I received Some mining profits to my Blockchain. However the person who sent them to me send them to me with a private key. They then wanted me to send them money to unlock the private key. Does anyone know of a way that I can get that private key unlocked so I can recoup my profits from them without paying them to do so?

  • 2
    You are almost definitely being scammed. Private keys do not need unlocking. They are either lying about what they sent to you, or are just plain trying to scam you Commented Apr 6, 2018 at 12:29
  • Thank You that is what i believed as well. I have not a d will not give them money. It shows up in my block chain as watch only.
    – J posh
    Commented Apr 6, 2018 at 15:38
  • Agreed, sounds like a scam to me! Do not send any more money to them
    – chytrik
    Commented Apr 7, 2018 at 16:07
  • Possible duplicate of I need to recover private key?,
    – chytrik
    Commented Feb 10, 2019 at 23:30

2 Answers 2


First, confirm that you did indeed receive a private key. On Bitcoin mainnet, private keys are almost always distributed in a format that starts with either a K or an L (capitalized in either case) and are usually 52 alphanumeric characters long. Here's an example:


If you instead received a code starting with a 1, a 3, or bc1, then what you received was an address. If you received a hexadecimal code that was 130 characters long and started with 04 or 66 characters long and starting with 02 or 03, then what you received was a public key. None of those are private keys, and there's no way to get the private key from an address or a public key. Here are some examples of addresses and public keys:


If you have any other type of information, that's probably also not a private key and it may have nothing specific to do with Bitcoin.

If you do indeed have a private key, you can import it into most Bitcoin wallets. See the documentation for your specific wallet for instructions (if you can't find the documentation for importing private keys, feel free to ask a separate question).

You don't need any special information to "unlock a private key". In addition, the normal way to receive mining profits is by a normal Bitcoin payment to one of your addresses; I've never before heard of any mining pool paying profits by distributing private keys as that has all the same costs plus a large additional security risk. It seems likely to me that the person you're communicating with is attempting to steal money from you, so be careful in your dealings with them.


If you have the private key you do not need to pay to unlock it.

First you need a wallet and then you need to import the private key.

You can see my previous answer here for some information on choosing a wallet.

Importing the private key will be a different procedure depending on what wallet you choose.

For example, importang a private key in Electrum for an address starting with 3 is here (not the key, the address that the key makes) - it is slightly different if the address where the payment was sent is starting with either a 1 or bc1. If you do not know which address is correct you can import the private key multiple times. You can ask an additional question if you need to, it may have already been answered if you search.

But, the private key may not be a raw private key and may already be formatted for the address type.

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