I could not find documentation on using a 12-word BIP39 Mnemonic to restore a wallet through bitcoin-cli. It seems that importprivkey might be the right RPC call but when I provide the 12 words, it says "Invalid private key encoding" I also tried the following formats which were generated by Ian Coleman's page from https://github.com/iancoleman/bip39:

BIP39 Seed
BIP32 Root Key
Account Extended Private Key
BIP32 Extended Private Key

Perhaps the master seed mnemonic is useless if all you have is bitcoin-cli and the bitcoind to which it's attached. Is that the case?

1 Answer 1


Bitcoin Core does not currently support BIP 39 mnemonics nor the size of the BIP 32 seed produced by a BIP 39 mnemonic. BIP 39 produces 512 bit seeds, but Bitcoin Core currently only supports importing a 256 bit seed via sethdseed.

  • Great answer, but too bad sethdseed does not support 512 bit input seeds by allowing xpriv seeds to be imported directly. Then something like the following could have been used: % echo "army van defense carry jealous true garbage claim echo media make crunch" | bx mnemonic-to-seed -p "" | bx hd-new xprv9s21ZrQH143K3t4UZrNgeA3w861fwjYLaGwmPtQyPMmzshV2owVpfBSd2Q7YsHZ9j6i6ddYjb5PLtUdMZn8LhvuCVhGcQntq5rn7JVMqnie
    – skaht
    May 1, 2019 at 15:13

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