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How to Import a Private Key/Wallet Using Your Recovery Phrase

Started by Bitcoin, Mar 13, 2023, 11:02 am

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How to Import a Private Key/Wallet Using Your Recovery Phrase

How to Import a Private Key/Wallet Using Your Recovery Phrase

At the heart of self-custodying your crypto is full control of your funds: hodl to the moon, send and receive to/from friends, spend directly with merchants, buy your favorite coins, swap whichever coins you want, and especially, manage your assets however you please.

The process of importing your private key means you are essentially recreating your wallet on a new device or platform without paying any extra fees. Your keys don’t “move” from one wallet to another, just replicated on your new wallet platform. You’ll use your recovery phrase to verify ownership of your key, allowing you to access funds from your new wallet. From there you can spend and manage your assets as if nothing changed.

There are hundreds of crypto wallets out there and sometimes it may take a few cracks to find the right one. Instead of going through the hassle of sending crypto to a new address and paying transaction fees, you can simply import your self-custody wallet to a new wallet using your recovery phrase.

Note: In order to import your key, you’ll need to have full control over your funds. If you’re currently using a third-party custody service like Coinbase,, Binance or Kraken, you’ll need to transfer your funds to a new self-custody wallet address since you likely don’t have access to your private key. This process is straightforward and one we cover in our guide to self-custody.

Reasons you may want to import your key

  • Switching wallet provider for improved user experience or wallet features
  • Restoring funds from a lost or damaged device
  • Changing the device you use to manager your funds
Important! If you import keys from a lost device, you’ll likely want to transfer your assets to a new key after regaining access to the key. If someone were to find your old device, they could potentially access your funds even after you’ve recovered your key. Similarly, if you still have control over an old device, it is recommended to remove any associated crypto wallet software or data to ensure funds aren’t accessible from the retired device (unless you plan to use the retired device as a contingency plan).

How to import your wallet

Importing the keys from any self-custody wallet which you own is a relatively easy and straightforward process that should only take a few minutes.

Step 1: Choose a trusted, compatible wallet provider

Ensure that any new wallet provider is trusted and receives good reviews among the crypto community. Also double check that the wallet supports the assets held in the key you wish to import. BitPay is one of the most established crypto companies, having over a decade of experience helping users and merchants dive into the world of crypto. In addition to industry-leading storage security, the BitPay Wallet offers multiple ways to spend and use your crypto.

Buy, store, swap and spend securely with BitPay

Get the BitPay Wallet App

Step 2: Locate your recovery phrase

Your recovery phrase, also known as your seed phrase, is a set of 12, 18 or 24 words associated with your key. It is one of the only methods you have to recover your funds.

BitPay, like other reputable self-custody wallet providers, doesn’t store or have access to your recovery phrase! If you don’t have access to this recovery phrase or private key then your funds are most likely lost.

Step 3: Import the seed using your recovery phrase

This process may vary depending on the wallet provider you choose. Within the BitPay Wallet app, select “Create, import or join a shared wallet” under the “Expand Your Portfolio” section of the homescreen. Then select “Import Key”. Carefully type each word of your recovery phrase as it appears in your records. Each word must be added in the order in which it appears. Tap “Import Wallet”. Your wallet should appear in the new device within minutes.

Step 4: Verify your balance

Once the seed is imported, verify your balance to ensure all of your funds appear as they should in the new wallet platform.

Step 5: Backup your new wallet

If you’ve imported your key to a new wallet provider, familiarize yourself with all the backup options available to you. If you will be transferring your funds to a new key, make sure to record your recovery phrase!

FAQs about importing keys

Is sweeping and importing keys the same thing?

No, sweeping a wallet, often a paper wallet, means you are essentially transferring all funds from one wallet to another. Importing keys maintains the balance

How do I find my recovery phrase?

This will vary depending on your wallet provider. It will typically live in your settings or backup area of your wallet. Within the BitPay Wallet use the following steps: Tap into your wallet, Tap the three dots in the upper right corner, then select “Key Settings”, navigate to “Backup”. Your recovery phrase will appear one word at a time, giving you the chance to record each word carefully.

Source: How to Import a Private Key/Wallet Using Your Recovery Phrase