I've used Vanitygen to generate a vanity Bitcoin address. I used the "-e" option to encrypt the private key. What I can't figure out is how to decrypt the protected key that was provided after generating the vanity address, nor can I find the encryption method used.

Is there a utility, library or program that I can use to decrypt the protected key in order to access the private key?

3 Answers 3


Buried in the bitcointalk.org forums I found this answer.

Use the keyconv binary file that is included, with the protected/encrypted key as the only argument:

keyconv [Protected Key Here]

This will spit out the unencrypted private key. It isn't documented anywhere other than this forum post:



I have found a couple of implementations that should help you to decipher the protKey:

Also seems that http://insight.gotdns.org/~samr7/pkprotect.html had some more info, but it is down now, maybe Google Cache o Archive.org can help here.

I have not tested anything so don't blame me it they does not work :D

But it seems that it is a format that is not widely used and there is no easy way to decrypt the private key.

  • Thanks for the response. These look like potential resolutions within existing applications so they could be helpful. I did find an answer in the bitcointalk.org forums that gave a confirmed resolution (see my self-response).
    – jkriddle
    Commented Dec 10, 2013 at 22:07

https://gist.github.com/ianpurton/1139867 [JS] Any idea how to run it.

But try https://github.com/exploitagency/vanitygen-plus

Windows keyconv.exe -C BTC -d protected-key Linux ./keyconv -C BTC -d protected-key

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