If I want to transfer an address from the satoshi client into a different client, how can I find its private key to do so?


2 Answers 2


To export a private key from your Satoshi bitcoin-qt client:

  1. launch your bitcoin client as usual and wait for it to load the blockchain and start up
  2. click on 'help' in the menu bar (top right)
  3. click on 'debug window'
  4. select the 'console' tab
  5. type: walletpassphrase "your walletpassphrase here" 600
  6. type: dumpprivkey [your Bitcoin address here]
  7. this will return the private key, you can copy it now; ensure you clear your clipboard/history afterwards
  8. type: walletlock
  • 1
    This answer would benefit from adding "How to get your public key"; as i don't know my public key.
    – Ian Boyd
    Commented Apr 8, 2013 at 1:48
  • The Bitcoin address is what is to be used there. I've edited it. Commented Oct 11, 2015 at 3:19
  • FYI, if you didn't already encrypt the Bitcoin-QT wallet then skip the walletpassphrase part (line numbered 5. and 8.). Commented Oct 11, 2015 at 3:21
  • #5 isnt clear :it tells you to type quote:"walletpassphrase "your walletpassphrase here" 600". unquote which gets you no where.. and number 6 is the same Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 22:02
  • 1
    @DavidCrawford: Did you try to replace the three words "your walletpassphrase here" with your wallet passphrase?
    – Murch
    Commented Aug 12, 2017 at 2:31

Note: Recent versions of the satoshi client offer a 'debug window' which can be used to export private keys. This is described in Miguel Moreno's answer to this question, and is easier than the steps I describe below.

To export a private key from your satoshi client:

  1. run: bitcoin-qt -server and wait for it to load the blockchain and start up

  2. if your wallet is encrypted, run: read -s x; bitcoin-cli walletpassphrase "$x" 600; unset x to unlock it for 600 seconds (type your passphrase after hitting return, then hit return again; this 'read; ...; unset' prevents the password being written to your shell's history file on disk, and the '-s' in read prevents your password being displayed as you type it, and improves protection from screen-loggers and the shell log)

  3. run this command using bitcoin-cli: bitcoin-cli dumpprivkey 1my1bitcoin1addres11111 (replace 1my... with the bitcoin address of which you want the private key)

  4. if your wallet is encrypted and you want to re-lock your wallet, run bitcoin-cli walletlock

  • What if I've encrypted my wallet? Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 14:41
  • Good point. I updated my answer to mention that. Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 18:02
  • 1
    I guess you do the "read x ..." shell stuff to prevent the shell writing your password to a history file. I think that's worth mentioning. Commented Sep 15, 2012 at 12:37
  • Yes, that's exactly why. I don't want my password being written to disk. Commented Sep 16, 2012 at 3:26
  • 1
    @user2428118 I noticed dumpwallet is a command now in newer versions
    – Sun
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 16:18

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