Crypto transactions are probably the most common daily operation for people actively dealing with digital currencies. Every time you purchase cryptos on an exchange platform and want to send those new assets to your crypto wallet, you need to initiate a transaction. Also, each time you wish to exchange certain tokens for some other cryptocurrency, you’ll also need to carry out a transaction.

Crypto transactions are facilitated through blockchain networks that handle these transfers based on the inserted private keys and public addresses. These keys are long alphanumeric strings that are impossible to memorise and are either copied and pasted, or scanned with a QR code scanner.

Even so, sometimes typographic mistakes can happen, but what’s even more common is mixing up different blockchain networks because various blockchains have the same type of addresses. Sending your assets to the wrong address can be the source of enormous stress, especially if it’s a considerable amount of cryptos that can’t just be replaced by another transfer, plus you’ve paid enormous gas fees. Luckily, there are various simple solutions.

Let’s take a look at which blockchains have similar addresses, how to recover your assets if you’ve sent them to a wrong address that’s incompatible with their native network and how to avoid these mistakes.

Worried woman wearing yellow coat on the phone

Common Address Mix-Ups: Ethereum, Polygon and Binance Smart Chain

A great thing about the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain is that you can’t really make a mistake and send your coins to another blockchain network with identical addresses because BTC addresses have their own unique form. It was possible to accidentally send your BTC to a Bitcoin Cash (BCH) address back in 2017 when BCH was launched, but the BCH team quickly solved the problem.

However, the situation is much more complicated when it comes to Ethereum (ETH), Polygon (MATIC), Binance Smart Chain (BSC) and Ethereum Classic (ETC). This is because all four of these blockchains use similar address formats, with destination addresses starting with 0x. That’s why it’s quite common for both beginner and advanced crypto holders to send their tokens to the wrong address.

What complicates things even further is that these are massive networks that enable developers to easily launch ERC20 and BEP20 tokens. Any developer can create their own crypto token and launch it on the market through decentralized exchange platforms.

The address mix-up problem arises when a user wishes to send some tokens compatible with one of these networks to their wallet address. For example, it’s quite common that a trader purchases some type of BEP20 token, such as Binance Coin (BNB), through their Binance account, and they want to send it to their Trust Wallet. However, when generating the receiving Binance chain wallet address in their Trust Wallet, the user forgets to select BSC as the network type, leaving the network set to Ether or Polygon. This way, the user accidentally sends their BEP20 assets to the wrong network.

Most Common Wrong Address Scenarios

Destination Wallet Doesn’t Support Token Network

One of the most common mistakes is when a user accidentally sends their tokens to a crypto wallet that doesn’t support the blockchain on which the sent tokens are based. This can easily happen if you use an Ethereum-based wallet like MetaMask, and you buy BEP20 tokens for the first time. Since MetaMask supports thousands of ERC20 tokens, users usually take it for granted that their MetaMask wallet is good for any crypto and they just send their newly bought tokens to the wallet without giving it any additional thought.

After sending your BEP20 tokens to your MetaMask, you’ll probably realise the mistake when you don’t see your tokens arriving in your Ethereum address. The first thing you should do is take your transaction ID and use a blockchain explorer to make sure that the funds went through the blockchain, because they might not have reached your ETH address yet due to high network traffic. 

For the Ethereum network, use Etherscan.io, for BSC, use Bscscan.com, for Polygon Polygonscan.com and, in case of ETC, use Etcblockexplorer.com.

Once you’ve verified that the transaction has gone through to the destination address on the network, you need to import your private key into a crypto wallet that supports both the adequate network and your private key’s original network, such as Trust Wallet. Once you’ve imported your MetaMask wallet into Trust Wallet, you will gain access to your BEP20 funds because Trust Wallet supports the BSC blockchain. 

Just don’t forget to add the BEP20 token in question to Trust Wallet by going to the Add Custom Token section, pasting the token smart contract and selecting Smart Chain as the token network. Now you’ll have a new wallet for that specific BEP20 token, the balance will then be visible, and your funds are saved.

Destination Wallet Supports Various Networks

In case you already have a Trust Wallet, and you’ve sent Polygon based tokens from an exchange platform or another wallet to your Trust Wallet account without enabling Polygon, then the recovery process is even easier. 

Find the exact contract address of the Polygon token you’ve sent. The safest way to avoid any scams is to search Coinmarketcap for the token address. Once you’ve found the token’s contract address, go to your Trust Wallet and enter the search bar. Select the Add Custom Token option and paste the contract address. Don’t forget to choose the Polygon blockchain in the Network section.

Now that you’ve enabled your Polygon token in Trust Wallet, the wallet will show the balance of that specific token. It’s that simple with a multi-chain wallet like Trust Wallet.

Wrong Address of Custodian Wallet or Crypto Exchange

In case you’ve sent some tokens to the wrong address of a custodian wallet, you’ll need to contact the support team of that wallet because custodian wallets don’t let users manage their private keys. Instead, the keys are stored on the wallet’s servers, but it shouldn’t be a problem if you contact the wallet developers and present them with proof of your transaction. 

The situation is similar if you’ve sent funds to a crypto exchange, but you’ve mistaken the network address. However, keep in mind to always use a user-friendly exchange platform with good customer support like Gemini, Kraken, Coinbase and Binance, because some less popular exchanges don’t really provide responsive customer support.

How to Avoid These Mistakes

As you can see, there are multiple methods for recovering your cryptos from the wrong address, but the best thing you can do is avoid making these mistakes altogether. Follow these three rules to avoid sending tokens to the wrong blockchain address:

  1. Always look up your token contract address on Coinmarketpap to make sure you’re using the legit contract, and you’ll see the icon and blockchain network of the selected asset.
  1. Before sending the tokens to your wallet make sure your wallet is compatible with the token’s native blockchain. Add the token address to your wallet and select the appropriate network derivation path.
  1. Double-check whether everything is correct, and don’t ever send tokens to your wallet or crypto exchange account if you’re not absolutely sure the receiving address is compatible with the token’s network.

A Few Ending Words…

The most common first reaction when you send cryptocurrency to the wrong address is to get stressed out. However, there’s no need to panic since there are multiple ways to recover your assets. All you need to do is follow the simple tutorial steps described in this guide and use a reliable multi-currency wallet that enables you to connect with various blockchains and DApps.