTC) has the most unique addresses, which makes it difficult for mix-ups to happen. However, for cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum (ETH), Binance smart chain (BSC), Polygon (MATIC), and Ethereum Classic (ETC), this problem is all too common.
This is because all the above cryptocurrencies use somewhat similar address formats- their destination addresses start with 0x. This creates confusion and causes both newbies and seasoned traders to send crypto tokens to the wrong recipient’s address.
Additionally, these networks are highly decentralised making it easy for any developer to launch ERC20 and BEP20 tokens. The incorrect address problem occurs whenever a user wishes to send some tokens compatible with one of the networks to their crypto wallet address.
Without the correct recipient’s address, if you accidentally send cryptocurrency to the wrong address, your coins might be lost forever. Of course, you can attempt to contact the owner of the address you sent it to, but this in itself if also difficult to achieve.
Because of the fact that the blockchain is encrypted, it can be nearly impossible to discover the user of a crypto wallet. Indeed, just because the blockchain is a transparent medium doesn’t mean it doesn’t have protocols to protect users’ privacy. Therefore, unless someone willingly discloses their identity, it isn’t possible to get such details.
For those who manually type the address into the receiver’s Bitcoin wallet, there is a good chance that you might write the incorrect address. In such scenarios, there is a clear difference between typing the incorrect address and making an error in the address details.
For the former, you might send tokens to an existing address but not the one intended. In the latter case, you might make an error in the address details and therefore send cryptocurrency to an address that doesn’t exist.
Supposing its the latter scenario, and you send crypto to an entirely new address that doesn’t actually exist, the tokens will not be sent.
When considering how to recover crypto sent to wrong address, one of the most common mistakes traders make is sending cryptocurrency to the wrong network. In this case, a user might accidentally send their tokens to a cryptocurrency wallet that is not compatible with the tokens being sent. For instance, if a trader uses an Eth wallet like Metamask wallet but buys BEP20 tokens.
Because Metamask is compatible with thousands of ERC20 tokens, many assume that the wallet is good for every cryptocurrency deal. It is only after failing to see their tokens recorded in the Eth address that they realise the magnitude of their error.
Another mistake traders make is when they send cryptocurrency to the wrong wallet address of a custodian wallet. This mistake is similar to when a cryptocurrency trader sends funds to a cryptocurrency exchange but makes a mistake regarding the network address.
How to recover Bitcoin mistakenly sent to Bitcoin cash address
There are two main addresses that Bitcoin has; Legacy Address and CashAddr (Cash address). Due to the fact that CashAddr (Bitcoin cash’s address) has a different format from that of Bitcoin, a trader can’t send Bitcoin to a CashAddr address. The two are not compatible.
However, Bitcoin’s Legacy Address is still widely used and looks like a regular Bitcoin address. Consequently, the two are easy to confuse for each other, leading to the problem of sending cryptocurrency to the wrong wallet address.
Supposing the Bitcoin cash address to which you’ve sent Bitcoin belongs to a cryptocurrency exchange. You can contact the exchange and supply the relevant information like TXID.
Depending on the exchange’s policy, they might charge you a certain fee in exchange for the recovery of your coins.
However, if you own the Bitcoin cash address as well as the private keys, you will be able to import your private key into a Bitcoin wallet like Electrum to recover your coins.
How to recover Bitcoin mistakenly sent to an Ethereum address
Since the address formats are incompatible, you technically can’t send Bitcoin to an Eth wallet. Therefore you might not need to recover Ethereum. However, this rule has a few exceptions, such as;
There are some ERC20 tokens backed by Bitcoin, such as WBTC and BBTC.
Also, suppose you’re trying to withdraw Bitcoin from a cryptocurrency exchange. Regardless of whether or not the transaction is completed, the tokens are deducted from your balance.
Supposing you’ve sent tokens like WBTC and BBTC to an Eth wallet. You can request the cryptocurrency exchange to return the tokens to your Eth address in order to recover Ethereum.
Additionally, if you’ve sent Bitcoin to your own Ethereum or BSC address, and it’s not visible despite there not being any obvious issues, then you should simply add the token as a custom token to your wallet.
You can achieve this by clicking the ‘add token’ option. Thereafter, pasting the contract address of the token that is not visible.
How to recover tokens sent to the BEP20 address
The address format used by BEP20 tokens on BNB Smart Chain (BSC) is similar and compatible with Ethereum addresses.
Additionally, BSC has lower transaction fees than the Ethereum network, which is widely known for its high gas fees. Consequently, it is easy for someone to accidentally send ETH or tokens to a BEP20 address.
Also, the low withdrawal fees on the BSC token’s network when withdrawing Ethereum or ERC20 token from Binance might add more confusion to a trader.
This is true despite the presence of reminders on Binance’s withdrawal page.
In case you fall into this predicament; there’s a way to recover tokens using BSC.
You can import your private key of your Ethereum address to import it into a cryptocurrency wallet that supports BSC, such as a Trust wallet and MetaMask wallet. After this, you should also send some BNB to the same address to pay the transaction fees.
If you wish, you can transfer it back to your Binance account. In this case, you should first get your BEP20 deposit address for that specific token on Binance.
There are instances where the token is not visible on your Metamask wallet address. Here, you need to add it manually using the ‘custom token’ option.
How to recover BEP20 tokens sent to Metamask
Using MetaMask to store Ethereum and ERC20 tokens is the easiest way to recover BEP20 tokens sent to an Ethereum address on Metamask.
Supposing you’ve accidentally transferred BEP20 USDT or BEP20 ETH to your wallet, the recovery process is simple and straight to the point.
Start by logging in and unlocking your wallet, then click ‘Ethereum Mainnet’ or the network you typically use.
Next, click ‘custom RPC’ or ‘add network’ from the network options to add BNB Smart Chain. After that, add the BNB Smart Chain network to your wallet.
Your transferred BEP20 token should now reflect in your MetaMask Wallet. Supposing it doesn’t, then you will have to add it manually using the ‘custom token’ option.
When adding BEP20 USDT, you start by retrieving the token address, token symbol, and the decimals from BscScan. Following this, the rest of the process is similar to the case of the BEP 20 token.
How to recover Tether USDT sent to a Bitcoin address
Due to the fact that Tether uses the Omni Protocol, which is based on Bitcoin and has the same address format, it is easy to accidentally send USDT to the wrong address.
Although USDT is also available on other blockchains like Ethereum, Tron, and BNB Smart Chain. This mistake is most common if you’re using the OMNI address.
Supposing you’ve made the error of sending USDT to a wrong address of an exchange unintentionally. You should contact the exchange’s support. However, it should be remembered that it isn’t necessarily likely that your USDT will be recovered easily. This is because there are different networks.
The easier route would be if you have the private key. You can import your private key into the Omniwallet and access your USDT.
How to avoid sending crypto to the wrong address
From your reading so far, you can see how easy it is for a crypto trader to send crypto to the wrong network. When considering how to recover crypto sent to wrong token address, there’s much to ask yourself. Although there are measures one can take to recover funds, certain transactions are harder to backtrack than others.
Consequently, in order to avoid the unfortunate event of having your crypto lost forever, you should follow the steps below.
Confirm token contract address
If you want to avoid experiencing the pain of having your crypto lost forever, make sure you confirm your token contract address.
Using Coinmarketcap, a user friendly exchange platform, you can double check to see if you’re using the correct contract address. On this user friendly exchange platform, you’ll easily see the icon and blockchain network of the selected token.
The other way to avoid sending crypto to the wrong network is to double check the network derivation path. You should ensure there is compatibility between your wallet address and the token’s native blockchain. In order to do this, simply add the token contract address to your wallet. Thereafter, select the correct network derivation path.
Before sending any tokens to your crypto wallet address, make sure you have the correct receiving address. Also, that it is compatible with the token’s network. This ensures that you are certain about who the address belongs to.
Commonly Asked Questions
Can I reverse a crypto transaction mistakenly sent to the wrong address?
Unfortunately, cryptocurrency transactions are irreversible. If you send cryptocurrency to the wrong person, you have to contact them and negotiate a way to get your funds sent back.
What to do if I sent cryptocurrency to the wrong address?
This is a common mistake that has sadly resulted in the loss of funds for some crypto traders. In most cases, the situation is a lost cause because it is hard to recover the funds.
This is because cryptocurrency transaction protocols mean each transaction is irreversible. However, there are a few steps you can take in an attempt to recover your tokens.
Confirm transaction: The first thing to do if you’ve sent cryptocurrency to the wrong address is to check the blockchain explorer. This is to see if the funds were indeed sent to the wrong address.
Contact the recipient: After confirming the transaction error, the next step is to contact the individual on the receiving end. With any luck, the individual(s) will be honest enough to return the funds.
Contact the crypto exchange: Another possible solution to this problem is to contact the support team of the exchange if you sent funds through a crypto exchange.
This might yield better results as the exchange might have strategies in place to help people recover their money.
Hire a professional: Sometimes, the amount involved is too significant to count as a loss. In that case,you might have to go the extra mile and hire a professional.
There are professionals who specialise in recovering lost crypto, but you should keep aware that these services are quite costly. Therefore they should be a last resort.
How do I recover ERC20 tokens sent to the wrong address?
Supposing you’ve sent ERC20 tokens to the wrong Ethereum address, there is little you can do by way of recovery. However, you can follow the same steps outlined in the previous scenario or contact firstname.lastname@example.org and report the matter.
What if I send cryptocurrency to an address that doesn’t exist?
Supposing you attempt to send cryptocurrency to an address that doesn’t exist, the transaction will not be completed by the network.
The funds will simply remain in your account until you input the correct information. This is why it is absolutely essential to confirm the receiving address details before sending.
In conclusion, sending cryptocurrency to wrong address can be a truly difficult situation to recover from. In this article titled ‘how to recover crypto sent to wrong address,’ we’ve unpacked a lot. Not only all the ways in which it is possible to send tokens to the wrong address. We’ve also the steps you might take in an attempt to recover crypto.
However, you must keep in mind that each token’s native blockchain network is highly encrypted. Therefore, is a very slim possibility that you might recover coins sent to the wrong address. Consequently, the biggest takeaway from this article should be the importance of being cautious in inputting the destination address of the receiving party.
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