If I have a bitcoin private key, public key or address, can I know if it is a root private key or some other part which derived from a root private key in an HD wallet by the structure of it?

To be more specific - I don't need to know any details about the parent keys or to connect a hierarchy between two keys - just to know by the structure if to treat this key/address as "unique" one in my program.

  • No, and that's a feature of HD wallets - you can't tell how keys or addresses relate to each other without knowing secret material. It's a privacy feature.
    – pinhead
    Jun 8, 2020 at 23:58

1 Answer 1


Individual address private keys begin with 5,L or K. What you're calling root private keys are actually called extended private keys and they begin with ?prv where ? is either x,z,y,Y,Z. You can see examples of those here. So that's how you tell the difference.

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