Does an encrypted Bitcoin-Qt wallet generate BIP38 private keys?

I saw that Bitcoin private keys start with 5, i.e. unencrypted / no-BIP38 PKs, can be imported on several bitcoin wallets, e.g. Blockchain.info, Electrum, etc., and everyone with access to these unencrypted PKs can spent the bitcoins associated with them without entering a password to validate the transaction. While BIP38's private keys, i.e. those starting with 6, can be imported to several Bitcoin wallets,those ask the associated password in order to move the coins associated with them.

So let's say that someone would guess my Bitcoin-Qt's encrypted private key, and he imports it on blockchain.info or Electrum. Will he need to enter my password to spent the coins associated to my PK? In other words, do my encrypted Bitcoin-Qt private keys works like any BIP38 PK?

  • OK, I made myself a test: Dec 21, 2016 at 21:53
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    1.) I've exported my encrypted private key from bitcoin-qt using this method 2.) Imported it in to a fresh MultiBit wallet 3.) Sent the total satoshi's balance related to the bitcoin-qt PK to another wallet address 4.) No password asked to send the coins from the encrypted PK So the encrypted bitcoin-qt private keys are not BIP38'd. Dec 21, 2016 at 22:05

1 Answer 1


BIP38 provides a standard to create encrypted paperwallets (or physical coins in the case of Mike Caldwell). Bitcoin Core is wallet software which stores its most sensitive information in an encrypted format to protect against theft.

When you export a private key from Bitcoin Core, you're essentially doing the same as when you decrypt a BIP38 paperwallet: You're making the actual private key available in plain text. Obviously, the actual private key can be used to make a payment with associated balances.

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