Cryptocurrency addresses, also known as public keys, are unique sequences of numbers and letters that identify wallets. They are used by users to send and receive crypto funds. Each address has a private key associated with it, which is necessary for making transactions. A cryptocurrency address is an identification of a sender or receiver of digital assets on a blockchain network.
It is based on the public-key cryptography method, which consists of a pair of public and private keys. The public key is derived from the private key, which are binary numbers represented as a series of alphanumeric characters. In other words, it is the text string that points to the location of a particular wallet on the blockchain, allowing users to send or receive digital assets. All blockchains have wallet addresses in some form, usually taking the shape of a long string of letters and numbers that is difficult for humans to interpret but easy for computers to understand.
Most cryptocurrency addresses are anonymous since no personal information is required when setting up a new wallet address on the blockchain. However, some addresses are linked to people or institutions. For example, Vitalik Buterin has publicly known Ethereum addresses and there are Bitcoin addresses with large amounts of BTC that are known to belong to Satoshi Nakamoto. Additionally, there are lists of allowed or trusted people, computer programs, or cryptocurrency addresses related to a specific wallet.
When it comes to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, an address is composed of random letters and numbers. Public blockchains can be tracked by anyone and there are many programs and tools used to monitor cryptocurrency wallets and trace the flow in and out of digital assets. Therefore, regardless of whether you own Bitcoin, Ethereum, or multiple cryptocurrencies, all you need to do is open your wallet to access the different addresses it contains. Given the public nature of most blockchains, it is possible to see the amount and type of digital assets that most wallets contain.
However, this isn't true in the case of private blockchains or privacy-focused cryptocurrencies such as Monero. On the other hand, a cryptocurrency wallet is more similar to a keychain because it contains a copy of each private key and its corresponding address.