The Ultimate Guide On How to Recover Crypto Transferred to the Wrong Network

by David Patterson
10 Feb 2023

Being seasoned in computer science and having surfed the entire software development stack, David has something to say about how it all works. He’s also well aware of the gambling industry's best practices for turning client-customer concepts into workable models. Additionally, David's zest for cryptos makes him precisely that guy whose comprehensive expertise can save you from unnecessary (and costly!) mistakes.

Person holding a BTC coin
Person holding a BTC coin

Sending crypto tokens to the wrong address is a common issue in cryptocurrency. Realizing such a mistake can be stressful, especially when you transfer an impressive amount (say, your recent winnings from crypto gambling).

Should it happen to you, don’t panic: there are still chances to return your coins. This guide will explain how you can recover a cryptocurrency sent to the wrong address and what you need to do.

Why Do Mistakes Happen?

a stressed man
Stress often makes us make mistakes, but there is more than just stress! 

Wrong network choice 

When making deposits or withdrawals with your Binance account, you can see the network options next to each token. Each network is a separate blockchain designed to work with this or that crypto coin. So, which to choose when transferring cryptocurrency to another wallet? Sometimes, this question baffles even experienced crypto users.

Understanding the token standards is essential to avoid commonly made mistakes when transferring crypto. The standards that mark crypto tokens govern their use by indicating the blockchain and types of wallet that this or that coin supports.

Standards like ERC-20, TRC-20, BEP-20, and BEP-2 are especially puzzling for newcomers to the crypto world. Inexperienced crypto enthusiasts can easily confuse BEP-20 with BEP-2 or ERC-20 with BEP-20.

Wrong address entered

Along with choosing the wrong blockchain, crypto users sometimes mistype the receiving wallet’s address. If you enter the crypto wallet address manually, chances are you will make a typo in some part of it. 

Understanding Token Standards

What’s the difference between ERC-20, TRC-20, BEP-20, and BEP-2 token standards? 

Here is what you need to know:

  • ERC-20 stands for the Ethereum blockchain
  • TRC-20 stands for the TRON network
  • BEP-2 stands for the Binance blockchain
  • BEP-20 stands for Binance Smart Chain

What confuses crypto users is that ERC-20 Ethereum and BEP-20 Binance Smart Chain generate addresses similarly. As a result, users often select the wrong type of network for deposits or withdrawals. 

bitcoin coins and a chain
A photo of Bitcoin coins and a chain

How To Recover Crypto Sent To Wrong Network: 3 Common Scenarios On Binance

If you accidentally send BEP-20 tokens to Ethereum (or vice versa), can you return your crypto assets? Let’s look through the common address mix-up scenarios on Binance when you can retrieve crypto sent to the wrong blockchain. 

#1 How to retrieve tokens from a wallet that supports both Ethereum and BSC

The easiest situation is when the funds sent to the wrong network land in a wallet supporting the Binance Smart Chain and Ethereum. 

How to recover crypto transferred to the wrong network on Metamask? How to recover crypto transferred to the wrong network on Trust Wallet? As long as these two wallets support Binance Smart Chain and Ethereum, you can transfer your tokens to those destinations back to the correct blockchain.

In MetaMask, hit the “Add Token” button to see the list of supported coins. You should specify the token’s contract address in the wallet if you don’t see the token on the list.

adding a token to metamask
Adding the token to the Metamask

In Trust Wallet, the process is similar. To enable the desired token in Trust Wallet, click the “Add Custom Token” button and input the crypto coin’s contract address.

Once you see the desired token in your wallet, you can manually transfer your coins to the correct network or through Binance Bridge. 

With a manual method, you need to transfer your coins back to Binance. If you want to convert BEP-20 ETH into ERC-20 ETH, make sure the deposit network matches the network where your coin is located. So, you need to pick ETH and BEP-20 in your spot wallet. Once your ETH arrives, you can transfer it back to MetaMask using ERC-20 as the blockchain. 

Alternatively, you can get the advantage of Binance Bridge and transfer your crypto assets from one network to another. To proceed, you will need to link your wallet with this tool.

bitcoin bridge
Using Bitcoin Bridge to convert crypto assets between blockchains

#2 How to return crypto from a wallet that supports either Ethereum or BSC

Now, what if the destination wallet doesn’t support the network of the token you’ve sent to it? In this case, import your wallet’s private key into a new wallet that supports both blockchains. Depending on the wallet, you may use a seed phrase instead of a private key. After importing the wallet’s private key into another wallet, you will access all your funds. 

This method works with non-custodial crypto wallets only since custodial wallets don’t have private keys. MetaMask, Trust Wallet, and TokenPocket are all eligible wallets for such a recovery method.

importing an account on metamask
Importing an account using a private key on MetaMask

Keep in mind that importing the private key doesn’t involve sending the funds to another wallet; you simply access your wallet from another application. 

#3 How to return crypto from a custodial wallet or exchange

As mentioned above, users of custodial wallets don’t own any private keys. Thus, the chances of recovering crypto mistakenly transferred to such a wallet are lower compared to the two previous scenarios. 

To recover your crypto, you can contact the technical support of your wallet or the exchange where you’ve sent your tokens by mistake. Some platforms can provide you with a private key for a fee. After receiving the private key, you can import it to another wallet that supports both blockchains. 

How to Recover Crypto Sent To the Wrong Address?

bitcoin coin
A hand putting a Bitcoin coin into the pocket

As you can see, sending crypto to the wrong network doesn’t mean losing your tokens. Let’s see if anything can be done with the wrong destination wallet address entered.

In case of mistyping the destination address, you won’t necessarily lose a fortune. There is a difference between sending crypto to an invalid address and transferring coins to an incorrect yet valid address. As a rule, bitcoin wallets (or bitcoin clients) check the validity of the wallet address where you transfer crypto. If the wallet address you entered is invalid, the error will be noticed by the client/wallet, and the transaction will not be created.

But, if you enter a valid address with a typo, you won’t be able to reverse or cancel the transaction; most likely, your funds will be lost. 

Another scenario is to contact the wallet owner directly and ask to return your funds. This person is the only one who can now manage the transferred tokens. Thus, there are still chances to return your crypto assets, although they are very small.

Quora post
Screenshot of a Quora post about sending Bitcoin to the wrong address

Tips To Avoid Mistakes

#1 Beware of the network you choose 

Before depositing funds into your Binance account or withdrawing funds from Binance, pay attention to the type of network you choose. As we said previously, Ethereum (ERC-20) and Binance Smart Chain (BEP-20) are easy to confuse. Be sure to pick the network supported by the target exchange or the receiving wallet.

#2 Consider the exchange AND the wallet 

Other than Binance, most exchanges don’t support BEP-2 or BEP-20 networks. Therefore, if you send an Ethereum-based ERC-20 token, choose the ERC-20 token standard for transfer.

If you transfer coins to a wallet like MetaMask or Trust wallet, the choice between ERC20 and BEP20 is not that critical. Both wallets support Binance Smart Chain, so you can recover coins if something goes wrong — just follow the instructions we’ve shared above.

The same thing on Binance: your deposit address is the same for ETH, ERC-20, and BEP-20 tokens. So, if you are wondering how to recover Ethereum sent to the wrong network, Binance has covered you. 

But don’t practice this approach when transferring coins to another exchange. Most exchanges generate a separate address for each specific token. 

#3 Check the supported crypto

Next, ensure the exchange you are working with supports the assets you will transfer. For example, Coinbase will give you the list of supported crypto once you go to the Trade section and apply the “Tradable assets” filter.

#4 Double-check networks and addresses 

Finally, double-check the network type and address of the target exchange or wallet before transferring. By doing so, you can avoid transferring the wrong coins or tokens to the wrong network or address.


How to recover crypto sent to the wrong network on Coinbase?

While Coinbase supports over 170 tokens to trade and a range of cool features like buying crypto with Apple Pay, some coins may still not reach your account when transferred. The reason is unsupported assets and networks they are designed for. 
Now, how to recover crypto transferred to the wrong network on Coinbase? Initially, crypto tokens sent to wallets on blockchains not supported by Coinbase were not subject to retrieval. Thus, a failure to check the supported crypto could be a costly mistake.
To help crypto users recover unsupported ERC-20 tokens, Coinbase has recently introduced its asset recovery tool. With the Coinbase unsupported crypto recovery tool, you can have the mistakenly sent tokens sent to a self-custodial wallet.To proceed with recovery, sign in to your Coinbase account and head down to the Asset recovery page.

How to recover crypto transferred to the wrong network on KuCoin?

KuCoin is another large crypto exchange that enables users to trade the top cryptocurrencies. Since some crypto tokens support multiple networks on KuCoin, make sure that the network you pick matches the network of the entered address. Otherwise, your deposit may be lost. Depositing unsupported coins may also result in the loss of funds. 
According to the KuCoin Help Center, whenever you are depositing the wrong crypto, there is a chance to restore it. But Reddit users are much less optimistic about recovering crypto sent to the wrong blockchain. To proceed, you should contact the support team with your transaction details.

How to recover crypto sent to the wrong address using Metamask?

If the transaction is still pending, MetaMask may allow you to cancel it. Note that you must realize the mistake made in time while the transaction is still being processed. Once the transaction clears, you will no longer be able to cancel it.

How to recover bitcoin sent to the wrong address? How to recover SLP sent to the wrong address? (as well as other coins)

Since crypto transactions are irreversible, you cannot cancel the transfer sent to the wrong address or ask the exchange to do so. You can only try to contact the wallet’s owner and ask to return the mistakenly sent funds.

How to recover Ethereum sent to the wrong address on Binance?

If you enter the wrong destination address when withdrawing your tokens from Binance, the exchange won’t be able to assist you with the retrieval of your funds. Still, you can ask the owner of the mistakenly entered address to return the funds.

Final Thoughts

Due to the human factor, transferring cryptocurrencies to other sources often involves mistakes. Your chances to recover your tokens largely depend on the type of mistake made. If you specified the network incorrectly, don’t rush to say goodbye to your assets. Mistakes in the destination wallet address leave much fewer chances to recover crypto tokens.

To prevent losses, follow the tips we’ve shared in our guide. That is, be attentive, do your research, and double-check all the inputs you make when transferring your crypto.

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