Is it possible to give a public read only access to a Bitcoin account using the Bitcoin client?

For example if for an non-profit organisation it can be useful to have read only access to it's Bitcoin account.

I know it is possible to make an web-service that is displaying this kind of data, but this requires a third part authority.

  1. If you want the person to see the balance of each address, give them an encrypted wallet used by you. This way they can see any transaction coming in, but they won't be able to spend anything. However, this requires them to run a Bitcoin client themselves, which can be a pain at times.
  2. Use the Block Explorer and search for the single address you will be using. Case in point - all donations made to Wikileaks - http://blockexplorer.com/address/1HB5XMLmzFVj8ALj6mfBsbifRoD4miY36v (warning, this page can load for awhile).
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  • Thanks. You are right encrypted wallets show balance without decoding them. – Aalex Gabi Jan 24 '12 at 16:48
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    Re 1: They will also not be able to see change that returns into your wallet when you spend something (because it goes to a new address). You'd have to send them an updated version of the encrypted wallet from time to time. And I am not sure if I would give anyone my wallet, even encrypted. Better to export all public keys and send those. – Thilo Feb 3 '12 at 7:05
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    I agree with @Thilo Giving away the encrypted wallet is an really bad idea: it exposes you with a completely unnecessary risk; despite it being small, being unnecessary makes it very bad. Just give the public keys instead! – o0'. Feb 3 '12 at 13:13

The My Wallet service from http://BlockChain.info/wallet lets you create paper wallets and then you can remove the private keys from the browser-based wallet.

Another service that might be of use is: http://bitping.net

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