I have a standard client (QT client on OSX) with an encrypted wallet. I've tried to import keys with pywallet, but while it claimed to be importing them, when I ran again the bitcoin client, it said wallet.dat was corrupted (yes the client wasn't running when I did the import).

I guess pywallet doesn't know about encryption and didn't care enough to check everything was ok before importing them.

So, how do I do this import?

Trying to run the command line client gets me the following error a few seconds after starting it (with -daemon option of course):

EXCEPTION: NSt8ios_base7failureE       
CDataStream::read() : end of data       
bitcoin in AppInit()       

Running the QT client with the -server option crashes too after a while (apparently it works correctly without that).


1 Answer 1


Since 0.6.0, key import/export are available in the client itself, though only through RPC. The commands are called dumpprivkey and importprivkey. For example (on testnet):

$ ./bitcoind getnewaddress


$ ./bitcoind dumpprivkey n2JjZgLeCUgfubswxDm9zAaBGSLLHSLdNv


And on another wallet:

$ ./bitcoind importprivkey R4RtpaeAZY8MwrNvTQGX9PZ9pdCgFoLxuo4Pkwqx61broC4Gb4y

$ ./bitcoind validateaddress n2JjZgLeCUgfubswxDm9zAaBGSLLHSLdNv

{ "isvalid" : true, "address" : "n2JjZgLeCUgfubswxDm9zAaBGSLLHSLdNv", "ismine" : true, "pubkey" : "029e3a934cfc9f89d7a1c15f99b98479cabc81964f4972e7b8fa3989a788261695", "iscompressed" : true, "account" : "" }

  • Oh, apparently bitcoin-qt doesn't provide a server for the command line client to connect to; also looks like bitcoind isn't starting anymore, crashing with an exception a few seconds after it started... (does it support encrypted wallets? in the options I noticed nothing about that...)
    – o0'.
    Apr 30, 2012 at 16:35
  • You need to run "bitcoin-qt -server" to get it to provide a server. And you'll need to have 'rpcuser=x' and 'rpcpassword=y' in your bitcoin.conf file, but I think bitcoin-qt will tell you that if you don't have it. bitcoind supports encrypted wallets, but make sure you're using the same version as the version of bitcoin-qt you have. Apr 30, 2012 at 16:37
  • 1
    @ChrisMoore mmmh, doing so I only get errors -4"Error adding key to wallet" if I try to add priv_sipa or -5"Invalid private key" if I try to add priv
    – o0'.
    Apr 30, 2012 at 16:45
  • 2
    Oh, you need to unencrypt your wallet temporarily so it can add the new key. I do the following, so my passphrase doesn't end up in my shell history. It unlocks the wallet for 60 seconds: read x; ./bitcoind walletpassphrase "$x" 60; unset x Apr 30, 2012 at 17:29
  • I can't do that: if I run the server from command line, it crashes after a while, and the same happens if I run the QT client with the -server option.
    – o0'.
    May 2, 2012 at 18:25

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