If I insert a passphrase to a wallet.dat file but also save copy of it before the passphrase, and then make a transfer to it, will I be able to use the old wallet version (Without the passphrase) to spend it?

In other words, does the private key somehow changes when you insert passphrase to a wallet.dat file?

1 Answer 1


When encrypting a wallet, the wallet will generate new keys. If you transfer to those keys, the old, unencrypted backup will not be able to spend the funds. Only the encrypted wallet will have the private keys. Thus, after encrypting, you should take a new backup.

  • Thanks @meshcollider. And if I never transfer to it after the passphrase generation, but only spend some of the bitcoins there, I would still be able to use the old version (Without the passphrase) to spend the rest, it that right?
    – mikest
    Jan 4, 2022 at 12:24
  • 2
    Not necessarily, when sending bitcoins the outputs available to send may not exactly match the amount of money you want to send, so you end up sending money "to yourself". Jan 4, 2022 at 20:20
  • 1
    Peter is correct, this is known as "change" (in the same way you get change for overpaying with cash). Change would be sent to new, encrypted keys. But if you spend entire UTXOs at once with no change, then yes, both wallets will be able to access them. Jan 4, 2022 at 20:48
  • Thank you @Peter Green, meshcollider
    – mikest
    Jan 6, 2022 at 12:36

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