Memos in Stellar, Kin, and other cryptocurrencies

Transaction memos: what they are and how to work with them

Let’s jump straight to the point. Memos are pieces of text, hash, IDs or other data that are attached to transactions. They are entirely optional and have a number of different uses.

Most importantly, custodial exchanges utilize memos as extensions of addresses. They rarely store the users’ funds in individual wallets, instead, they resort to assigning a single wallet to a number of people.

If you do not provide a memo when sending to such an exchange, the funds may not reach their destination. Without the full information, there is no way to tell which user has the right to the money received. It is common to see the users’ cries for help as they lose access to their assets this way.

There may not even be a solution to this predicament. However, if you find yourself in this situation, try to find as many details about the transaction as possible and contact the exchange’s support team. It will be up to them to decide whether you can get the lost funds.

A memo can also obviously serve as a comment to a payment, specifying its purpose or providing some feedback. This is especially useful for small sellers that rely on such information to monitor their activities.

Moreover, memos can be used as a mechanism for creating a decentralized forum. Once on the blockchain, they are accessible by everyone and can’t be removed, thus giving a voice to anyone who needs to be heard.