Understanding Bitcoin Addresses Starting With 3

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A bitcoin with coins and a cloud in the background, illustrating the concept of understanding bitcoin addresses starting with 3.
Table of Contents
A bitcoin with coins and a cloud in the background, illustrating the concept of understanding bitcoin addresses starting with 3.

Key Takeaways:

  • Bitcoin addresses starting with “3” are P2SH addresses that provide enhanced security and lower transaction fees
  • P2SH-wrapped SegWit addresses combine the benefits of both technologies into one convenient address format
  • By following simple steps, users can easily generate, use, and secure Bitcoin addresses

Understanding Bitcoin Addresses Starting With 3 

Bitcoin addresses starting with 3 are older legacy Bitcoin addresses. They are still used today but wallets generally generate them not by default as the newer types provide much more benefits.

Are you new to the world of Bitcoin and curious about addresses that start with the number 3? You’ve come to the right place! In this blog, we’ll demystify these unique bitcoin addresses, explore their different formats, and reveal how they can provide enhanced security and lower transaction fees.

Trust us; by understanding these intriguing aspects of crypto wallets, you’ll quickly unlock the potential of your digital assets.

Understanding Bitcoin Address Formats 

Bitcoin addresses can have different formats, which are identifiable by the first character of the address and include legacy addresses starting with “1,” P2SH addresses starting with “3,” and native Segwit addresses starting with “bc1.”

Different Bitcoin Address Formats 

Understanding the various Bitcoin address formats is essential for any crypto beginner, as it plays a crucial role in sending and receiving funds securely. There are three primary Bitcoin address formats to be aware of:

  1. P2PKH (Pay-to-Pubkey Hash): These addresses start with the number “1” and were the initial default format for Bitcoin transactions. They are considered legacy addresses now.
  2. P2SH (Pay-to-Script Hash): These are the Bitcoin addresses that begin with the number “3.” They provide additional flexibility through scripts and are generally used for multisig, P2SH-wrapped SegWit, and other advanced transaction types.
  3. Bech32: Also known as native segwit addresses, these addresses start with “bc1” and offer lower transaction fees due to their efficient data storage within blockchain blocks. Though not all wallets may support this newer format yet, its popularity is increasing rapidly.

Identifying Address Types by First Letter 

Being able to identify different Bitcoin address types by the first letter is crucial for ensuring compatibility and understanding transaction requirements. Currently, there are three main formats of Bitcoin addresses: P2PKH, P2SH, and Bech32 (or SegWit).

For instance, standard Bitcoin addresses (P2PKH) start with the number “1.” These legacy addresses are commonly used and widely accepted across various platforms. Addresses beginning with the number “3” denote Pay-to-Script Hash (P2SH).

They include multi-signature wallets that require multiple private keys to access funds or P2SH-wrapped Segwit addresses for improved security and lower fees. Lastly, Bech32 or native Segwit addresses begin with “bc1,” which offers benefits such as reduced transaction fees and better compatibility with newer technologies like Taproot.

Bitcoin Addresses Starting With 3: What Does It Mean? 

Bitcoin addresses starting with 3 usually represent Pay-to-Script-Hash (P2SH) addresses that allow for enhanced security, lower transaction fees, and compatibility with newer technologies.

Pay-to-Script-Hash (P2SH) Addresses 

Pay-to-Script-Hash (P2SH) addresses are an essential feature in the Bitcoin network, providing a unique way to send and receive transactions. These addresses start with the number “3,” allowing for more versatility in how your Bitcoins can be spent.

For instance, imagine you want to set up a shared wallet where at least two out of three people must agree on a transaction before it’s approved – this is known as a multisig address.

With P2SH, you can easily accomplish this by writing the necessary script and then encoding it within your new ‘3’ address.

P2SH-Wrapped SegWit Addresses 

P2SH-wrapped SegWit addresses, also known as “segwit nested addresses,” are a type of bitcoin address that start with the number “3”. These addresses leverage both P2SH and SegWit technologies to provide enhanced security and lower transaction fees.

Essentially, P2SH-wrapped SegWit addresses combine the benefits of these two technologies into one convenient address format.

By using a P2SH-wrapped SegWit address, you can benefit from lower transaction fees than legacy (non-SegWit) addresses while still being compatible with wallets and exchanges that don’t yet support native SegWit addresses.

While native SegWit addresses offer even lower transaction fees, they’re not yet supported by all platforms.

Multisig Addresses 

Multisig addresses are a special type of Bitcoin address that requires more than one digital signature to authorize transactions. They offer an added layer of security because it allows multiple parties to control funds on a community basis.

For example, if a company wants to ensure that no single employee can transfer the entire balance of their Bitcoin wallet without approval from another authorized party, they can create a multisig address.

Typically, multisig addresses require two out of three signatures to approve transactions, with the third key held as a backup in case one of the other keys is lost or compromised.

How To Generate, Use, and Secure A Bitcoin Address Starting With 3 

To generate and use a Bitcoin address starting with “3,” it is essential to understand the different types of addresses, their benefits and risks, and how to secure them properly.

Generating An Address Starting With 3 

To generate a Bitcoin address starting with 3, follow these simple steps:

  1. Choose a reliable digital wallet that supports sending and receiving funds to P2SH addresses. You can use a web-based wallet like Blockchain.com or a mobile wallet like Mycelium.
  2. Open your selected wallet and select the option to generate a new address. Make sure you choose the address type P2SH when prompted.
  3. The wallet will then generate a new Bitcoin address starting with 3, which you can use to send or receive funds from others.
  4. It is important to keep your generated address private and not share it with anyone else to prevent unauthorized access to your funds.
  5. It is also recommended that you create a new Bitcoin address each time you want to make a transaction for added security measures.

By following these steps, you can easily generate an address starting with 3 and securely transact in the Bitcoin network using the P2SH format.

Benefits and Risks of Using P2SH 

Bitcoin addresses starting with the number 3 are known as Pay-to-Script-Hash (P2SH) addresses. These are a special type of addresses that enable more complex transactions and increased security compared to traditional Bitcoin addresses. However, there are also some risks associated with using these addresses. In this section, we will explore the benefits and risks of using P2SH addresses.

Increased Security: P2SH addresses offer an additional layer of security by allowing users to create multisig addresses, which require signatures from multiple parties to authorize a transaction. This can help prevent unauthorized access to funds.Address Complexity: P2SH addresses can be more difficult to create and manage due to their complex nature, which may lead to user errors when generating or using these addresses.
Lower Transaction Fees: P2SH-wrapped SegWit addresses can result in lower transaction fees due to their compatibility with the Segregated Witness (SegWit) protocol, which helps reduce the size of transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain.Reduced Wallet Support: Some wallets may not support P2SH addresses, which can limit the options available to users when choosing a wallet to store their Bitcoin.
Compatibility with Newer Technologies: P2SH addresses enable users to take advantage of newer Bitcoin technologies, such as the Lightning Network, which can further improve transaction speeds and decrease fees.Risk of Loss: Since P2SH addresses can be programmed in unconventional ways, there is a higher risk of losing funds if the user does not properly understand the scripts and conditions attached to the address.

It is essential to weigh the benefits and risks of using P2SH addresses and make an informed decision based on your needs and level of understanding. By fully comprehending the intricacies of P2SH addresses, you can take advantage of their unique features while minimizing the potential risks.

Steps for Securing An Address Starting With 3 

Securing your Bitcoin address starting with 3 is important to protect your digital assets from theft or loss. Here are some simple steps you can take to secure your address:

  1. Use a trusted wallet: Choose a reliable Bitcoin wallet that supports P2SH addresses and has strong security features, such as two-factor authentication.
  2. Keep your private keys safe: Private keys are used to access your Bitcoin address and should be kept in a secure location, such as an encrypted USB drive or hardware wallet.
  3. Enable multi-signature: By enabling multi-signature functionality, more than one signature is required to authorize transactions, making it much harder for someone to steal your funds.
  4. Regularly update software: Keep your wallet software and any associated applications up-to-date with the latest security patches to reduce the risk of vulnerabilities being exploited.
  5. Protect against malware: Use anti-virus software on any device used to access your Bitcoin address and avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading untrusted files.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your Bitcoin address starting with 3 remains secure and protected from potential threats.

Benefits of Using Bitcoin Addresses Starting With 3 

Using Bitcoin addresses starting with 3 provides enhanced security, lower transaction fees, and compatibility with newer technologies.

Enhanced Security 

Bitcoin addresses starting with 3 provide enhanced security measures for users. These addresses contain additional layers of complexity that make them more difficult to hack or steal from.

Using a bitcoin address starting with 3 can also help reduce the risk of sending bitcoins to the wrong recipient, as it requires multiple signatures or authorization before releasing funds.

Additionally, these addresses can be protected by multi-signature wallets that require multiple keys to access the stored funds. This added layer of security ensures that even if one key is compromised, hackers cannot immediately gain access to someone’s bitcoins without authorized permission from other parties involved in signing transactions.

Lower Transaction Fees 

Bitcoin addresses starting with 3, such as P2SH and P2SH-wrapped SegWit addresses, offer lower transaction fees compared to legacy Bitcoin addresses. With the adoption of newer technology like Taproot, which also uses the “3” prefix, even more efficient transactions with lower fees can be achieved.

By understanding different types of Bitcoin addresses and their associated transaction fees, crypto beginners can make informed decisions when sending and receiving Bitcoin.

Using a cheaper address type not only saves money but can also speed up the confirmation time of transactions.

Compatibility With Newer Technologies 

Bitcoin addresses starting with 3 offer compatibility with newer technologies, such as SegWit and Taproot. These address types, also known as pay-to-script-hash (P2SH) and P2SH-wrapped segwit addresses, provide users with improved security features and lower transaction fees compared to legacy addresses.

For example, native bech32 addresses have a smaller size than legacy or nested segwit addresses which makes them cheaper to use for transactions and more efficient on the blockchain network.

Some wallets may still only support sending Bitcoin to legacy or P2SH-addresses; however, there is an increasing adoption of SegWit by platforms such as exchanges.


Are There 3 Types of Bitcoin Address?

There are three types of bitcoin addresses: P2PKH, P2SH, and bech32. The differences between these address formats include their length and the characters they start with.

P2PKH addresses begin with the number 1, while P2SH addresses start with the number 3. Bech32 addresses start with bc1. Identifying which type of bitcoin address you are using or receiving is important because each type has different benefits and risks associated with it.

How Many Bitcoin Addresses are There?

There is no fixed number of Bitcoin addresses because new ones can be generated at any time. As long as a private key exists, the corresponding address can be used for transactions.

In other words, there are as many addresses as there are unique private keys in existence. At the time of writing, there were over 700 million unique Bitcoin addresses created since its inception.

However, some of these may no longer be active or have zero balances.

How Many Addresses Have 1 Bitcoin?

It’s difficult to determine exactly how many Bitcoin addresses have exactly 1 bitcoin, as a single bitcoin can be spread across multiple addresses. However, it is estimated that around 4 million Bitcoin addresses hold at least 1 BTC.

As a beginner in crypto, it’s important to understand that Bitcoin addresses can be generated and used freely for transactions. It is recommended to use different addresses for each transaction for security purposes, so even if one address is compromised, your other funds will still be safe.


In conclusion, understanding the various Bitcoin address formats is crucial to send and receive payments securely without any loss. Bitcoin addresses that start with “3” are P2SH-wrapped segwit addresses and provide enhanced security, lower transaction fees, and compatibility with newer technologies.

It is essential to generate, use, and secure these types of bitcoin addresses properly. Always double-check the accuracy of the address before sending funds, as this will help prevent theft or loss.



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About the Author:
Morgan Davis, an expert in digital currency and economic analysis, offers a unique perspective on cryptocurrency within the global financial landscape. With a background in International Economics, Morgan's insights delve into how macroeconomic factors influence the crypto market. Their writing simplifies complex economic and cryptocurrency concepts, making them accessible to a broad audience. Morgan is actively engaged in discussions about the impact of blockchain on finance, and their work empowers readers to understand and navigate the world of digital currencies.