Any Bitcoin wallet holds several bitcoin addresses. Such addresses are either generated manually from the GUI addressbook or automatically collecting the "change" of a "Send" transaction. The total balance is the sum of the credit of all addresses.

Why does the Bitcoin software not tell me ADDRESS1 holds 1 BTC while ADDRESS2 has 5BTC?

The standard Bitcoin client automatically selects an address to send from. (From the comments, I learned that there exits a patch, which allows a user to choose an address to sent from.)

Does the behaviour of the standard client described here have any advantages over letting the user choose?

  • See this question for some info on choosing what address to send from. My suggestion is that you edit that part of your question out so that this one is just about "Why does the client not display the balance per address?"
    – D.H.
    Oct 27, 2011 at 19:20

5 Answers 5


The balance of an address is almost always useless, since money is sent from random addresses.


Having different addresses in the client is intended for increasing anonymity and for you to be able to identify different senders. It is not intended to be used as different "accounts". The concept of accounts actually does exist in bitcoind but it is not currently used in the client. It wouldn't be too hard to add, so it is possible that it will be added in the future if there is demand for it.

Normally a user is not interested in the details of specifying what address to send funds from. The client does a good job of choosing what input addresses to use and will for example use older ones first in order to reduce fees.

  • Thank you for your answer. I understand that addresses are not meant to be used as accounts and the standard client GUI reflects this. However, any transaction on the bitcoin network is associated with at least one Sent and at least one Received address. Anyone can lookup the Sent address in the blockchain. It feels wrong if the person who initiates the transaction does not see this information.
    – Jan
    Oct 27, 2011 at 19:50
  • @Jan: Well, there is no reason to present information that is of no interest to the user. A regular user is just interested in the fact that the funds were sent from the user's wallet to some receiver (as of now, identified by an address).
    – D.H.
    Oct 27, 2011 at 20:04
  • I don't think it's true that the Satashi client will "use older ones first in order to reduce fees". The last time I looked at the code it looked to me like it was trying to use the smallest set of addresses that provided enough to cover the transaction without considering age. Feb 2, 2012 at 18:49

I think usually people don't do separate "banking" with different addresses, rather than they prefer seeing the total. This is especially true when you regularly switch addresses for receiving money. As there is little need for such a feature, it wasn't implemented.


I think originally addresses were meant to be an internal Bitcoin mechanism (ie. a technicality) and not something users should care about (or even ever be able to see). Se [this answer] for more on this, and the answer's question for one of the arguments for this.

Perhaps what you actually want, instead of seeing multiple addresses with their particular balances, is to uses multiple wallets -- clients that support multiple wallets (eg. MultiBit and Armory but not the original client) will of course show the balance for each wallet separately.


In the current version of Bitcoin Core v0.15.1 simply load up bitcoin-qt, go to settings>options>wallet and check Enable coin control features and click OK.

Then, go to the Send tab and click on Inputs. There you can see each receiving address that a balance has originate from, and if you expand or select list mode, each individual amount and address including for change currently held.

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