What is an Ethereum Address?

Most generally, this represents an EOA or contract that can receive (destination address) or send (source address) transactions on the blockchain. More specifically, it is the right-most 160 bits of a Keccak hash of an ECDSA public key.

An address is like your identity on the blockchain. It identifies whether the address is related to a wallet address, smart contract, or transaction hash. There are 2 types of addresses: Externally Owned Addresses (basically your wallet address) and Contract Addresses.

Externally Owned Address

Externally Owned Address (EOA), also known as a Wallet Address, refers to a public account that holds your funds and is only accessible by the private key pairs. Let us take the Ethereum address, for example. An Ethereum address is a 42-character hexadecimal address derived from the last 20 bytes of the public key controlling the account with 0x appended in front. e.g., 0x71C7656EC7ab88b098defB751B7401B5f6d8976F.

Basically, the Ethereum address is the "public" address that you would need to receive funds from another party through the Ethereum network. This means if the network is on a different network, the fund will not appear in the recipient's wallet address. It is important to make sure that the address supports the fund and the network used to send the fund. Also, to access funds in the address, you must have its private key. Kindly exercise duty of care when handling your private key as they can be used to access all the funds in an address.

On the other hand, a wallet is an interface that you may use to manage your Ethereum account as well as its public and private key pair. To get an Ethereum address/account to send and receive funds, kindly visit Etherscan Directory for a list of available wallets.

Contract Address

Contract address refers to the address hosting a collection of code on the Ethereum blockchain that executes functions. These functions of a contract address are executed when a transaction with associated input data (contract interaction) is made to it.

The contract address is usually created when a contract is deployed to the Ethereum Blockchain. Both Externally Owned and Contract Addresses share the same format of having 42 hexadecimal characters.

Etherscan differentiates between the two by displaying the Contract Creation field for Contract Addresses such as below:

Kaven Choi
Kaven Choi
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