Before reading this page, users should note that messing with ECDSA private keys is very dangerous and can result in losing bitcoins, even long after the import. It is recommended that outside of self-generated vanity addresses, users should never import or export private keys. As of August , possibly the easiest way to import a private key is using Blockchain. It is extremely risky and not recommended to use Blockchain. It's best to import them using bitcoind as described below.
User can choose to type in the private key manually or scan a QR code containing the private key using the camera.
The user must wait 6 confirmations for access to the funds, and system is based on batch importation. It is extremely risky and not recommended to use BIPS or any online third-party service to import private keys, because they can steal your BitCoins if they have the keys. After spending, the private key in memory is destroyed so the paper private key remains somewhat secure. Despite this, best practice is to immediately send the remaining balance to a paper wallet that was generated offline.
Use this function if you would like to import a private key so all funds are immediately available for spending. After importing this paper private key, you might consider destroying the original so it cannot be found and your funds stolen. Alternatively, you can keep it safe to be used as an offline backup. If you have Version 7 or later it is now trival. If you are using Cold storage , a Paper wallet or generating vanity addresses you may have a need to import a Private key.
Before v0. This article describes how to import a private key through the RPC API of bitcoind, which is a topic for advanced users.
Unlike third-party wallet. Instead, you need to start the bitcoind server. If you have an encrypted wallet recommended , you need to unlock it temporarily before importing private keys.
Typing this directly in a bash terminal will leave your wallet passphrase directly in the bash history but there are a couple of techniques you can use to avoid this. Simply add a space before the command:. The last command unlocked your wallet temporarily for seconds, during which time you must import your private keys.
Since private keys can be as important as your passphrase, you may want to use the same techniques as above to prevent their being recorded in bash history bash variable or space before the command :. The importing process is now started. Bitcoind will rescan the entire block data to ensure this key has not been used before.
This process will take from one to two minutes, depending on your CPU performance. DO NOT abort it before finishing! If no errors occurs, the import is a success and Bitcoin-QT users will be able to see the new address in the GUI immediately. If you need to import more keys, just repeat the instructions above.
There is currently no command to import a batch of private keys so you will need to wait a minute or two for each key to be imported. These commands will clear the passphrase and private key from memory if you used the read technique.
If you started bitcoind, you will need to stop it before Bitcoin-QT will start again:. At some point, you may wish to delete private keys from a wallet. Jump to: navigation , search. Category : Instructional. Navigation menu Personal tools Create account Log in. Namespaces Page Discussion. Views Read View source View history. Sister projects Essays Source. This page was last edited on 19 August , at Content is available under Creative Commons Attribution 3.
Wallet programs create public keys to receive satoshis and use the corresponding private keys to spend those satoshis. Wallet files store private keys and optionally other information related to transactions for the wallet program. Two wallet programs can work together, one program distributing public keys in order to receive satoshis pprivate another program signing transactions spending those satoshis. Wallet programs also need to interact with the peer-to-peer network to get information from the block chain and to broadcast new transactions. This leaves us with three necessary, but separable, parts of a wallet system: a public key distribution program, a signing program, and a networked program.
In such wallets, once you install them on your desktop, you will get your Bitcoin address and private key in a downloadable and importable file. Related 6. This is described in Miguel Moreno's answer to this questionand is easier than the steps I describe. Let us know what you do in the comments below!! If you have Version 7 or later it is now trival. Had trouble getting the alpha numeric key to take in blockhain. There is currently no command to import a batch of private keys cors you will need to wait a minute or two for each key to be imported. Have a question about Bitcoin Private keys?