BIP-32 never mentions the term "derivation path" but a quick search (https://bitcoinsearch.xyz/?search=derivation+path) returns a bunch of results so one must assume "derivation path" is part of the Bitcoin vernacular.

Two questions please:

  1. Is "derivation path" the correct term?
  2. If so, where did it come from (is it specified or just use colloquially)?


1 Answer 1


Is "derivation path" the correct term and where did it come from

It is very widely used and you can see part of the origins in BIP-44 from 2014-04-24

Path levels

We define the following 5 levels in BIP32 path:

m / purpose' / coin_type' / account' / change / address_index

Apostrophe in the path indicates that BIP32 hardened derivation is used.

(My emphasis added)

  • Thanks man, that's close enough for me.
    – Tobin
    Commented Apr 9 at 20:41

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