I have a bitcoin wallets private key , but it's incomplete like you can say it's 70% of the private key , there is some alphanumeric missing for the middle of the key , is there anyway to recover it using that 70% of it ?

  • What format is the private key in? Please don't share any part of the actual key, just describe the format of the backup/file you do have some part of.
    – chytrik
    Nov 11, 2018 at 22:22
  • I wrote that on a paper I have privatekey in WIF format starting with 5. Nov 11, 2018 at 22:25
  • 1
    It's a power of 58 possibilities for each character missing (assuming you know the address you are looking for) . So for 4 (58^4) it should be feasible to brute force but for 10 probably not.
    – Mike D
    Nov 11, 2018 at 23:48
  • 1
    Depends a lot on exactly what is missing". WIF encoded private keys are a version byte, 32 bytes of data for the private key, and 4 bytes of checksum data. Losing the last few characters is trivially recoverable, losing a couple of characters in the middle is potentially recoverable, losing a substantial portion of the middle of key becomes increasingly more difficult. Work out how many characters exactly you've lost.
    – Claris
    Nov 12, 2018 at 0:00
  • I think I've lost something about 21 characters from the middle . is it recoverable ? Nov 12, 2018 at 0:50

2 Answers 2


It depends on how much information you are missing.

A Wallet Import Format key is base58 encoded. Thus, each character in the key can be one of 58 characters.

You mention in the comments that you are missing 21 characters. Assuming you know exactly which 21 characters are missing (i.e., you know that the first 21 are missing), you have 21^58, or 4.88336... × 10^76 possibilities. This is outside the range of bruteforcing.

Moreover, if you don't know which 21 characters are missing, you have many, many more possibilities, as you not only need to iterate all 58 possibilities for each characters, but also try all their possible locations within the key.

Unless you are able to find more information, the key cannot be recovered.

  • can you give me your email or whatsapp number so I can tell you everything briefly . Nov 12, 2018 at 7:06
  • it's 58^21 not 21^58
    – Mike D
    Nov 16, 2018 at 14:06

Have you seen the movie "The Imitation Game" ? this reminds me of it because:

if you do have part of it, it 'easier' to get the full message (key) in this case... but exactly by how much?... is it even worth it?

in your case not worth it tho, sorry...

possible? yes, easier? yes, but still not worth it by today's computational standards

Anyways, good luck! and don't throw away anything, you never know....

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