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I have some troubles to understand the logic behing addresses and wallets. I use Multibit to manage my BTC. I have one wallet with 5 receiving addresses. I have transfered from an exchange website 0.1BTC to each of my receiving address. So Multibit indicates that my wallet balance is 0.5BTC (to simplify, I don't include the transaction fees). So far so good.

What I don't get is why I can't see in multibit the balance of each of my receiving addresses seperatly, like:

A1 = 0.1
A2 = 0.1
A3 = 0.1
A4 = 0.1
A5 = 0.1

If I got it right, it's because now the 0.5BTC aren't anylonger tied up to the receiving address I sent them to but only to my wallet. This would mean that it is useless for me to send money from my wallet to a A1 for example to get this new balance...

A1 = 0.3
A2 = 0.1
A3 = 0.1
A4 = 0
A5 = 0

...because it would be exactly the same as the total balance of my wallet would still be 0.5BTC. But this doesn't seems right because blockchain track the amount of transaction per addresses.

But then why can't I choose from which "receiving" address out of the 5 I have, I want to take the money of when I sent BTC? Multibit only ask me the receiving address where I want to send the money to not the address where it takes the money of. Who get to choose which sender address will be kept in the blockchain?

This is really confusing! Thanks for your help!

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There are multiple reasons why you do not see individual address balances or get to choose the sender address:

  • For privacy reasons your client will generate a new address for every change output in your transactions. Soon, you'd have many more addresses; and choosing from a long list of addresses is not user-friendly.
  • "Addresses are not wallets nor accounts, and do not carry balances. They only receive funds, and you do not send "from" an address at any time." (see Address Misconceptions)
  • There is no "from" address (see From address)
  • Thanks Malte! You wrote "For privacy reasons your client will generate a new address for every change output in your transactions.". Does this mean that each time I spend some of my bitcoins, Multibit will generate a new address to receive bitcoins? I have never spent bitcoin, so I have no experience here, but this sounds rather strange. Thanks a lot for the two links, they help me get rid of some of my misconceptions! – MagTun Mar 4 '15 at 13:27
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    I'm not 100% sure about Multibit's implementation, but if it follows best practices it should. This way nobody can figure out how much bitcoins you transferred because it is difficult to determine which output contains the real transacted value and which the change back to you. It's also discussed in more detail here: bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/1629/… – Malte Mar 5 '15 at 13:58

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