I'm new to bitcoin and have read numerous articles about it, but I still have questions about how it works.

All the articles that I read say the same that, once I spend bitcoin from paper wallet its address gets depleted. So what does that mean exactly? My understanding is that after importing my paper wallet (for example I use it for a donation) to software wallet, the bitcoins still belong to the paper wallet. I didn't transfer them into software wallet address. In other words, I let the software wallet manage my paper wallet, right?

So after I import it, I want to spend it (say I have 2 bitcoins in paper wallet). I want to sent 0.5 of 2.0 bitcoins to, for example, an address belonging to Alice. After that transaction all the paper wallet bitcoins are sent to the network to split into 0.5 and 1.5. 0.5 goes to Alice, and 1.5 goes back to where?

To my software wallet address or paper wallet address (as it was specified as outgoing address)?

If they're going back to the paper wallet, how is that that there're a lot of topics that someone lost all the change after the transaction?

1 Answer 1


Great to see that you are learning about BTC.

A paper wallet contains all the necessary details which you require to access your BTC. But the true purpose of a paper wallet is security. Once you create one paper wallet and transfer BTC to the address, unless the person get's the physical paper, there will be no way to steal it by hacking or any other way.

Now coming back to your question, there are two ways how you use a software for your paper wallet.

  1. By importing In this method, if you transfer your BTC as you say in your question, your paper wallet will remain the rest 1.5 BTC

  2. By sweeping/transfer to software In this method, your total BTC will be transferred from your paper wallet to software wallet. In this case, after your transaction, the software will contain your remaining amount.

Note: Some software uses change addresses, so even if you use any of the above method, the rest goes into the change address created by that software wallet rather than your paper wallet. This is for privacy concern and mainly depends on the software you choose.

Hope this answers your question.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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