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A Guide to Crypto Blockchain Networks

Take a closer look at the different blockchain networks that enable cryptocurrencies possible.

Posted June 21, 2021

Illustration of 2 phones displaying the different blockchain networks
Illustration of 2 phones displaying the different blockchain networks

Blockchain is an amazing innovation that can eliminate the need for a trusted intermediary. Joining a blockchain network means that you get to experience a fast, secure, and most importantly, censor-resistant peer-to-peer global collaboration.

From a simple payment network to a complex global trading market, blockchain networks are versatile to a point where we will depend on them in the future.

In this article, we’ll first discuss some of the most popular blockchain networks and their wallet formats. Then, we take a look at how cross-chain transactions work. Finally, we’ll explain to you on how to send tokens across different networks easily on Easy Crypto.

There are hundreds of independent blockchains out there, which give rise to thousands of more crypto tokens that are compliant with various programming standards. In this article, we’ll only focus on the most popular networks — Bitcoin, Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, and Tron.

A representation of blockchain
Blockchains nowadays try to be more interoperable with one another. Photo by Clint Adair on Unsplash

Knowing the wallet address format will at least allow you to avoid the most common mistake, which is sending a token to an incompatible network, and accidentally losing the tokens forever. 

Looking at the beginning characters of the receiving address allows you to be more aware of the deposit network to which you will be sending your tokens.

Bitcoin (BTC) wallet address

Bitcoin has three wallet address formats. There is the legacy address format, and there are two post-SegWit update address formats.

The post-SegWit addresses are compatible with the legacy format, as they belong in the same network. Therefore, you can send funds from a legacy BTC wallet to the SegWit BTC wallet, and vice versa. 

The legacy format always starts with the number 1. For example:

  • 1BvBMSEYstWetqTFn5Au4m4GFg7xJaNVN2

The Nested SegWith format always starts with the number 3. For example:

  • 3FZbgi29cpjq2GjdwV8eyHuJJnkLtktZc5

The Native SegWit format always starts with “bc1…”. For example:

  • bc1qar0srrr7xfkvy5l643lydnw9re59gtzzwf5mdq

ERC-20 Ethereum wallet address

All Ethereum wallet addresses will start with “0x…” such as: 

  • 0x0e806cea8e5beba6df97354ef7f22b66c5a2ce82

Most crypto tokens were built following the ERC-20 standard, and are thus receivable by the deposit network of the same name, ERC-20.

Additionally, ERC-20 tokens can be deposited in BEP-20 and TRC-20 networks. More on this below. 

Dive deeper: See the list of ERC-20 tokens.

BEP-2 and BEP-20 Binance wallet address

Binance has two parallel-running blockchains, one called Binance Chain, and the other called Binance Smart Chain. The former always starts with “bnb…” such as:

  • bnb136ns6lfw4zs5hg4n85vdthaad7hq5m4gtkgf23

The Binance Chain wallet address is meant for receiving BNB and other tokens issued on the same chain. The name of the deposit network for the Binance Chain is BEP-2. 

On the other hand, on the Binance Smart Chain, developers can create crypto tokens in the same way as they could on the Ethereum platform. Incidentally, most tokens created on the Binance Smart Chain would follow the BEP-20 standard, and is compatible with Ethereum’s wallets.

The Binance Smart Chain wallet address format looks something like this:

  • 0xB8f7166496996A7da21cF1f1b04d9B3E26a3d077

Notice that both the Ethereum receiving address and the Binance Smart Chain receive address look similar, and this is where you need to be careful as to not send funds to the wrong network or wallet. 

We don’t recommend moving funds from one network to another, unless you absolutely need to do so. 

A closer look: A long list of tokens and their issuance network.

TRC-10 and TRC-20 Tron wallet address

Tron has only one format, but be aware that there are two types of Tron-issued tokens. One type follows the TRC-10 standard, while the other follows a TRC-20 standard. 

The latter tokens, just like BEP-20 tokens, are compatible on Ethereum, which means you can store TRC-20 tokens in Ether wallets, given that the wallet is valid.

Tron wallet addresses always start with the letter “T” such as:

  • TWsVAb9EWAgKdumTD7XoEdkvs7AoyvkgN7

Avoid sending the wrong tokens: Here is a list of TRC-10 and TRC-20 tokens.

Many blockchains are NOT interoperable

One apparent weakness is that most blockchain networks still exist in isolation. For instance, the Bitcoin network is completely separate from the Ethereum network. We cannot send Bitcoins to an Ethereum wallet, and vice versa. 

This is due to the inherent differences in the programming language and architecture between both networks. Thus, we say that the Bitcoin network is not interoperable with Ethereum.

Any attempt to send some Ether to a Bitcoin wallet, for example, will result in the permanent loss of Ether. We do not recommend this practice. 

Some blockchains follow a standard programming architecture

Some networks, however, have agreed upon a shared programming standard, allowing one token of a network to be receivable (or compatible) by a wallet of another network. 

For example, Ethereum allows developers to create their own custom crypto tokens, and if they follow the ERC-20 standard to create a new token, thus making a new ERC-20 token, then it could be used in the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) as well as the Tron Network.

Chainlink (LINK) is an ERC-20 token. Although it was first issued and deployed on Ethereum, anyone can send Chainlink to either a BSC wallet or a Tron wallet, provided that the wallet address exists.

Cross-network transactions on Easy Crypto

This section is for advanced crypto investors. From our previous discussions, we know that many tokens share a similar programming standard that allows it to be compatible with some blockchain networks, for example ERC-20 tokens are transferrable to the BEP-20 network, and vice versa.

You might wonder why anyone might withdraw an Ethereum-issued token to a Binance wallet. The answer is – practicality. Due to the high demand of the Ethereum network, and being unable to scale efficiently, Ethereum’s network fees have skyrocketed to an impractical level.

For example, the stablecoin Tether (USDT) is useful to have around for crypto traders. Although it was issued on Ethereum, it can be used in all trading platforms, such as Uniswap and Binance.

Rather than withdrawing USDT into an Ethereum wallet such as MetaMask (with a transfer fee of up to US $45), the USDT can be deposited on a Binance wallet via the BEP-20 (Binance Smart Chain) network.

With Easy Crypto, when buying any cryptocurrency or token, by default we set the destination network that is native to that token (e.g. Chainlink (LINK) to the ERC-20 network).

However, if you want to save some money on network fees, you can enable this feature in the Options settings. Go to My account -> Options -> Enable all delivery/withdrawal networks and turn it on.

We highly recommend you to read the details in our Help article: How can I send crypto on a different network?

How cross-network transactions work

Curious about how Easy Crypto could achieve this? In this section, we briefly highlight what happens when you send a compatible token from one network to another.

Let’s say you want to buy some Tether (USDT). Compliant with the ERC-20 standard, Tether is compatible with most popular networks. Let’s say you choose to deposit your USDT into your Tron wallet. 

Illustration of crypto network transactions.

In this case, you are choosing a TRC-20 deposit network, not TRC-10, as the former is compatible with ERC-20 standard tokens. The USDT that you have bought will be delivered to your Tron wallet as a TRC-20 token, even if it was first issued on Ethereum as an ERC-20 token.

Now let’s say that you want to send the USDT from your Tron wallet to your Ethereum wallet. Fair warning: We do not recommend you to directly input the Ethereum wallet address into the destination address field of your Tron wallet interface.

Instead, you must also state the destination network — ERC-20, BEP-20, TRC-20, etc. In case you want to send to an Ethereum wallet address, choose ERC-20.

Now, let’s say that this transaction is successful, and that your Tron wallet manages to send USDT to an Ethereum wallet. What happens in the background is something like this:

Your TRC-20 USDT tokens are sent as a new ERC-20 USDT token on the Ethereum network. The TRC-20 token, roughly speaking, is “deleted” from the Tron network, while a new ERC-20 token, pegged to the same 1:1 amount, is “created” on the Ethereum network.

We just used the terms “deleted” and “created” as if crypto tokens are like files in a computer. In reality, there is no file or anything physical that represents the crypto token. There is only token ownership data that exists inside one of two global ledgers. 

Token compatibility is so important in blockchains for this very reason. In another case, although you cannot send Bitcoin to an Ethereum wallet, you can send Wrapped Bitcoin, which is an ERC-20 token that represents Bitcoin whose value is pegged to actual Bitcoin. 

Please note: We currently do not support wrapped tokens as they are not native tokens of specific blockchains. Wrapped Bitcoin on the ERC-20 network is not Bitcoin and may have slightly different prices compared to the actual cryptocurrency.

Takeaway and safety tips

Unlike in wire transfers, you cannot know the identity of the person who owns a particular wallet address. This means you must copy the address using a clipboard and paste it onto the receiving address field to avoid mistyping the address.

Unfortunately, crypto wallets cannot recognise whether the wallet address that you’ve entered exists. Most wallets, however, can tell you if the address format is wrong for a given target network destination.

Most wallets will also disable the option to send a token to an incompatible network, reducing the chances of making a mistake. 

Again, we do not recommend cross-chain transactions, even though it is possible. You need to account for network fees, which, depending on the network, can potentially be expensive. For beginners, cross-chain transactions are also unnecessarily risky due to the above reasons.

Hopefully this guide has been clear enough for you to see the difference between ERC-20, BEP-2, BEP-20, and TRC-20 destination networks, and which tokens are compatible for them. 

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Last updated February 8, 2022

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