As part of our series of articles explaining some of the more technical features and details of the eCash ecosystem, this article focuses on the address format and the conversion tool on the e.cash website. After reading this it is hoped you will be better equipped to deal with some of the inconsistencies caused by exchanges and third party software, not fully upgrading to the new technical reality.
With the rebranding campaign from BCHA to eCash (XEC) came a number of technical challenges for businesses and software projects. First of all the redenomination where the default unit changed from 100 million satoshis which is 8 decimal places to the new XEC unit which has 100 satoshis or 2 decimal places. A second change that came with the rebranding campaign is the new address format. Although very similar to the previously used format it has required some adjusting of wallet, explorer and exchange software.
As exchanges opened deposits and withdrawals after they completed the rebrad it was good to see that they mostly had also implemented the new eCash specific address format. As more exchanges are enabling deposits and withdrawals it is becoming apparent that not all of them have done a full rebrand. Instead of using the new format some have chosen to revert to a format used until the end of 2017. This address format incompatibility will likely cause confusion and problems for users of the eCash currency and blockchain.
The Bitcoin ABC team has proven to be most helpful for those that support the new address format and has provided libraries in different software languages to make it easy for businesses and projects to make the necessary changes. It is therefore hoped that in the coming time all companies fully complete the rebranding and
The Bitcoin ABC team has been very supportive of businesses asking for help with this and has stated they are open to offering advice. There are now a number of software libraries available that make implementing this new format not a difficult task, it is hoped that all exchanges and services will choose to upgrade the user experience very soon as it is not really logical to burden the user with having to learn how to work around the incompatibility caused by exchanges, services and wallets.
Until the time this happens users of the eCash currency may at some times be confronted by these address format incompatibilities, so this article aims to offer you some help with dealing with these issues
Address format explained
When dealing with wallets and wallet addresses on different platforms you may encounter 3 different formats that all have to do with the history and past of this chain and currency.
This format starts with ecash: (the “prefix”) followed by q or p. Then there is a series of numbers and letters. This style of address is also known by its technical name CashAddr. This format was introduced in 2021 and will become the default format for eCash wallets and services.
Bitcoin Cash format
This format starts with bitcoincash: (the “prefix”) followed by q or p. Then there is a series of numbers and letters. This style of address is also known by its technical name CashAddr or CashAddr BCH. This format was introduced in January of 2018.
This format does not have a prefix. It starts with 1 or 3 and is followed by a series of numbers and letters that are case sensitive. This format is also known as the Legacy format as it goes back all the way to the beginnings of Bitcoin.i.e. 35A4uDKb6p9AFu7w1R4sDhiFfevSBv4uLq *
* The example address given here in is the eCash development fund wallet address in 3 formats
Now comes the interesting and maybe more complicated part, even though an address can look different, it can be exactly the same address at the fundamental blockchain level. It is like the same word in different languages. This is because at the basis of everything there is the private and public key pair. You send coins to the public key and you can unlock those coins with the private key. But everybody who has ever seen what a public key looks like (sometimes they are visible on paper wallets) knows they do not look like what we recognise as wallet addresses. A series of mathematical processes are released on that public key to transform it into a wallet address. If those processes are changed the address that comes out looks different even though when coins are sent to it they still will be controlled by the same public and private key pair.
Now if you are completely confused so far, don't worry just see it as the same coin destination written in 3 different languages. And this is where the address converter comes in. (https://e.cash/address-converter) It can translate an address from one format to another. You just take the address you have and enter it into the converter and it returns the address in all three formats.
An example is Binance exchange which now is using the Bitcoin Legacy address format instead of the new eCash format. Others like for instance Indodax exchange, did complete the full rebrand which includes the new eCash CashAddr format. A Binance user wants to withdraw coins to Indodax. It gets the Indodax deposit address. This address is the new format and is not recognised by Binance. This is where the address converter is needed. The ecash: address is entered and after translating it the Legacy address is used in Binance to withdraw to.
The first time a user does this it is a bit scary because it feels like you are sending to another address than the deposit address Indodax provided. So it is only natural to fear that the coin will not arrive in Indodax. However when using the address converter on the e.cash site or the one that is built into the ElectrumABC wallet, it will work. A simple way to reduce fear is to first send a small amount (do take any minimum deposit amounts into consideration).
It is at this time not known to eCash News Today which exchanges did the full rebrand including the new format and which exchanges skipped the step of implementing the new address format. With exchanges only now starting to open their wallets it is something that will become more clear over time but with Binance reverting to Bitcoin Legacy format it is safe to say that users will need to learn how to convert addresses when they deal with wallet incompatibilities.
Electrum ABC wallet
People using an Electrum ABC eCash wallet on their desktop will have little to no issue as it not only has a built in address converter, it also allows users to switch the complete wallet to another format by clicking the second button on the bottom right hand side of their wallet window. The name of the address format selected will appear on the bottom left. This allows users to easily switch to a format compatible with the exchange they are dealing with which makes the user experience a lot smoother.
Customer is King
In the end it would be better for everyone involved in eCash if all wallets and services would be using the latest eCash wallet address. Time and again it has been proven that customers of those exchanges, wallets and services are the ones that hold the power to push businesses into making the needed changes. So if you do not enjoy the use of the address converter and want to reduce wallet address format incompatibility, write support tickets, post your request on social media but also don’t forget to praise those businesses and teams that did do all the work already.