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Export a Bitcoin private key

Exporting a Bitcoin private key can allows to transfer one of your Bitcoin address into another Bitcoin wallet software or service. It can also be used to backup addresses so they can be re-imported later.

Private keys must be protected

Caution, private keys can allow to use funds associated with these addresses. Do not expose the private keys to a situation where they could fall into wrong hands. It is therefore preferable to encrypt the keys and securely erase any hard drive or USB key that contained an unencrypted private key.

Bitcoin software is not designed to share a key

Another important note, it is important not to use a private key simultaneously with the Bitcoin software and other online wallets. This practice is considered experimental and may cause operational problems with the Bitcoin sofware. If a problem occurs after this mistake, it is be necessary to export the private keys, reinstall Bitcoin and re-import private keys.

  1. Open your Bitcoin software.
  2. Click on the menu Help / Debug window (at the top).
  3. Click on the Console tab.
  4. If your wallet is encrypted, type the following command followed by the Enter key to unlock the wallet
    walletpassphrase (password) 600
  5. Type the following command to export the key
    dumpprivkey (Bitcoin address)
  6. The private key is shown on the screen.