Just wanted to ask a question about "importwallet" bitcoin-cli command.

After starting my bitcoind daemon, created a wallet, protected with a passphrase and made a backup to a file:

bitcoin-cli createwallet wallet1
bitcoin-cli encryptwallet mypassword
bitcoin-cli backupwallet ~/wallet1.backup

I want to test if I am able to recover my backuped wallet. This is what I am testing:

bitcoin-cli stop
rm -Rf ~./bitcoin/wallets/wallet1

And then start again my bitcoind server. At this point I want to import my wallet. I try this:

$ bitcoin-cli importwallet ~/wallet1.backup
error code: -18
error message:
No wallet is loaded. Load a wallet using loadwallet or create a new one with  createwallet. (Note: A default wallet is no longer automatically created)

But as you can see, the bitcoin-cli is requesting to create a new wallet. Just to import an existing one? I don't understand that point.

For this particular example, what should be the proper way to import the wallet? Tnks!

1 Answer 1


What you are looking for is the restorewallet RPC. As of 2/2/2022, this has not been included in a release of Bitcoin Core (although it is in the master code branch on GitHub). It will be included in the v23 release, expected in April 2022.

restorewallet "wallet_name" "backup_file" ( load_on_startup )

Restore and loads a wallet from backup.

1. wallet_name        (string, required) The name that will be applied to the restored wallet
2. backup_file        (string, required) The backup file that will be used to restore the wallet.
3. load_on_startup    (boolean, optional) Save wallet name to persistent settings and load on startup. True to add wallet to startup list, false to remove, null to leave unchanged.

{                       (json object)
  "name" : "str",       (string) The wallet name if restored successfully.
  "warning" : "str"     (string) Warning message if wallet was not loaded cleanly.

> bitcoin-cli restorewallet "testwallet" "home\backups\backup-file.bak"
> curl --user myusername --data-binary '{"jsonrpc": "1.0", "id": "curltest", "method": "restorewallet", "params": ["testwallet" "home\backups\backup-file.bak"]}' -H 'content-type: text/plain;'
> bitcoin-cli -named restorewallet wallet_name=testwallet backup_file='home\backups\backup-file.bak"' load_on_startup=true
> curl --user myusername --data-binary '{"jsonrpc": "1.0", "id": "curltest", "method": "restorewallet", "params": {"wallet_name":"testwallet","backup_file":"home\\backups\\backup-file.bak\"","load_on_startup":true}}' -H 'content-type: text/plain;'

The importwallet RPC is used in a different scenario, to import a list of keys from a dumpfile (a plaintext list of keys generated by the dumpwallet RPC).

To restore a backup with v22 and below, simply:

  1. navigate to your wallets/ directory in your bitcoin data directory
  2. create a new directory inside wallets/ with a unique name of your choice for the restored wallet.
  3. Copy the wallet file into this newly created directory, and rename it to wallet.dat
  4. Start bitcoin core, and you should be able to load the wallet.
  • I am getting this error: $ bitcoin-cli restorewallet "wallet1" "/home/user/wallet1.backup" error code: -32601 error message: Method not found It seems restorewallet is not included in my version? $ bitcoind --version Bitcoin Core version v22.0
    – aicastell
    Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 5:34
  • Huh, good point. It was merged in August but only just missed the v22 release. I'll update my answer with an alternative method. Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 6:27
  • That works! :-) This was really helpful both to understand why the "restorewallet" was not found and for the workaround to make this working. I'll check the next version in April. Thank you for the explanation!
    – aicastell
    Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 17:01

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