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What are 'Private Keys'? and where do i find them in my wallet? How do I know it is a private key?

marked as duplicate by Jestin, Murch Jun 4 '17 at 6:10

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Depends on your wallet.

A Bitcoin private key is a 256bit (32bytes) random number (there is a max limit, but lets don't go into the details). Often, wallets export them as a WIF encoded base58check string which looks like L1esWYsDL8nBeTRmGjUiDru54nXS4wF811n3e7mbvoSjM2zZWJ6w.

Sometimes, wallet use HD (look up BIP32 if you are interested). Then the root private key starts with "xprv" and look like xprv9s21ZrQH143K4bhMhuUKZnW9DW5Dx9mwGQseMNdoECsaCGdhL9N8jR6KG5c3UTYrKPTkRNEBfeX7LjE2VjScyLZYA3XqRpyYbhnZHnsUepS

Search after "export private key" or "dump wallet", etc.

  • This is useful. Thank you! How does Bitcoin private key differ from Ethereum? How do I save a private key to USB? How do I know the difference between a private key and public key? – benhenderson Jun 20 '17 at 8:42
  • Bitcoin and Ethereum private keys are the same (Ethereum uses the same libsecp256k1 curve). – Jonas Schnelli Jun 20 '17 at 11:31
  • Save a private key to USB? You mean hardwarewallet? The whole idea of a hardware wallet is that you create the key on the device and the key will never leave the device. – Jonas Schnelli Jun 20 '17 at 11:32

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