What are the different types of Bitcoin addresses?

Due to the historical development of Bitcoin over time, there are different types of Bitcoin addresses. These stem from the exact type of spending condition that is imposed on the coins, and can be identified by their starting characters.

Here are some examples:

  • 17HzyHWNrdS7GpMArshSBLpJpcvrre93P6 is a standard Bitcoin address, which begins with "1".

  • 3QfDwSv4SsRonMEZgnitKe5meSfNxBrkZM is a script-based address, commonly used for more complex wallets like multisig, and starts with "3".

  • bc1qm34lsc65zpw79lxes39zkqmk6ee2ewf0j77s3h represents a modern ‘native SegWit’ Bitcoin address, starting with "bc1q".

  • bc1pc52e90846uvd8p27ce75j7cv2fsqn2h8fclsah50v7kx4puhkkqqf27axz is an example of the most recent Taproot-derived Bitcoin address, which offers greater privacy because the exact spending condition is not revealed to anyone attempting blockchain analysis. For instance, Taproot obfuscates Lightning channel open/close transactions and even more complex inheritance or multi-stage vaulting scripts in most cases. Taproot addresses start with “bc1p”.

Note the different types of Bitcoin addresses are fungible with each other, which means you can send bitcoin from one address type to another, and it will essentially auto-convert. So, though each address type has a different format and capabilities, they are all part of the same Bitcoin network and fully compatible.