Ripple destination tag, NEM message field and Stellar memo ID

You’ve probably heard of various kinds of altcoins (which are generally an alternative to Bitcoin) – Litecoin, Ether, Monero…  Among them there are such cryptocurrencies as Ripple (XRP), NEM (XEM), Stellar Lumens (XLM) which are becoming more and more popular (at least, in terms of  exchange) today.

There are certain differences between these cryptocurrencies and, for example, habitual Bitcoin. Thus, when exchanging currencies such as  XRP, XEM or XLM, there comes a pretty frequent problem:

“I have forgotten to put the destination tag in – so now I can’t understand if the transaction has really been made and where my coins are. ”  

Depending on which cryptocurrency is involved there can be other variations like message field or memo ID field as well. So what do these tags and fields mean, and why it is essential sometimes to use them?

When it comes to management of Ripple (XRP), Lumens (XLM) or NEM (XEM) – it has some distinctive features by comparison to the standard cryptocurrencies management. There are certain subtleties which, if you fail to consider them, may even lead to loss of coins. For instance, during an exchange process a special tag or field could be required.

The name of this additional field differs depending on cryptocurrencies:

  • destination tag – for XRP
  • message field – for XEM
  • memo ID – for XLM

For convenience, let’s call it an extra identifier.

When do I need an extra identifier?

1. When shifting from XRP/XEM/XLM to another currency.

Actually, an exchange process works like this: first your coins go to an exchange platform, like if you make a deposit to it. Here an identifier is required because the exchange platform can use one XRP/ XEM/ XLM address for many traders – while the identifier is unique. It is given personally for each user by an exchange platform to ensure that the platform knows where the funds come from and can exchange them successfully for another currency.

2. When you are going to transfer your XRP/XEM/XLM to any custodial service – like a custodial wallet or an exchange.

Custodial wallets do not allow users to have a full control over their funds. It is necessary to mention the principle on which they are often based – there is one common wallet created for everyone. Thus, when a user wants to transfer coins to his/her account, a extra ID is requested in order to somehow personalize the account deposit.

If you are unsure whether your wallet requires this, it is strongly recommended to check it with your wallet provider before performing the transaction.

On the other hand, you can be sure that no extra ID is needed when depositing your coins to some non-custodial wallets, like Guarda. Having Guarda wallet means that you are the only one who owns it – your personal wallet has nothing to do with alien accounts and transactions.
Nevertheless we can’t vouch for other wallets, so we strongly recommend you to be very careful when transferring coins from Guarda wallet to another one.

Where do I find this extra identifier?

When doing an exchange transaction from XRP/XEM/XLM – you will get it from an exchange platform.

When shifting to XRP/XEM/XLM  – you should search for it in your wallet in case it requires it. If you fail to find it – you should ask your wallet provider for it.

What if I forgot to put an extra identifier in when it was required?

Your coins now have no exact address to go. To avoid loss of user’s coins (when it comes to XRP) some platforms use the so-called Requires destination tag flag which disallows transactions if destination tag was not specified.
But the thing is – and one should always remember that – not all the platforms set this flag. So here is the sad scenario: imagine chasing your XEM transfer to an exchange like many others who have ignored to specify a destination tag. The result can be a loss of coins, or they may be finally given back – but why should you risk? So, don’t forget to get your extra identifier for safe operations with XRP, XEM and XLM.


What about you – have you ever been baffled with any special fields like destination tag or memo ID? Share your story in the comments below!
To make an instant exchange with all the cryptocurrencies visit guarda.co 🙂

Can it happen to Guarda Wallet users?

Guarda users can stay cool, as well as users of other non-custodial wallets. If you use Guarda, your assets belong only to you and they are not mixed with any other accounts, so there’s no need in any extra identifiers when topping up your wallet.

Though, we do ask all our users to pay special attention when sending funds from their Guarda wallets to external services, as they might demand using an extra id.