Bitcoin Core v.23 import private key question

Hello. I have a private key which I have imported (importprivkey in console) into bitcoin core v.0.17.1. Balance for example 1 bitcoin

  1. Made a transaction of 0.1 bitcoin to a P2PKH address. The rest is 0.9 bitcoins.

  2. Removed bitcoin core v.0.17.1 and wallet.dat

  3. Installed bitcoin core v.23.0

  4. Imported the private key. Balance 0 bitcoins.

  5. There are 2 transactions:

    0.1 bitcoin (transaction)

    0.9 bitcoin (I think this is change, sent to bech32 starting bc1...)

Do I understand correctly that I lost my bitcoins, which were sent as change to the bech32 address, or bech32 addresses are generated from one private key and the change went to that address? Is it possible to restore them?

  • When you "removed" wallet.dat did you remove it to a safe place or did you delete it before testing the new wallet? Did you make backups of important data on your pc in case of theft or fire? Mar 6, 2023 at 9:52

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately, yes - the control over the 0.9 btc has been lost most probably. It seems that the private key to the change 0.9 btc address has been lost by the deletion of the wallet.dat that stored it. It is practically impossible to restore the private key. A change private key is not derived (deterministacally generated) from an imported private key according to "https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=5190841.0". It can be verified (by reproducing the scenario in Testnet). Data recovery may come to rescue - the wallet.dat may have not been deleted unrecoverably altough it's a long shot.

The design of Bitcoin Core seems to trade off safety of funds (risk of loss) against pseudoanonimity-by-defalult in that case. It's a known issue.

  • 1
    Thanks for your reply. I used to think that the change is sent to the origin address because the change address was not displayed in the transaction of the early version of bitcoin core. Well, there are more and more lost bitcoins. The price must go up. Keep your private keys and wallet.dat safe, make backups, don't do it like me.
    – Sinister
    Mar 7, 2023 at 14:19

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