How to Import a Private Key into a Mobile Wallet

Did you receive a ‘receipt’ (a.k.a. paper wallet), after a bitcoin ATM/kiosk purchase or as a gift? If you’re new to cryptocurrency, you may not be sure what to do with this bitcoin-branded slip of paper. While paper wallets are a very secure way to store your cryptocurrency, you will at some point want to access those coins. Thankfully, while the process may not be particularly intuitive, it is simple to execute.

So You’ve Got A Paper Wallet… But What Is It?

The most common way to obtain a paper wallet is by purchasing bitcoin, litecoin, or another cryptocurrency at a bitcoin kiosk. Of course, no bitcoin is actually ‘stored’ in this wallet, but it contains all of the information you’ll need to view, send, and receive digital currency to and from the associated digital wallet on the blockchain.

A paper wallet will display two key pieces of information: a private key and a public address. The private key is a 64-character alphanumeric (letters A-F and numbers 1-9) code that defines the ‘location’ of your wallet on the blockchain. As this is the key you use to send bitcoin from the wallet, it is extremely important that you keep it secure and secret. Anyone that knows your private key can use it is used when adding bitcoin to the wallet.

The public key is a shorter code that allows others to send bitcoin to your wallet. As receiving bitcoin is never a bad thing, you can feel free to share this address with others.

Most paper wallets also include scannable QR codes that represent your public address and private key, making it much easier to transfer coin to and from your wallet.

How To Send Bitcoin From A Paper Wallet To A Mobile Digital Wallet?

Paper wallets are well-suited for long-term bitcoin cold storage but are not secure or convenient enough for regular use. For everyday use and account monitoring, you’ll want to transfer bitcoin to a digital mobile wallet. By now, you should have a pretty good idea how a paper wallet works. But, it takes two to tango. Now, let’s look at how the process works within the app.

There are a lot of mobile digital wallets to choose from, so specific steps can vary. Generally, the function will be called “import,” “redeem,” or something similar. Once you find the function, you’ll either enter your paper wallet’s private key or scan the associated QR code. The app may also ask you to select the amount to transfer. Ideally, paper wallets are single-use, so we advise transferring the full amount ‘stored’ on the paper wallet.

Because each app is different, we’ll take for example the steps within BRD and Mycelium, two very popular mobile wallet apps, that demonstrate two very different methods.

For many apps, the process begins on the home screen. Mycelium is one such app, but the function is rather unusually titled “cold storage.” Follow these steps to import the contents of your paper wallet into Mycelium:

  1. Tap 'Cold storage'

  2. Use the keyboard to enter the private key or select 'QR code' to scan it in

  3. Select an address within your wallet as the destination address

  4. Specify the amount to transfer (we recommend you transfer the full amount)

BRD is an example of an app that hides its import function in the settings menu. To import the contents of a paper wallet into your BRD wallet, follow the steps from the app’s website:

  1. Tap on Settings.

  2. Under Currency Settings, tap on Bitcoin.

  3. Select Redeem Private Key.

  4. Tap on Scan Private Key and scan the QR code on your paper wallet.

    1. Note: Any funds stored on the paper wallet/private key will be sent into your BRD wallet and will not remain on the paper wallet/private key.

That’s it! Your bitcoin will now be connected to your mobile wallet. And, if you chose to transfer the full amount associated with the paper wallet, you can discard it once the transaction has been verified by the blockchain.

Have any questions? Reach out to let us know how we can help

How to Use the Bread Bitcoin Wallet App

Bitcoin is becoming more popular (and valuable) by the day. Recently, we’ve been talking to people of all stripes about getting started on their bitcoin journey. Most often, new bitcoin converts want to know what mobile apps we recommend to help them manage their bitcoin. The mobile bitcoin wallet we’re asked about most—and most recommend for new users—is Bread (previously known as Breadwallet, available for iOS and Android).

Bread is a super simple wallet with an excellent, user-friendly interface and is dedicated to maintaining the highest security. There are lots of great mobile wallets out there, and many have additional features that Bread doesn’t offer, but few can match the easy-to-use design of Bread. Bread makes it easy to buy, send, and receive bitcoin, and doesn’t distract you with the swiss-army-knife approach that makes others a pain to use.

Getting Started

The app does a great job of walking you through the startup process, so we don’t need to spend much time here. When you first open the app, it will simply ask you to choose a 6-digit PIN that you will use to access your wallet. And, in case you ever forget your PIN or lose access to the app, it gives you a 12-word ‘paper key’ to write down & keep in a safe place.

Now, you’re ready to fill your wallet with bitcoin. If you already have bitcoin stored in another wallet, Bread offers two convenient “Import Wallet” functions. To import a private key via QR code, select Menu, then Settings, then Import Wallet. The app will then open your camera, ready to scan in the code and import the bitcoin into your Bread wallet.

If you want to import another Bread wallet, use the “Start/Recover Another Wallet” process. From the app home screen, simply tap Menu, then Settings, then Start/Recover Another Wallet. Then, you’ll simply need to enter the twelve-word Paper Key, followed by the target wallet’s Paper Key. This process will replace the active wallet, but it can be easily recovered later using the same process.

If you don’t have any bitcoin waiting to be transferred to your new wallet, Bread also makes it easy to buy bitcoin right from the app. To get started, tap Menu, then Buy Bitcoin. The app will then use your location to help you find places nearby where you can exchange cash for bitcoin. Or, if there are no bitcoin ATMs nearby, you can connect your wallet with your bank account to make purchases via Glidera.

Moving Bitcoin

As you might have gathered by now, moving your bitcoin with Bread couldn’t be any easier. The Send and Receive functions are accessible right from the app’s home screen under your account total & transaction history.

To send money, all you need is the bitcoin address of the wallet you want to transfer bitcoin to; this can be in the form of a QR code or a text string. When you’re ready to go, just tap Send. Next, you’ll enter the address by typing it out, pasting it from an email or text message, or scanning the QR code. Now, enter the amount you’d like to send (you can choose whether to enter a bitcoin or dollar amount), write a short note if you’d like to remember what the transaction was for, and tap the Send button. Boom! Your first bitcoin payment.

Receiving bitcoin in the Bread app is pretty similar, just in reverse! When you tap Receive on the app’s home screen, a unique bitcoin address will appear, accompanied with a QR code.You can choose to share the address & QR code via email or text, read it out the old-fashion way, or simply let the sender scan your QR code with their own mobile app. For convenience, you can also specify the amount requested. That amount will be contained in the QR code, and will appear in the sender’s form.


And that’s it! As mind-boggling as bitcoin can seem, Bread makes managing your new digital currency as easy as possible. Of course, as you become more bitcoin-savvy you will probably want to try different clients to manage your investments. At that point, you’ll want a wallet with more options such as support for cold storage and multiple cryptocurrencies (which Bread plans to offer soon). But, we’ve found Bread’s interface to be just what the doctor ordered for first-time and casual bitcoin users. Give it a try, and let us know what you think on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.