I am learning about Bitcoin and when I was about to export my private key from a single electrum wallet, I found that there were in fact a lot more than one. Why is that so, don't you only need 1 private key to hold all bitcoins and manage them?


Why is that so, don't you only need 1 private key to hold all bitcoins and manage them?

Sure you could use only one private key and its associated address, but that is not recommended. It is more secure and more private to not reuse addresses. Instead you should use a new address for every transaction you receive and for every change output you make. Thus your wallet will have multiple private keys for the multiple addresses that you are using.

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    on a side note: the whole concept of keys and wallets is well described in Andreas' book "Mastering Bitoin" (bitcoinbook.info), in Chapter four. There is also the idea of HD wallets (Hierarchical Deterministic Wallets and BIP0032/BIP0044). They allow to derive many keys from a single "seed" key. – pebwindkraft Jun 24 '17 at 7:45
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    @Andrew Chow I realise reusing addresses can compromise security but can you not generate as many different addresses as you want but all linked to a single private key? Thx for the help! – Dedados Jun 26 '17 at 20:57
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    No. There is only one private key for an address. If you are generating a bunch of addresses, you are also generating their private keys too. – Andrew Chow Jun 26 '17 at 20:58

I think, you should consider this example:

I know you maybe join more than one group (example: coffee group, friend group, or study group).

If you want to make some transactions to one of those group, if you use only one address, you will be captured or somebody in some group can know that there is a person in the coffee group who are in study group too. And someday, somebody can detect who you are.

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