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Addresses

Addresses are short strings that correspond to specific scripts and are used to protect a box

Unlike a (hex-encoded) binary representation of a script, an Ergo address use a Base58-encoding and therefore has some advantageous characteristics which the binary representation does not offer:

  • We can quickly check the integrity of an address via an integrated checksum (which is a "small-sized datum derived from a block of digital data to detect errors that may have been introduced during its transmission or storage" according to Wikipedia).
  • A prefix of the address shows you the network and address type. In particular, the network prefix prevents you from mistakenly sending mainnet tokens to the testnet address.
  • The address uses an encoding (namely, Base58 as mentioned) that avoids similarly-looking characters and is friendly to double-clicking and line-breaking in emails.
  • An address encodes network type, address type, checksum, and enough information to correspond with particular scripts.

Let's look at the prefix byte, which contains information about the network and address types:

Possible Types

Possible network types are:

  • Mainnet - 0x00
  • Testnet - 0x10

Address types are (semantics described below):

  • 0x01 - Pay-to-PublicKey(P2PK) address
  • 0x02 - Pay-to-Script-Hash(P2SH)
  • 0x03 - Pay-to-Script(P2S)

For an address type, we form content bytes as follows:

  • P2PK - serialized (compressed) public key
  • P2SH - first 192 bits of the Blake2b256 hash of serialized script bytes
  • P2S - serialized script (this is where mining rewards go!)

For example, sending 10 Ergs to a P2PK address usually means that a corresponding transaction will contain a box in which 10 Ergs are locked by a public key encoded in the P2PK address. Similarly, in the case of a P2S address, the box will be locked by a script encoded in the address. In the most complicated case of a P2SH script, the box will be protected by a special predefined script that takes the first 192 bits of Blake2b256 hash value for a script shown by an input spending the box.

Here is an example of how particular addresses are going to look on the testnet:

  • P2PK (3WvsT2Gm4EpsM9Pg18PdY6XyhNNMqXDsvJTbbf6ihLvAmSb7u5RN)
  • P2SH (rbcrmKEYduUvADj9Ts3dSVSG27h54pgrq5fPuwB)
  • P2S (Ms7smJwLGbUAjuWQ)

And here is how what they look like on the mainnet:

  • P2PK (9fRAWhdxEsTcdb8PhGNrZfwqa65zfkuYHAMmkQLcic1gdLSV5vA)
  • P2SH (8UApt8czfFVuTgQmMwtsRBZ4nfWquNiSwCWUjMg)
  • P2S (4MQyML64GnzMxZgm, BxKBaHkvrTvLZrDcZjcsxsF7aSsrN73ijeFZXtbj4CXZHHcvBtqSxQ)

Summary

  • Prefix byte = network type + address type (for example, P2S script on the testnet starts with 0x13 before Base58)
  • checksum = leftmost_4_bytes (blake2b256 (prefix byte || content bytes))
  • address = prefix byte || content bytes || checksum

Resources

  • Ergo Vision | A wallet visualization tool to be used for investigating transactions and addresses