I am trying to retrieve my private key by debugging the address that was used for sending bitcoins to my wallet in the Bitcoin Core App. However, when trying to import this private key in another app it does not recognise it.Do you know where the problem might be? (Another thing is that I do not have enough space to sync my wallet, can this cause the issue?!) Thanks for help.

  • What format is the private key in? It might also be encrypted via password.
    – fihdi
    Mar 5 '18 at 21:28
  • Sorry If my answer will be stupid - number and letters.
    – Zuzana
    Mar 5 '18 at 21:30
  • How can I decrypt it?
    – Zuzana
    Mar 5 '18 at 21:33
  • @Zuzana is the private key 51 or 52 characters long, and is the first letter an "L", "5" or "K"?
    – MeshCollider
    Mar 5 '18 at 21:37
  • 52 characters and L @MeshCollider
    – Zuzana
    Mar 5 '18 at 21:38

There's many different types and formats for Private Keys.

For example, a single address private key(WIF) should look like:


other types:

  • Hierarchical Deterministic (HD) Wallet Keys

Wallet software may use a BIP 32 seed to generate many private keys and corresponding public keys from a single secret value. This is called a hierarchical deterministic wallet, or HD wallet for short. The seed value, or master extended key, consists of a 256-bit private key and a 256-bit chain code, for 512 bits in total. The seed value should not be confused with the private keys used directly to sign Bitcoin transactions.



  • Mnemonic phrase A mnemonic phrase, mnemonic recovery phrase or mnemonic seed is a list of words which store all the information needed to recover a Bitcoin wallet. Wallet software will typically generate a mnemonic backup phrase and instruct the user to write it down on paper. If the user's computer breaks or their hard drive becomes corrupted, they can download the same wallet software again and use the paper backup to get their bitcoins back.

Base58 Wallet Import format

When importing or sweeping ECDSA private keys, a shorter format known as wallet import format is often used, which offers a few advantages. The wallet import format is shorter, and includes built-in error checking codes so that typos can be automatically detected and/or corrected (which is impossible in hex format) and type bits indicating how it is intended to be used. Wallet import format is the most common way to represent private keys in Bitcoin. For private keys associated with uncompressed public keys, they are 51 characters and always start with the number 5 on mainnet (9 on testnet). Private keys associated with compressed public keys are 52 characters and start with a capital L or K on mainnet (c on testnet).

  • Mini private key format Some applications use the mini private key format.

Not every private key or Bitcoin address has a corresponding mini private key - they have to be generated a certain way in order to ensure a mini private key exists for an address. The mini private key is used for applications where space is critical, such as in QR codes and in physical bitcoins. The above example has a mini key, which is: SzavMBLoXU6kDrqtUVmffv

You should know which private key they're asking for and you are sending the correct one.

Importing private address key (WIF) command should be like that:

importprivkey yourPrivateKeyInWalletImportFormat "TheLabelThatIWant"
  • Unfortunatelly I have no clue :/
    – Zuzana
    Mar 5 '18 at 21:41
  • I am a beginner in all of this and not sure which wallet should I try to import my private key to and in which format. Any recommendations for a place where I can store my bitcoins without need of syncing the whole wallet.
    – Zuzana
    Mar 5 '18 at 21:43
  • I've added some examples for the answer
    – Adam
    Mar 5 '18 at 21:52
  • My private key is Base Wallet one.
    – Zuzana
    Mar 5 '18 at 21:54
  • I added it to the online wallet, it says it has no value in it, however, when I check the transaction on blokchain I see the value. I am really desperate about this :/
    – Zuzana
    Mar 5 '18 at 22:00

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