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What are addresses mean in Electrum? Are they some default/predefined/popular addresses? Are they all my BTC addresses?

Can I delete them entirely? I couldn't find delete option, only freeze.

Why are some green receiving and some yellow change?

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They are indeed all your addresses. The addresses labeled receiving in green are meant to be given to people from whom you wish to accept a payment and the yellow change addresses are there for Electrum to use when you make a transaction with an unspent output.

About receiving addresses

Using a separate address for every incoming transaction is better than using the same address all the time for a couple of reasons:

  1. It increases your privacy. If you used only one address, all your transactions and your balance would be easily known to everyone who knows your address, so for everyone who has ever paid you or received a payment from you. If you use different addresses, it's much more difficult to relate the different transactions to the same person.
  2. It allows you to discern between different sources of funding. Because in Bitcoin there is no "transaction title" or any other description, if you simultaneously await two payments, let's say for the same amount, you would have no way to know who paid you if not for having given different addresses to different payers.

If you want to use an address multiple times, as for example if you publish a donation address on your website, you can do it of course, Electrum won't stop you. In some cases it's not a problem at all, but you have to understand that you sacrifice a little bit of your privacy, e.g. other people can find out what's your balance on this donation address. just It's useful to label any address you use (publish or give to anyone) so that you know where from each transaction comes.

About change addresses

The change addresses work like this: let's say you have an address 1Abc with 0.5 BTC and another address 1Xyz with 0.5 BTC. Now you need to pay someone with an address 1Pay 0.7 BTC. Electrum would handle this by creating a transaction with inputs from addresses 1Abc and 1Xyz (which sum up to 1.0 BTC) and the outputs would be 0.7 BTC to the address 1Pay and 0.3 BTC to the address 1ChA, which is one of your change addresses. Each change address is used only once. The reason for the existence of change address is the same as reason 1. above: it increases your privacy.

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  • Thanks for explanation. But can I transfer that change from change address back to my lets call it "primary" address that I use to keep most of my BTCs? – Green May 18 at 16:54
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    First, there's little reason I can think of to do it. Electrum will use those change addresses in a pretty optimal way without you doing anything like that. But if you really do want to do it, it's possible. You can copy the private key for a particular address and then use "Wallet" -> "Private keys" -> "Sweep". To copy the key right-click it and choose "Private key" from the drop-down menu. – Hubert Jasieniecki May 18 at 17:05
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    @Green there is no reason to become attached to any particular address, they really are meant to be one-time use. This is why your wallet displays a large number of addresses, and will display even more as you start to use them. Sending change to a non-change address is pointless, unless you are trying to consolidate UTXOs (but beware! doing so can be very bad for your privacy). – chytrik May 18 at 21:38
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Thanks for explanation. But can I transfer that change from change address back to my lets call it "primary" address that I use to keep most of my BTCs?

I lack reputation to answer to your second question, so I will answer here.

There is a very good reason to consolidate all your balance into one, if you are not worried about privacy: To save on fees.

You have a lot of addresses, all of them have balances, and you have a lot of change addresses. Every time you make a transaction you will consume the balance of those addresses as an extra input, which will increase transaction size and fees.

Now, as the network is really congested, you shouldn't consolidate your balance in one address. But in a few weeks the fees will be low again. Simple make a transaction of your entire balance to an address of your wallet (it can be a new or old one). As you are transferring for yourself, you can use a 1 sat/byte fee and wait for as long as necessary.

When you consolidate balance you will save in fees your next transactions (as you will have fewer inputs).

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    +1 That's actually a pretty good use case for consolidating one's UTXOs. I would like to add that you can do this consolidation in Electrum very simply, by just sending your total balance to one of your addresses, preferably an unused one. – Hubert Jasieniecki May 18 at 19:22
  • this isn't really necessary. your wallet software manages all your unspent outputs for you. you should let it handle this. and btw it won't draw on all your utxos each time you spend money. it'll only draw on the ones required to reach the amount you want to spend. – Abdussamad May 24 at 17:12
  • it isn't necessary, but it will make you spend less in fees in long term, as you will reduce transaction size. You can consolidate your small inputs in one address when the fees are low, so you don't need to spend 5-6 inputs when the fees are high. This is specially useful if you receive a lot of payments or donations in BTC and have a lot of small inputs. – bitmover May 25 at 12:52

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