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I was about to transfer my funds from bitstamp -> paper wallet for the first time, but wanted to try it out first with $0.01 etc. I'm worried that since you have to specify where 'change' goes with bitcoin wallets, the rest of my funds will be diverted. Is this incorrect? Thanks in advance.

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You are correct, the rest of your funds will be diverted. However, they will be diverted to a new "change" address that is also managed by your wallet. So, you will still own the change.

For example, suppose your wallet contains 10 BTC [1]. If you send 0.01 BTC to a paper wallet address, then your client will automatically send the remaining 9.99 BTC to a new address inside your wallet.

For more information, see the following questions:


  1. This simplified explanation assumes that you originally had all 10 BTC sent to a single address. Normally, your wallet manages multiple addresses and adds up all the individual balances to show you the total wallet balance.
  • Thanks for your help, just wanted to clarify since you're saying something different (I think) to the other two answers. Using your example- if my bitstamp account had 10btc and I transferred 0.01btc to a paper wallet would my bitstamp account still have 9.99btc? – user13987 Feb 28 '14 at 8:15
  • @jacklocke: I'm saying the same thing as the other answers. Yes, your Bitstamp account will still have 9.99 BTC. Bitstamp will automatically manage the change addresses and you don't have to think about it. – Greg Hewgill Feb 28 '14 at 8:23
  • Ah, ok. Thanks a lot for clearing that up! – user13987 Feb 28 '14 at 9:27
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You don't need to worry about change addresses unless you're manually crafting a raw transaction or try to manually use funds from a paper wallet. Your online wallet or local wallet software is supposed to handle that for you.

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You can send any amount to a paper wallet without concern for the change. The critical part to worry about is when you spend the funds on the paper wallet. If you do not spend all of the funds whatever is left over will be used as a transaction fee regard less of the amount. uminatsu is correct in stating that this only occurs when you try and craft a raw transaction using the keys from that wallet. It is suggested that you import the private keys into your own wallet before attempting to spend these funds to ensure that you do not make a mistake. You will need to use the importprivkey function of the bitcoin-qt wallet application to be able to spend your BTC.

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