Importing your private keys into Electrum

Import or Sweep

Before you import your private keys consider whether sweeping them might be better.

Importing your private keys requires you to create a new electrum wallet just for your private keys

Sweeping them means that all the funds in the private keys are sent to your existing deterministic Electrum wallet. This is a one-time on-chain operation.

Unless you expect to receive money in the future to the addresses corresponding to your private keys it is better to sweep them. Sweeping private keys sends the funds to your deterministic wallet and backing that up is as easy as writing down the seed mnemonic.

However if importing is what you want to do then read on for the guide

Importing private keys into Electrum

These instructions are for Electrum 3.0 and later. Please upgrade first if you are using an older version of electrum.

You cannot import private keys into an existing HD wallet. Importing private keys requires you to create a new wallet file that will only contain the imported private keys.

  1. Start new electrum wallet file by following this short guide. Then come back here and proceed to step 2.
  2. Click on next to see the wallet type selection window:

    As you can see Electrum supports different types of wallets. Just select “Import bitcoin addresses or private keys”.
  3. And then you paste in your private keys in the box that it displays on the next screen:

    Enter one private key per line. Electrum supports mini private keys and full sized keys in Wallet Import Format (WIF).

    Note: if the addresses in the source wallet begin with 3 you have to prepend “p2wpkh-p2sh:” to each private key before importing it. If the addresses begin with bc1 then you prepend “p2wpkh:”. Click on the info button to see examples.

  4. Electrum will then display your wallet window:

    That’s it. You’re done!

If you need help with your Electrum problems see the support forum links here.

167 thoughts on “Importing your private keys into Electrum”

    1. What version of electrum are you using? The version is listed up top in the electrum window title bar.

      Does the private key begin with 5, K or L?

        1. I gave you instructions to follow on IRC but you ignored them and disappeared. There is a bug in blockchain.info where it gives out compressed private keys for old addresses instead of the correct uncompressed private key. So what you can do is load bitaddress.org in your browser, go offfline, enter your private key on the wallet details tab and then grab the uncompressed private key from there. The uncompressed private key starts with 5. Then close your browser before you go online again. After that you can import your uncompressed private key into electrum to get the correct address.

          Note that entering your private key on a website is risky so you should just send the money from your blockchain.info wallet to your electrum wallet instead.

    2. Electrum acces
      Is asking me 0.12 btc to give me my
      Prívate key
      When i pay they give a serie of 62 Numbers and letters , i supost to find 12 phrase

      Now they asking 0.6 btc to décode 12 phrases

      It is look Scam you can trust electrum Wallet

      1. electrum doesn’t ask for money to show you your own private keys. you have downloaded a malware version of the wallet. check the download url from your browser history to confirm that it is download.electrum.org and not some fake site.

  1. Hello my keys are beginning with 5 or K, the recover process has somewhat succeeded, but I get balance 0 and transactions recovered only till 2015
    all my later transactions are not recovered, nor my actual balance

    thank you

    1. You could try switching to a different server: https://bitcoinelectrum.com/how-to-switch-to-a-different-electrum-server/

      However it is also possible that your coins are in a different address controlled by a different private key. Perhaps whatever wallet software you were using would have had multiple private keys and it moved the coins to a different address like a change address. You haven’t specified where you got the private key from so I can only speculate.

      1. Hello

        I exported successfully ALL my private keys from https://bitcoin.org/fr/wallets/mobile/android/bitcoinwallet
        this wallet has full correct history, All keys have been restored fine, but the imported history stops at 2015. I will try to change server. all keys are beginning with 5, K or L

      2. I have tried to read through and understand, but I’m pretty new to this and did not see the information I was looking for. My private key starts with a 5 and I’m trying to make my wallet NOT watch-only. Will sweeping my private key fix this and what prepend would I use? Apologies in advance if I just overlooked the answer.

        1. run electrum and then go to file > delete to delete the watch only wallet.

          create a new standard wallet as per the guide below

          https://bitcoinelectrum.com/creating-an-electrum-wallet/

          then sweep the private key to it:

          https://bitcoinelectrum.com/sweeping-your-private-keys-into-electrum/

          you don’t have to prepend anything.

      1. no one else is supposed to have your private keys. it’s in the name. they are “private” keys. only you have them and they don’t need to be decoded or verified. anyone sharing private keys is scamming you. anyone asking for money is scamming you too.

  2. Most likely your bitcoins are in a change address like I said before. What you need to do is extract the seed words and restore using that in Electrum. For more info about that follow this guide (it’ll work for the schildbach wallet too): https://bitcoinelectrum.com/restoring-your-multibithd-wallet-in-electrum/

  3. Hi, here my strange situation:
    – i have a blockchain web wallet whit actually balance 0.36 btc
    – i also have in my transaction history a unconfirmed send transaction of 0.13 from 4 dec (yes 30 days unconfirmed)
    – following webs warning i get a Electrum Wallet 3.0.3
    – i create a new wallet and import my private key (i have only 1 key start L4…)
    – after syncro i see a balance of 0.28 (didint match whit imported wallet) and all transaction history end at 19 december and also i didint see the unconfirmed transaction
    so why this missmatch balance? why is reported only at 19 dec? and why i dont see the unconfirmed transaction?
    Thanks

    1. The remaining coins are probably in a change address. That’s why you don’t import private keys unless you really know what you are doing.

      Do you have the recovery phrase for your bc.i wallet? If yes then restore using that as per this guide: https://bitcoinelectrum.com/restoring-your-standard-wallet-from-seed/ . If you have an old bc.i wallet that does not come with a seed mnemonic/recovery phrase then see if you can find the other addresses in the wallet and their private keys and import those into electrum. However when it comes to old bc.i wallets it is best to just send the money to a new standard electrum wallet i.e. an on-chain transaction.

      1. Thanks for reply, the true is that was my mistake im an idiot ahaha because bc.i have “my wallet” and “imported address” so i only move to electrum the imported address. now i transferred from my wallet to import wallet and now electrum show me the right balance .

  4. i have last question, because bc.i show me the balance of 0.36 btc due the long unconfirmed tx of 0.13 btc (in blocktrail this tx result as cancelled and refunded to my wallet but not in blockchain where result as unconfirmed)
    But Electrum wallet show balance of 0.49 (0.36+0.13)
    This mean that i can used all 0.49 btc whit Electrum?

    1. Bitcoin doesn’t stop you from spending unconfirmed coins. However the child transaction will not confirm until the parent transaction has confirmed too. You can try various things to get the unconfirmed transaction to confirm: https://bitcoinelectrum.com/frequently-asked-questions/#my-bitcoin-transaction-is-not-confirming-what-can-i-do

      1. But on Electrum wallet is not unconfirmed, in fact this transaction not exist and btc back to wallet.
        Only in blockchain.info result this transaction still unconfirmed

        1. Electrum’s view of the blockchain comes from the server it is connected to. That server has obviously dropped your transaction. However other nodes may still remember this transaction of yours. You can try spending these coins. If enough nodes have forgotten your old transaction the new one will be relayed successfully.

          TLDR; don’t worry about it. the coins are yours.

  5. Hello,

    I am logged in to my Electrum desktop wallet, but no longer have access to my 2FA or seed. is there any way I can still get the coins out of the wallet or restore the wallet back to normal functionality? Right now I can’t seem to do anything because I don’t have the 2FA anymore.

  6. Need real help.
    In December, was create a new Electrum wallet (already used it several times before), saved 12 seed words with a QR code by print screan, did two factor authentication (it is a big problem now), send BTC there, left for a couple of months .
    Decided to pull out, enter the address of the departure – asks 2FA. I lost my phone, I do not have it. Okay, I think, it does not matter. Restore without 2FA on Seed.
    Restore – 0 Balance. Cold sweat. What the hell … there is a saved wallet.dat. Restore – everything is ok. Can see a balance and wallet……And so on a circle …
    In Total:
    – there is BTC in Electrum. There is access to it. I can watch, see, but I can not get them out, since I have lost 2fa
    – There are 12 seed phrases – but it is restored with 0 balance and with other addresses (I tried it in different ways, including QR code). By the way, I tried to restore the wallet by QR on blockchain.info – the seed is not actually written. At the same time, I can not double-check – it is not available in Electrum
    – there is a file wallet.dat – I can restore it on my device on any device, but what’s the point) to look at the balance?
    – there is access to the keys, both private and public, but the same crap – writes that there are no such, also not valid
    – I tried to register something through the console but wrote that it was a mistake. SyntaxError: invalid syntax
    – The only success, I was able to add the address (not the purse, namely the one on which btc lies in the address column Electrum) to blockchain.info and now I can look at my balance in the view mode. In order to translate btc from blockchain.info – requests a private key (I insert the one with the qr code via the right key on the address btc in the electrum) – also not valid.
    In general, straight some trouble.
    I see, I look, I can climb magic, but I can not get it out. Straight sheet
    Thank you in advance. Please help me!!!

    1. It’s look like the seed you wrote down is not for the wallet in question but for a different wallet. Nevertheless I suggest you update to the latest version of electrum 3.0.5, restore again using this version and then go look at the suggestions here: https://bitcoinelectrum.com/frequently-asked-questions/#why-does-restoring-my-wallet-from-seed-lead-to-a-different-wallet

      If non of the above steps fixes your problem you should contact trustedcoin the co-signing company and ask them for help resetting your 2fa. Their site is at trustedcoin.com

  7. I just installed and started using electrum, didnt read instructions and somehow ended up with a watchonly address, transferred funds to that address.. but now how can i use the bitcoins in this address? Can someone help?

    1. You need the corresponding private keys and/or the seed precursor. Without that you can’t spend your bitcoins.

      1. Good afternoon this is a question of topic and hopefully you can help me out? I’m trying to learn about cryptography and pgp but it seems impossible to find any type of documentation or even books so I thought about you and I wanted to reach out and see if you can help me or at least point me in the right direction? Thank you!!

      2. I have the same problem, the only difference is that I created the wallet in Blue wallet. Now I want to transfer the funds from this wallet, but can’t as Blue wallet says it doesn’t support Legacy adresses.
        Now I want to acces these funds by importing my seed in Electrum. Does this give me acces to all coins under this seed? So on Legacy adresses, Segwit adresses and Native Segwit adresses stored under the same seed? Or do I have to export my wallet on my Coldcard and upload this in Electrum?

        1. you’ll have to create a separate wallet for each of the script types. see the notes 4 and 5 on the restoring wallet guide:

          https://bitcoinelectrum.com/restoring-your-standard-wallet-from-seed/

  8. Hello

    I triple checked everything, my btc address/wallet never changed, I exported keys from schildbach wallet with the given procedure, the import works fine but won’t recover my full history and actual balance.
    It should import at least my actual balance but only imports old records with zero balance

    1. I’ve answered your question above on the 1st. You need to restore using your seed words. See here: https://bitcoinelectrum.com/importing-your-private-keys-into-electrum/#comment-318

  9. Great guide and support from Abdussamad! I am attempting to claim my BCH from a QT wallet I used to have in 2013, but am unable to send the coins from Electrum Cash.

    The steps I have taken so far:
    1. Found my BTC addresses and private keys using bitcoin QT with commands ‘listaddressgroupings’ and ‘dumpprivkey’ for each. This has provided my with keys starting with L or K.

    2. Downloaded Electrum Cash for Mac and setup a wallet using the Address+Private Key import option (rather than Standard Wallet). Also setup a password.

    3. Entered my private keys – 1 per line

    —At this point, Electrum Cash froze up on a server not found dialog box, so I quit (not force quit). The History page was blank and the status was ‘Synchronizing’—

    4. Because I didn’t install to my Mac applications, this time I installed it, then opened it. It found my default wallet and asked for the passphrase, which was accepted.

    —This time a history was populated, but with LOTS of ‘unknown’ dates, amounts, and balances. —

    5. Tried sending the max balance (which is much less than expected) but I’m asked for a password. I use the password i set that worked to start the application, but is NOT ACCEPTED at this stage.

    Not sure what to do.. Im thinking of uninstalling and trying again, but using the Sweep feature instead next time.

    Any thoughts?

    1. This site is for electrum not electron cash. However the solution to your problem is simple. Simply follow the 1st step of the guide above to create a new wallet file and then repeat the private key import process again in that wallet file. If that doesn’t work then ask for help in the electron cash git repo at github.com/fyookball/electrum/issues/ . Like I said this site is not for bitcoin cash wallets.

      1. Thanks!

        Yeah I realised soon after posting (and mini heart attack) that I was mixing the 2 up…

        Cheers for the pointers!

  10. Can you export the private key from the existing wallet to the new wallet on the same laptop? Or do they have to be on different laptops?

    1. It can be on the same machine. But you may want to restore using your seed words instead. That way you get all the private keys in your wallet.

      See here for restoring via seed: https://bitcoinelectrum.com/restoring-your-standard-wallet-from-seed/

  11. I do have a lot of difficulty trying to use Electrum on a laptop, with an un-encrypted wallet. Of course the reason I’m having so much trouble is because I’m learning Electrum and keys and addresses and transactions and fees and sweep and import and, oh yea, the Blockchain. Why am I doing this? Because I started knowing nothing except that I had just under 2 BTC stolen from an Exodus wallet last October. I keep following it around and “borrowing” its current address, then manually editing it into the wallet file. I get my money back, I even get the xpriv for the address and import it or edit it in. It still won’t let me transmit my BTC because I don’t have a matching password for the private key. Oh well, I keep banging around as if i knew what I were doing. I figure, since he has to pay the fee every time he takes it back to another address, at least I may be irritating him, her, whoever.
    I don’t have a question, I just really wanted to say what a remarkable job you are doing here. You also have the patience of a saint. It’s comforting to know folks like you are around. Oh well, back to frustrating reading. Take care!

    1. xpriv is the extended private key which leads to a whole tree of address-specific private keys. Like all private keys it is a secret and would not be found on the public blockchain. Also if you have the xpriv you don’t need to enter any password. You can restore a wallet using the xpriv and get access to all the bitcoins controlled by it. This guide is for watch-only wallets but it works for restoring via xpriv too: https://bitcoinelectrum.com/creating-a-watch-only-wallet/ (the wallet you create by restoring via xpriv will not be watch-only).

      However it’s unlikely that a thief would have left the coins under your control. He would have moved them to address under his control i.e. an address whose private key only he knows.

      You can’t get back the coins if all you have are the addresses. Addresses are public info and bitcoin wouldn’t be very secure if you could move coins using public info.

  12. I have Electrum ZCL wallet. I open a new wallet that is standard. I then transfer some ZCL from Eleos wallet to Eelectrum using private keys since I did not have the seeds. Wallet opened fine with all the ZCL from Eleos but wallet say imported. I tried to transfer to main wallet which say standard. When I send to main wallet address, it stuck on “signing transaction”. Then it failed and I get this error message”transaction was rejected by network rules”. Why can’t I transfer from “imported” wallet to a standard wallet?

    1. This site is only for bitcoin electrum. However in your case I suggest opening your standard electrum wallet and then using the sweep functionality to sweep your Eleos private keys:

      https://bitcoinelectrum.com/sweeping-your-private-keys-into-electrum/

      If that doesn’t work then I suggest asking the zcl electrum developers for help.

  13. Hello, I just imported my segwit paper wallet private key which starts with L5 into Electrum 3.1.0, my segwit address starts with an 3, but the software displays an different address beginning with 1M. Is it possible to use imported segwit wallet for receiving and sending funds with this version? I used https://segwitaddress.org to generate the wallet.

    1. I recommend creating a p2sh segwit wallet instead:

      https://bitcoinelectrum.com/creating-a-p2sh-segwit-wallet-with-electrum/

      Alternatively if you must import this specific private key prepend: “p2wpkh-p2sh:” to the private key before importing it. For example:

      p2wpkh-p2sh:L1YSFoGhhK3K3yCu8JaVXaQzFpJzwuKRVe8aQRUHaMsN4mAheaJW

  14. Hello Thomas,

    I have two bitcoin addresses with private keys (year 2013).
    I want to create cold storage with Electrum-3.1.3 (as no HD wallet).

    1) watch-only wallet: I will create it according to your guide above on the online computer, using “Import bitcoin addresses”

    2) cold-full wallet: I create it according to your manual above on the offline computer, using “Import bitcoin private keys”

    3) according to your manual on address
    http://docs.electrum.org/en/latest/coldstorage.html#
    (this manual is not at https://bitcoinelectrum.com ???)
    I will create an online unsigned transaction,
    then I will sign this transaction offline
    and then I will send it online.

    Right?

    And what about change addresses?

    Electrum wallet (no HD) creates them?
    And the private key of change address is in watch only wallet? Or where?
    And do I need to paste this change address (change private key) into the offline electrum wallet?
    Or does wallet not create a change address?
    Or otherwise?

    Thank you for answer.

    1. This site is not by ThomasV and it is not the official electrum documentation. That is at docs.electrum.org. This site is my effort.

      First of all what you are trying to do will work. You can do offline signing with imported private keys like that.

      Regarding change, in the case of wallets with imported private keys change is sent back to one of the addresses where the inputs to the transaction were sent. So change goes back to the imported private keys. Obviously this is not very good for your privacy so I recommend creating an HD wallet instead.

  15. Wow, Abdussamad, nice speed :).

    Okey, it gives sense to me: new change address is not created in this case.
    On one my adress is 0.1 btc, so I will go experimate. Thank you, have nice day.

    (P.S. Regarding your recommendation, of course, this is only my first step. I want to migrate into trezor/electrum. In 2013 I had armory, but cold storage has Win7, online comp crashed, and new armory upgrade needs Win10 …).

  16. Hi, Abdussamad,

    can I for signing of transaction on my offline computer use version of electrum: 2.5 (from year 2015)?
    And to create unsigned transaction on my online computer by last version 3.1.3 ?

    (on my offline computer is missing some dll file for 3.1.3 … it is from 2013)

    1. The only way to know for sure is to try it. But do keep in mind that old versions have bugs that have been fixed in newer versions. There have been bug fixes related to offline signing since 2.5.

      1. Bugs – I understand.

        But signing a transaction is a basic action. This action is definitely without any error from the first version. Right?

        Step 1. On online computer last version 3.1.3 prepares unsigned transaction. It will be OK. Right?
        Step 2. On the offline computer the old version 2.6 signs transaction.
        Step 3. Last version 3.1.3 sends transaction from online computer.

        Nothing else.

        This is a procedure of urgency. I do not have any other cold storage and in windows from 2013 is missing some dll for run electrum 3.1.3
        Can you ask Thomas? Or have you his email, twitter?
        Thank you.

        1. See for community help forums: https://bitcoinelectrum.com/frequently-asked-questions/#my-question-is-not-answered-here-where-can-i-get-help

      2. Thanks.

        Now I know, that version 2.9.3 (2017-08-10) is working on my offline computer.
        Of course, I read about found vulnerability in electrum before version 3.0.5.
        (I read released notes for every version from 2.9.3 to last version 3.1.3)

        So, now I have 3 solution.

        1) to work with 3.1.3 without cold storage only on my online computer

        2) to work with 2.9.3 on online comp and also on offline comp

        3) To work with 2.9.3 on offline comp (wallet with privkeys for signing) and with 3.1.3 on online comp (watch only)

        What is better?
        Thanks. Alex.

        1. hi i am having a big struggle sweeping me private key made sure three times they were the right one i installed a legacy wallet because the private key starts with L although when trying to sweep the sweep key is grey and sweep button says error cannot deserialize private key. what to do friend

  17. how come electrum doesn’t accept all keys entered. for instance, importing a lot of keys from my old various wallets, it created a wallet.tmp file and a wallet.dat file and the number of addys and txns differ in both. is there a client which wont sit there and not sync fully, when I look up the txns on blockexplorer they say confirmed but in the software it gives me not verified. IS there a size limitation on the dat file used? .. ive had it say 57K new txns for 2.5btc and then totally disappeared.. so im at a loss on how to check that its importing all my addresses.. are the earlier versions more reliable?

    1. It doesn’t create .dat files anymore. .tmp files shouldn’t be there either. Always use the latest version because it has bugs fixed that older versions don’t.

      Are you importing private keys created in a blockchain.info wallet?

  18. Since the wallet address begins with a 3 I prepended the private key with the code you listed. It isn’t working, however when i remove the prepended code it gives me the option to continue. what am i doing wrong?

    1. So did you enter something like the following all on one line?

      p2wpkh-p2sh:KxGeCbmRokj1DXWbZXBPu7yv3vV88guGW76ezJSNXuSR318iihjH

      Your private key must begin with K or L and look like the one above. Also no leading or trailing spaces. Just one private key per line.

  19. I am trying to access my bitcoin cash by using my seed and creating a new electron cash wallet
    when i try to create keystore from master key, it is not recognizing my private key, which starts with p2pkh:k….
    in electron cash wallet it won’t give me the next button after putting in the private key – any ideas?

    thanks

    1. Seed consists of 12 random english words. What you have there is neither the seed nor the master private key. It is the private key for a single address. So what exactly are you trying to do? If you have the seed words you should use this guide instead: https://bitcoinelectrum.com/restoring-your-standard-wallet-from-seed/

        1. The seed is shown during wallet creation and in most cases is also available via wallet menu > seed after the wallet has been created.

          BTW regarding your previous comment I recommend you seek help on a community forum. See electrum.org/#community. That way we can have a back and forth to diagnose your problem.

  20. Perdi dados de minha carteira no meu Notebook que queimou. Instalei em outro porem nao consigo movimentar. Aparece a mensagem “Watch-only wallet – Esta czarteira esta apenas assistindo……..”
    Na carteira aparece (imported, apenas leitura.
    Como resolver?

    1. If you have the seed words you can restore using them as per this guide:

      https://bitcoinelectrum.com/restoring-your-standard-wallet-from-seed/

      Step 1 shows you how to begin a new wallet file.

  21. When import compressed keys
    electrum loads only the legacy addresses , and show balance zero

    how do I make it load SegWit (P2SH) addresses that starts with 3 ?
    or bech32 ?

  22. Love ur write ups very interesting. I have bit coin wallets but I don’t know how to get their private keys. Hope u can help me out

  23. Hi,

    Is it possible to specify the derivation path when importing an xprv?

    I can only seem to access m/0, and I’m trying to reach m/84’/0’/0′

    Thanks

    1. No. What you need to do is use this script https://github.com/AbdussamadA/electrum-xprv to derive m/84’/0’/0′ and convert the xprv to a zprv as well so that electrum creates p2wpkh address:

      electrum -w somewallet getmasterprivate|python3 xprv -m - -d "m/84'/0'/0'" -c p2wpkh -p | electrum -w newwallet restore -

  24. Hello there guys,

    I need some help here if it is possible please… For the last few weeks I ve used to sweep my private keys (paper wallet btc) bought from stores directly to my wallet using the long code which starts with Ky….. Today after getting the lastest version of electrum I couldn`t do that anymore so I followed the steps mentioned in this post….

    I did another wallet (Imported, Watching Only ) wallet and when I created the wallet I entered the short private key which starts with 1GB……

    Now in My wallet when I click on the transaction it is showing Amount received: 33.68993 mBTC and the status is Status: 161 confirmations and going up….

    My question is how can I transfer the btc from this wallet to another wallet because when I click send is not allowing me to send`it….

    1. That’s not the private key. That’s the address. Private keys start with 5,K, or L so look for that and try again.

  25. That is my issue can I get the btc from that wallet address ? Usually the paper wallet or keys bought from store in London UK come with two addresses to say like that…

    First one is the private key which starts with Kyx…. and the second one is the wallet as you ve said which starts with 1GB…

    The problem is that when I try to sweep the key is not working the sweep button is not working… but when I imported the wallet into the electrum it is showing the exact amount that I bought….

    1. By creating a wallet with the address you are creating a read only wallet AKA watch-only wallet. You cannot spend coins in such a wallet.

      In order to be able to spend those bitcoins you need to sweep or import the corresponding private key. If you don’t have the private key then I’m afraid the coins are lost. Perhaps seek help from whatever exchange or service you used to purchase the bitcoins?

  26. Thanks for letting me know. I will go at the local shop and see what is the issue with the key because I have`it but is not working.

    Thanks a lot for your help.

  27. i have a 61 character address starting with bc1.. and i don’t remember how to acces to my accont . It’s very old . I have tried this method and it shows 0BTC.

    1. bech32 addresses are only a few years old so it can’t be very old. try importing it again this time making sure to pay attention to the note in step 3 (you have to add p2wpkh: to the priv key).

  28. Hi, i mistakenly created a watch-only wallet by importing three different addresses. Can i import or sweep the private keys into the same wallet or i will have to create a different wallet?

    1. sweeping and importing are different operations. sweeping means sending all the funds to an address in the wallet. importing means the funds don’t move.

      you could sweep the private keys into the same watch-only wallet but then the funds would be sent to one of those 3 addresses. unless you have the corresponding private keys of that address you will lose your money.

      if you want to import the private keys you will have to create a new wallet file. see step 1 above for instructions on how to do that.

  29. Hi,
    First, thank you for your website, it is really well made and useful!

    I am currently having a problem while trying to import my private key obtained in Bitcoin Core wallet to Electrum. The adress does work, but the public adress associated with is not the same as the one in Bitcoin Core. Therefore, the balance appear to be of 0 in Electrum. I tried entering my private key on bitadress.org, and the public bitcoin adress obtain is the same as in Electrum, which is mading me wondering if I’m doing the things right in Bitcoin Core ?.

    Thank you for your help!

    1. Try the import again this time paying attention to the note in step 3 above. You have to specify the correct script type by prepending the right prefix to the private key.

      1. It worked thank you ?

        I did not understand that when you said “if the addresses in the source wallet begin with 3 or bc1” you were speaking of the public adress and not the private one.

        1. There is no such thing as a private address. What you’re calling the private address is called a private key!

          1. hi i am having a big struggle with me wallet sweep. made sure three times the private key was right installed a legacy because me private key starts with a L but when entering the key the sweep wallet kept grey and a said cannot deserialize private key.what to do friend

          2. @Thomas: That error means there’s a typo in the private key. Private keys have checksums in them that let electrum detect such mistakes.

            It’s also possible you are confusing addresses with private keys. See the example of a private key below:

            https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Private_key#Base58_Wallet_Import_format

            As you can see the private key 5Kb8kLf9zgWQnogidDA76MzPL6TsZZY36hWXMssSzNydYXYB9KF is a lot longer than a typical address 1CC3X2gu58d6wXUWMffpuzN9JAfTUWu4Kj. Private keys begin with 5, L or K. Addresses begin with 1, 3 or bc1.

            You can sweep any private key to any type wallet so what you said above about using a legacy wallet doesn’t make sense here. Finally the guide above is for importing private keys not sweeping them. So are you trying to import it or sweep it?

  30. Hi,
    is it possible to redeem a physical bitcoin using Electrum ? if so, could you please post a step by step process for that ? Thanks a lot

    1. The guide above will let you create a wallet using the private key on the coin. It’s likely a mini private key that begins with S. Did you try importing it? Once you have it in electrum just use the send tab to send the money wherever you like.

      1. Hi, thanks for the response. I had not tried yet. Is it possible to import using Electrum ? Electrum supports the mini private key ? Do you know if there’s a tutorial for this ? I’m studying this for a month and some people told me to do this offline, but I have no idea on how to do this. Sorry for so many questions, but I’m completely new on this matter … thank you for helping

      2. Hi, thanks for the response. I’m completely new on this matter and have many doubts
        Are you sure I can use Electrum to import a mini private key ? I mean, is it possible to recover the casascius using Electrum ? If so, is there a tutorial on how to do this ?
        Sorry for so many questions – I”d appreciate your help.
        Thanks a lot !

        1. as i keep telling you the guide above works for mini private keys as well.

          doing it offline will be more complicated though. i suggest doing it on an online PC and saving yourself the hassle.

  31. I used to practice https://bitsblock.io/ Core Wallet but didn’t synchronize for a long time. But after some time when I tried to synchronize, the wallet not responding message is coming. After that, i tried to do it with the below method. https://youtu.be/exzfi1OKWow

    Now the wallet’s rescanning is not over. What can i do now. If I important private keys into Electrum will it work? Please help if you can.

    1. That’s a scam wallet so your money is probably gone. There’s a thread about it on bitcointalk: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=5225197.0

  32. My private keys are on hardware wallets. I restored my multisig wallet from the xpubs but the restored wallet is watch-only and I want to be able to sign transactions with the hardware wallet devices. How do I convince Electrum to let me sign transactions with the private keys that are on the hardware wallets?

  33. Hi pls I need help. I have uploaded a paper wallet into my blockchain imported address for a week now and nothing is showing up. I don’t know what to do again because am confused. Can you please help me? I later read about it and realize I was suppose to create Mycelium bitcoin wallet and when I did and uploaded it again there, it says my account is 0.00. Though I believe my money would be in my main imported address but is not showing up for a week now.

    1. have you tried following the above guide with electrum? bc.i or mycelium are outside the scope of this site.

  34. Dear Sir,

    I have some small BTC balance leftover in my Multibit. I dont think its HD. Will the above procedure work for Multibit Standard as well ? I think seed is only for HD version. Pls guide me to the right link

    Thanks

    1. yes for multibit classic you have to export the private keys and import them into electrum. the above guide does not talk about the seed at all.

  35. hi, I am desperately trying to recover my litecoins and have private keys that start with the letter T but when I enter them in the “next” button remains greyed out, my addresses start with the letter L and when trying with these the button also remains greyed out. I’ve tried with the prepends also but nothing…

    would anyone have any suggestions?
    thanks

    Jonny

    1. electrum is bitcoin only. there’s a fork of the software for litecoin but i don’t know anything about it.

  36. i imported from multibit into electrum successfully but the new wallet has no seed… can i add a seed to it?

  37. Hello. I have a BIP58 paper wallet generated with bitaddres.org in offline Live Ubuntu. In watch only wallet, I see my correct balance. The private key starts with 6P. I decode the private key in offline Live Ubuntu, create a new imported wallet on work computer, but see zero balance. A month ago I performed such a procedure and it was successful. I found your recommendation that the private key should not be compressed. According to this recommendation, I use bitaddress.org to get an uncompressed key starting with 5. I create an imported wallet with such a key, but I also see a zero balance. What could be the problem? Please, help. Best regards, Hennadiy.

    1. Clarification. This paper wallet has never been used for withdrawal. A month ago I made an imported wallet with the private key of another similar paper wallet.

    2. that paper wallet will create two private keys compressed and uncompressed. each one will have a different address. lookup both addresses on a block explorer like blockchain.com and import the private key of the one with the coins. if neither address has coins then you have the wrong private key. look for the correct private key.

      also it’s bip38 not 58

  38. Hello,

    I just imported into electrum the private key from an old multibit wallet as explained above, but the balance shows zero.
    Will it take some time before the right balance will show up in my electrum wallet?

    1. Further info about this
      my waller was a multibit classic one, on multibit I see the correct amount. I exported the private key (only one key is that normal?),it starts with a K, I couldnt import it into electrum, I then got from bittaddress the uncompressed version (starts with a 5). I imported it, but my wallet shows balance 0, no history (after 6-7 hours). Will it take longer to synchronise? have I done something wrong?

      1. You need to import the K key not the 5 one. I suggest you try exporting and importing it again. The keys have a checksum in them so mistakes made during data entry will lead to an error message. You have to use the copy paste functionality of your operating system and make sure you get the whole key. It’s just one long string of characters. The address or other extraneous data is not needed and should not be copied.

    1. are those 34 characters in groups of 4 with spaces between them. if yes then it sounds like an armory backup. you will need to restore it using armory bitcoin wallet.

      otherwise search for the real private key because that’s not it.

  39. Hi can you help me out, I had an old wallet in my other computer,
    Now i can access the old download file from 2018. of electrum but i cant find my seed key. I should know the password but the phrase key cant find the file. Is it possible to open this wallet with the Downloaded files only. I have 1 file that says default wallet file also and im not sure what this is from 2018. I can only find guides using the phrase key.
    I should have the bitcoin address to send to this old wallet. Any help would be great.

    1. you can open a specific wallet file by going to file > open in electrum or clicking on “choose” in the opening screen. you will need the password to open the wallet file though.

  40. I have a question
    Can we check the large number of private keys in the Python environment?
    And how to install electrum in Python

  41. Do not encourage sweep.

    What if seep is done at the 10000sats/byte?

    In import at least u can send funds on 1sat/byte

  42. I have a question
    Can we check the large number of private keys in the Python environment?
    And how to install electrum in Python

  43. hi i’m trying to create a nondeterministic watch only wallet, so i can sign payments on the offline machine. The guide said to import “addresses i want to watch”, what does that mean? are these the receiving addresses i plan to send btc to?

    thank you ahead for you time.

  44. Hi I have just had a transfer of bitcoin from a friend of mine he gave me an address that has the correct amount in it but when I set up a new wallet with the private key he gave me and the balance is zero, I checked the balance of the wallet on blockchain.com explorer and that address is zero
    Am I doing anything wrong

    1. Your friend gave you the wrong private key most probably. Private keys are supposed to remain private and not shared between users. So he’s going about it the wrong way. Generally speaking you create a wallet in electrum and hand out a receive address from the receive tab in order to receive bitcoin. You never share private keys or the seed.

  45. Good day sir
    Thanks for your patience here.
    My frustration as follows:
    I have Legacy wallets from bitcoin core from 2013/2014 with their corresponding private keys. Checked the coins on cointracker with the address and coins correspond. I import the corresponding private key into electrum using the guide above and the appropriate prepend like in the info button for my old wallet. It synced after 30 hours and gave me the same balance and coins but put a message up saying the following:
    “This wallet is watching-only. This means you will not be able to spend Bitcoins with it. Make sure you own the seed phrase or the private keys, before you request Bitcoins to be sent to this wallet”
    But that is exactly what I did. I do own the private key and imported the private key. It starts with “K” and others with a “L” is 52 characters long and has a corresponding wallet starting with 1. What am I not doing right? Please help

    1. Make sure you are using the latest electrum version 4.1.5. IT should sync within minutes and definitely does not take 30 hours. You should redo the import process again in a new wallet file by going to file > new/restore.

      1. Having some trouble, my keys begin with 1, it tells me the wallet is imported watch only, how do I get it out of the wallet, it seems trapped in there.

        1. What you have there is a bitcoin address not a private key. You can’t spend bitcoin with just the address. The address is not private information. You need the private key corresponding to the address in order to be able to spend bitcoin.

  46. when i send btc the transaction does not generate a hash
    How else or how can I track a shipment I made from electrum to the blockchain?

    1. you can find the transaction id on the history tab. right click on the transaction in question and choose to view transaction. the transaction id will be up top in the window that appears.

  47. when I put it in electrum, it does not detect that it is a private key, should I do something to it? I had read that the privkeys that start with 5 are from previous versions

      1. i don’t know of any private key format with 45 characters. You should make a thread on the reddit subreddit /r/bitcoinbeginners. You may get some useful answers there.

  48. Hi I need to find my bitcoin wallet private key to sign a transaction on coinb.in.
    I found my master public key under wallet>info tab now I just need to find my corresponding private key but when I import private keys 30 of them show up so how do I know what is the correct one?

    1. Go to view menu > show addresses, switch to addresses tab, press ctrl+f to search for the address whose private key you want and then right click on it in the list and choose ‘private key’. Remove everything before the colon including the colon itself. Your private key should begin with L or K.

  49. Hello Abdussamad, first I would like to thank you for the work you do here. I have a 2of3 multi-sig wallet setup in Electrum and I have memorized all 3 of my seed phrases in 24 word format (NOT in lL4ECiQ4G3r3P9XGNBvwzNWP8…… format as your tutorial shows). My question is: in the unlikely case that all my hardware wallets are found and stolen, how can I immediately recover the funds that were held in that wallet and move/sweep all my bitcoins to another secure private wallet? Sorry for being a newbie!

    1. See the guide for creating multisig wallets in electrum:

      https://bitcoinelectrum.com/creating-a-multisig-wallet/

      In step 4 under “generate your seed and master public key” you choose “i already have a seed” and enter one of the seeds. In the seed entry step click on options and check bip39. Then you choose to enter cosigner seeds one by one for the other two seeds. Restoring from all 3 seeds will restore your wallet. You can then send the coins from it to an address in a new wallet.

  50. I have recovered a lost 2010 pv key in uncompressed wif format staring with a 5, i made the mistake of splitting up the key and the last 8 digits are missing, i have an address that shows the balance in 1 format as well as all receiving. is there a way to bruteforce the remaining 8 chars.

      1. Compressed private keys start with L or K not 5. 5 means an uncompressed private key. About bruteforcing the missing characters you should ask in the technical support sub form of bitcointalk.org.

  51. Hi,

    How long does Electrum take to confirm the balance of an imported private key ? At the address tab it shows the public key with RECEIVING status, balance 0 and tx.0.
    At the history tab it does not show nothing yet.
    I had imported the private key 2 hours ago and there was no option for choose taxes.
    Pls clarify. Tks

    1. It should show the balance within minutes of the import. Are you seeing a balance statement (even if zero) in the bottom left and a green orb in the bottom right?

      1. Thanks for your reply . I got it.
        Now I’m trying to redeem a bitcoin cash at ELECTRON – but I got following message : Private key has invalid WIF version byte (expected: 0x80 got: 0x5)
        Do you know what I should do ?

  52. Hello there

    While installing electrum wallet it says:
    Enter a list of Bitcoin addresses (this will create a watching-only wallet), or a list of private keys.

    So what to do?

    1. what are you trying to do?if you just want a wallet then see the guide here:

      https://bitcoinelectrum.com/creating-an-electrum-wallet/

  53. Hi,

    I’m trying to redeem a bitcoin cash at ELECTRON – but I got following message : Private key has invalid WIF version byte (expected: 0x80 got: 0x5)
    Do you know what I should do ?

    1. This site is only for the bitcoin version of electrum not the forked version for bitcoin cash. Having said that I suggest you restore from seed in electron cash instead of mucking about with private keys.

  54. Hello,

    I have a Cascasius coin. I would like to redeem it. Apparently, there is a private key (mini) on the sticker that you can access when you peel it. It seems that you could import this private key to Electrum.

    Could you confirm it and describe the steps ? I would like also to know if it’s risky to expose (by importing) his private key. To what do I have to pay attention ?

    1. The guide above works for importing Cascasius coin private keys too. You can just follow it.

      I believe you created a thread on bitcointalk forums about this. You were told of the risks there.

  55. Indeed the only thing that I have some doubts is the following:“`
    What about the password ?
    For the standard wallet that I had created before, Electrum asks me for a password
    What about the new wallet created for importing private key ? Is there no password ? I had understood that we need to encode our password when we will “send” the bitcoin to another exchange plat-form. Is it the same password than for the stand wallet ?
    I’m a bit confused with this step and I haven’t found my answer on bitcointalk.org yet.

    1. when you create a wallet with an imported private key you are prompted to enter a password. you can set one at that stage if you like. you don’t have to set a password. it’s entirely optional.

  56. Hello! Congratulations on your work. I have a big problem for years related to a blockchain info wallet from 2011.

    I don’t have access to the email I used at the time so I can’t access json or my bci account.

    The only thing I have is a strange 44-character private key, but it’s not base64 because it doesn’t have /ni =. This strange key starts with 5 but is not uncompressed WIF either. According to what I have researched, it is a base58 pure or simple…

    I have also ruled out that the checksum to this private key is missing because precisely the simple base58 does not contain this data. I have tried to convert this strange key to HEX, Base 64 and in all cases it takes me to a different address that does not correspond to mine (I know my address).

    Electrum and no wallet allows me to export this key format. However a year ago I found version 1.4 of electrum that allowed me to access, that is, I could enter my key and see everything only that did not allow me to sign transactions (and no, it was not in read-only mode).

    So, do you think you can help me get this old version of electrum again? or do you know anything about this strange type of key?

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