Blockchain-based currencies use encoded strings, which are in a Base58Check encoding with the exception of Bech32 encodings. The Base58Check encoding includes a prefix (traditionally a single version byte), which affects the leading symbol(s) in the encoded result.
The Version-Byte is used to differentiate between MainNet and TestNet addresses as well as between P2PKH and P2SH addresses.
- P2PKH - Pay 2 Public Key Hash - which begin with the number
- P2SH - Pay 2 Script Hash - type starting with the number
1) When you create a P2PKH Bitcoin address (Address starting with the prefix, 1), a hash is created using the Public Key and RIPEMD160(SHA256(pubkey)) functionality.
f54a5851e9372b87810a8e60cdd2e7cfd80b6e31 - The Hash Created.
2) In the next step, the Version-Byte is added.
00f54a5851e9372b87810a8e60cdd2e7cfd80b6e31 - 00 is added for a MainNet, Public Key Hash.
05f54a5851e9372b87810a8e60cdd2e7cfd80b6e31 - 05 Added for a MainNet, Script Hash.
6Ff54a5851e9372b87810a8e60cdd2e7cfd80b6e31 - 6F Added for a TestNet, Public Key Hash.
C4f54a5851e9372b87810a8e60cdd2e7cfd80b6e31 - C4 Added for a TestNet, Script Hash.
List of address prefixes
The following is a list of some prefixes which are in use in the reference Bitcoin codebase.
Then a double SHA256 is performed, to create the checksum and the process continues to Base58Check encoding. Read my article Mining into Bitcoin Addresses ! - How a Bitcoin Address is Created ? for further information.
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