A watch-only wallet is a wallet without any secrets in it that could be used to spend bitcoin. That means it does not have the seed or any private keys. A watch-only wallet is useful in situations where you want to be able to view transactions and balances on an online computer without risking your bitcoins. A watch-only wallet is often used to keep track of transactions on a cold storage electrum wallet.
Electrum supports two type of watch-only wallets:
- Deterministic watch-only wallets: These track transactions in a deterministic Electrum wallet i.e. a wallet with a seed. I cover how to create such a wallet further down in this page.
- Non-deterministic watch-only wallets: These track arbitrary and unconnected addresses. To create this type of wallet follow the guide here except that instead of entering private keys you enter the addresses you want to watch.
Deterministic Watch-only Wallet
- Open the Electrum wallet you want to create a watch-only wallet of and go to wallet menu > information. Copy the Master Public Key (MPK) you find there and save it. You will need this when creating the watch-only wallet so if you’re going to create the watch-only wallet on a different system be sure to transfer the MPK to it using a removable drive like a USB drive.
- On the system where you want to create the watch-only wallet begin a new wallet file according to this guide and then proceed to step 3 below.
- Choose standard wallet
- Choose use public or private keys:
- Enter your MPK:6. Electrum will then generate your addresses and display this warning to remind you that this wallet can’t be spent fromThat’s all there is to it. Now you’ll be able to see all your transactions and balance and can even get addresses to hand out to people who want to send you bitcoin.