How to Recover Crypto Transferred to Wrong Chain

How to Recover Crypto Transferred to Wrong Chain
How to Recover Crypto Transferred to Wrong Chain. Image by jcomp on Freepik

Blockchain technology has made a significant impact on almost all industries, and it continues to do so. With every passing day, every minute, an increasing number of people are getting attracted to it.

For a lot of people, however, the benefits of blockchain start and end with cryptocurrencies. They know how to operate their wallet and send money from their wallet to another wallet. 

However, do they really know enough to be able to troubleshoot if a problem were to arise? What if the problem was such an important one that we had to devote an entire article to it?

What if you’ve transferred crypto to the wrong blockchain? OMG! Did you just lose all those tokens? Panic alert!

Is it possible to recover them?

The short answer is, relax, you’re probably going to be fine. 

More often than not, the process of retrieval is quite an easy one. But, if for some reason, luck happens to be against you, the game is still not over. There’s still more you can do.

So, let’s take a look at the methods of recovering tokens once you’ve sent them to the wrong blockchain! 

But before that, let’s take a closer look at what the problem really is.

Understanding the Problem

While transferring tokens, have you ever noticed that some tokens have multiple networks available for carrying out the transfers? Ever wondered why that is so?

Well, the reason behind that is that most cryptocurrencies have different networks for different reasons. You’ve probably seen cryptocurrencies have the main net (that acts as the main blockchain network) and a test net at the very least. And then there are all the token standards (we’ll talk about this in a bit!)

Even frequent traders miss this out every now and then, sending tokens to the wrong network. That said, all it takes is some additional attention while choosing wallets and you should be safe from this problem.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg. This problem lies deep and wide. There are a lot of ways your tokens can land in places they shouldn’t be. We’re strictly talking about the ways wherein you actively try to send tokens to the wrong address. 

A hack or a security breach would be a completely different ball game which, in many ways, is beyond the scope of this article.

Coming back to the case of misplaced tokens, the first thing you need to do when you send tokens to the wrong network is to check the type of receiving wallet. Is it a Custodial Wallet or a Non-Custodial Wallet? That should help you get closer to the solution.

Unsure about the kind of wallet you have? Let me help. Custodial wallets are the ones that hold your funds for you and have control over the private keys. Whereas, a Non-Custodial wallet gives you complete control over the private keys.

Understanding the Types of Tokens

Remember when we talked about token standards in the last section? Okay, we just brushed past it, but here’s the real deal. The thing is, token standards are a set of rules used to govern a token built on a specific blockchain. 

These standards determine the mechanism for creating, issuing, and deploying new tokens on a blockchain. For instance, the token standard for Ethereum is ERC-20 using which developers can build new tokens on the Ethereum Blockchain. 

Some of the most commonly used token standards are ERC-20 for Ethereum, BEP-20 for Binance Smart Chain, and TRC-20 for TRON Blockchain. 

So can you use Bitcoin on the Ethereum platform? Yes, you can! However, you need to wrap the Bitcoin and turn it into an ERC-20 token first. Learn more on this topic from the beginner’s guide to wrapped bitcoins.

Now that we have clarity about the tokens, let us dive into what happens when you send funds to the wrong network.

What to do When you Have Sent Funds to the Wrong Network?

In this case, we are taking the example of sending an ERC-20 i.e., Ethereum token to the Binance Smart Chain (BSC). If you do so, the tokens will end up on the exact wallet address of your chosen network. 

This happens because the wallet addresses of Ethereum and BSC are the same and you can access them using the same private key.

In such cases, the funds or tokens sent will be visible on your wallet address in the Binance Smart Chain as BEP-20 tokens pegged to Ether. When the tokens are pegged, their value gets locked against Ether. 

The above picture shows a transaction where a user tried withdrawing ERC-20 tokens and opted for the BSC Chain in the network section of their Binance wallet. As a result of this, his tokens got locked up as Binance-Peg Ethereum with the same wallet address as shown in the picture.

However, the cryptocurrency is not lost and is just transferred to the wrong chain. This can be resolved by transferring them back to the right blockchain. In this scenario there can be three possibilities:

  1. The receiving wallet supports both Binance Smart Chain (BSC) as well as Ethereum.
  2. The receiving wallet supports either BSC or Ethereum.
  3. The receiving wallet is a custodial wallet.

Before you begin the process of retrieving your crypto, you need to figure out the nature of your receiving wallet and then opt for the solution that matches your situation.

Let us now take a look at the steps you need to follow in the three scenarios mentioned above:

Recovering Tokens from a Wallet Supporting BSC as well as Ethereum

In this scenario, your receiving wallet supports both BSC and Ethereum. Therefore, the crypto that you have transferred should automatically be received in your wallet and you should be able to see it. 

In case you are not able to see them in your wallet, search for the token using a toggle list for both networks.

For instance, Ethereum has Metamask that allows you to take a quick look at all your tokens based on the Ethereum blockchain. If you cannot find your token then, click on the ‘Add Token’ button and search for your tokens.  


However, if you want your tokens to be transferred to their original blockchain, you can do so via two methods:

  • Binance Bridge: Binance Bridge is a tool provided by Binance using which you can convert your tokens between blockchains. All you need to do is link your wallet and choose the tokens that you wish to transfer. 

However, if you connect the Binance Chain wallet make sure you own BNB for the gas fee. 

Similarly, in the case of an Ethereum wallet, you need Ether for the gas fee. The following picture represents the Interface of the Binance Bridge. Here, you need to choose the token you wish to transfer in the ‘Asset’ section. 

After this, choose the correct networks and enter the number of tokens you want to transfer.

  • Manual Method: If you wish to manually transfer the tokens to the original blockchain, the process is different and includes additional steps. In this case, you first need to send the tokens back to your Binance wallet. 

However, make sure the network in your Binance Spot wallet is the same as the blockchain on which your tokens are present. 

After receiving the tokens back in your Binance wallet you can send them to the external wallet of your choice.

Let us try to understand this with an example. In this case, we are going to convert the Binance-Peg ETH, as shown earlier to ERC -20 ETH tokens. It is important to ensure that you have sufficient BNB in your wallet to cover the gas fee.

  1. Go to the Binance Crypto Withdrawal page on the app and select ETH. Make sure the deposit network you select is BEP-20 (BSC). As shown below.
  1. After this, your ETH should be back in your Binance wallet. Now, you need to convert them to ERC–20. For this, withdraw the tokens into a wallet that supports Ethereum and use the Ethereum network while transferring.

Recovering Tokens from a Wallet Supporting Either BSC or Ethereum

In this case, you need to use the private key of your existing wallet and import it into a wallet that supports both the networks and blockchains.

Process for Importing the Private Key

The private key is a kind of password that allows you to access your crypto. Importing one wallet’s private key into another wallet allows you to access the tokens in the former wallet even when you are using the latter wallet.

Therefore, when you import your private key into a new wallet the crypto will not be transferred from your previous wallet to the new one. However, you will have access to those cryptocurrencies. Doing this is not possible in case you have a custodian wallet as it does not provide the users with a private key of their own.

Let us try to understand the process of importing the private key into a new wallet using an example. In this case, we will make use of the Chrome extension for Metamask for retrieving the Ether sent to the Binance Smart Chain (BSC).

1. Log into your Metamask wallet using the Chrome Extension. In case you do not have a Metamask wallet, you can create a new one.

2. While creating a new Metamask account, you have an option of importing your old wallet’s seed phrase as shown below.


3. In case you already have a Metamask account, access that using the Chrome extension. Once you are there, click on the profile in the top right corner of the screen as shown below should.


4. Once you have done this, opt for ‘Import Account’, enter your previous wallet’s private key, and click on ‘Import’. Otherwise, you also have the option of adding the JSON file of your previous wallet.

5. After this, you also have to manually add the Binance Smart Chain network to your Metamask wallet. For doing this, hover over to the Metamask extension and click on it. Now, click on the network menu in the middle of the toggle as shown below. 


6. You will see a list with various network options, click on ‘Custom RPC’ mentioned at the end of the list.


7. On the next screen, you will be asked to enter details about the Binance Smart Chain. These details include the following:

Network Name: BSC Mainnet


Chain ID: 56

Symbol: BNB

Block Explorer URL:


8. After completing the above step, you need to add the right token contract to your Metamask wallet. You will see the Binance-Peg Ethereum Token (ETH) as shown below. Click on it to know more about its token contract.


9. On this screen, you will get the Contact information and the decimals as shown below. Make sure you copy the token contract and note down the decimal for further use.


10. The Binance Smart Chain (BSC) is now added to the list of networks in your Metamask wallet. From the list of Networks, choose ‘BSC Mainnet’. After this, click on ‘Add Token’ and opt for ‘Custom Token’ as shown below.

11. You would now be asked to enter the details of the token including the contract address, etc. Here you need to paste the contract address copied earlier, along with the Decimals noted. In the ‘Token Symbol’ tab enter the symbol of the token being added. In this case, enter ETH.

12. You will now see a confirmation window. Click on the ‘Add Tokens’ tab at the bottom right end.


Once you have completed the entire process, your lost tokens will get added to your Metamask wallet and you can use them from there.

Recovering Tokens from a Custodial Wallet

Among the three scenarios, the chances of recovering your funds out here are the lowest. If you transfer your tokens to the wrong network at a custodial wallet, the only way out is to contact the wallet’s custodial holder.

In some cases, you might receive your private key. You can use that for recovering your tokens through the process mentioned earlier. However, not all custodial wallets provide users with their private keys. Therefore, it is important to ensure you are transferring your tokens using the correct network.

Before You Go…

While withdrawing crypto, choosing the right network is something a lot of people overlook due to a lack of knowledge. 

Doing this may lead to users not being able to track their tokens and, in some cases, even losing them. The ways mentioned earlier can be used for recovering your crypto. 

However, as mentioned, you might not be able to recover them in all cases. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that you are transferring your tokens using the correct network or blockchain.

Personal Note From MEXC Team

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Anju Mobin

Anju Mobin is a passionate cryptocurrency enthusiast with extensive knowledge in the field. As a dedicated writer and editor, she has made a name for herself as an expert in the crypto world. Her main focus is on testing new crypto wallets, Defi applications, and NFT games to create informative and reader-friendly tutorials.

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Anju Mobin
Anju Mobin is a passionate cryptocurrency enthusiast with extensive knowledge in the field. As a dedicated writer and editor, she has made a name for herself as an expert in the crypto world. Her main focus is on testing new crypto wallets, Defi applications, and NFT games to create informative and reader-friendly tutorials.