I didn't create a private key for my bitcoin address and am unable to do anything with these coins. How do I resolve this issue?

  • 1
    Just to clarify, are you saying that you imported "Watch Only" Bitcoin addresses into your Blockchain.info/wallet, but don't have the private key for it? Oct 11, 2012 at 4:31
  • Are you using a client, or an eWallet?
    – ThePiachu
    Oct 11, 2012 at 7:01
  • 1
    @ThePiachu: I think she means she's using blockchain.info MyWallet. Oct 11, 2012 at 8:43
  • How did you get this bitcoin address in the first place? What makes it yours? Oct 11, 2012 at 13:30
  • @StephenGornick: Yes, I imported "Watch Only" on my address. Reason, Bitcoins didn't post to BlockChain.info/wallet. Issue: slow servers, but resolved, available now.
    – susan
    Oct 11, 2012 at 14:02

2 Answers 2


In order to properly create a Bitcoin address, you need to create it from a private key. If you just start from the middle of address generation - say a public key or a result of a hash, you are not guaranteed to have a private key that can be associated with that address. In order to recover a private key that was never used to create an address would require you to brute force all the private keys, which at the moment is computationally impossible (might be more possible in 50+ years). This is in place to ensure that nobody can steal your coins.

If you are using Bitcoin honestly, however, you should find your private keys stored it wallet.dat in the Bitcoin data directory, or in case of using eWallets - online.

  • Address created in blockchain.info/mywallet. I will follow thru on your suggestion. Thank you.
    – susan
    Oct 11, 2012 at 14:11
  • @susan: Above you said you imported it in blockchain.info. Here you're saying you created it in blockchain.info. Did you create it and then later import it? Oct 11, 2012 at 14:35
  • @DavidSchwartz: Sorry for the confusion. I opened an acct. with blockchain.info/mywallet. Address auto created when acct established. Once coins are in mywallet, another is auto created, therefore, my wallet has 2 addresses currently, one holding bitcoins which I placed under "watch list" and 0 bitcoins on the newest address. MyWallet creates this extra security measure.
    – susan
    Oct 11, 2012 at 14:50
  • I've made several mistakes regarding wallet: 1) no patience, servers slow that day in deposits 2) not understanding process of addresses changing in mywallet upon coin deposit, 3) putting address with "missing deposit" on "watch only" to find out where they went, which was to my account but much later typical due to server issue.
    – susan
    Oct 11, 2012 at 14:54
  • As far as I can tell, you can only add a watch-only address that you already have. I don't see any way to create a watch-only address or convert an existing address to watch-only. So I still can't quite tell what you did. I played with the interface on every screen and I can't find any way to convert an account from a regular account to a watch only account. Oct 11, 2012 at 14:56

You haven't stated from where you obtained the Bitcoin address in the first place.

It didn't come from the same wallet in Blockchain.info/wallet because Blockchain.info/wallet won't let you watch one of your own addresses.

If the address is from your Bitcoin.org client (i.e., Bitcoin-Qt), then you simply spend from the Bitcoin.org client and not from Blockchain.info/wallet.

If the address is from another EWallet on Blockchain.info, simply log into the correct wallet and spend from that.

If the address is from an EWallet on some other service, e.g., on Mt. Gox, then you will need to go there to withdraw any funds that you've received.

Hopefully you can remember from which wallet or EWallet service you obtained the Bitcoin address from originally.

  • If you ended up creating a second EWallet on Blockchain.info/wallet and in that second EWallet is where you entered the watch-only address, then there are ways to regain access to the original EWallet, even if you didn't bookmark the url, enter an e-mail address, or a nickname even. Oct 11, 2012 at 17:44
  • Thanks for this information ALL. I must have started another wallet in trying to figure out the system. Fortunately, it wasn't much money as I am testing out the processes. Starting over :-) This information helps greatly. I will try to jog my memory.
    – susan
    Oct 11, 2012 at 18:45

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.