Creating Bitcoin Watch-Only Wallet for Windows

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We have previously discussed what a Bitcoin watch-only wallet is, why you should get one and the risks involved in setting one up. Today, we would discuss how Windows users can create their own Bitcoin watch-only wallets. A procedure for setting up Bitcoin watch-only wallets for iPhone users and for Android users is also available.

There are two different types of Bitcoin wallet structures – deterministic and non-deterministic. We would be discussing how to set up Bitcoin watch-only wallets for both and would begin with deterministic wallets. If you are tracking particular addresses, follow the process for non-deterministic wallets.

Deterministic wallets

Get relevant wallet information

Step 1: Determine what kind of wallet you are using

Check if you are using a deterministic wallet. Hardware wallets such as Ledger or Trezor are deterministic wallets. If you have a non-deterministic wallet or only wish to track particular addresses, skip to the section below on non-deterministic wallets.

Step 2: Extract your Extended Public Key

The Extended Public Key determines the format of the wallet addresses you have. The table below provides a summary of various Extended Public Keys and their associated addresses.

Address TypeWallet TypeExtended Public KeyAddress Format
Legacy BitcoinLegacy walletXPUBBegins with 1
P2SH-P2WPKHSegWit walletYPUBBegins with 3
P2WPKHSegWit walletZPUBBegins with bc1

Thus, if your wallet address is 339xN86kVE2DosHZN9D6AnzkGA2KpMLHdQ, you should be obtaining a YPUB since your address begins with 3.

Ledger

L1. Plug in your device and access Ledger Live.

L2. Select the wrench icon in the top right-hand corner.

Selecting the wrench icon in Ledger Live

L3. Under the Advanced Logs section, you would see a long string of characters beginning with XPUB. This is your Extended Public Key.

Extracting XPUB from Ledger Live

Note: Ledger currently has an issue where the Extended Public Keys do not work properly. In other words, even though Ledger addresses begin with 3, the XPUB is shown instead of the YPUB. This is a known issue which Ledger is currently fixing. The workaround is to extract YPUB using Electrum as shown here.

Trezor

T1. Plug in your device and access Trezor Bridge.

T2. Click on the name of your device. After that, select Basic. Finally, select the Show XPUBs button.

Getting the XPUB from Trezor

Download and configure Electrum to track funds

Step 3: Download Electrum. After that, install and run it.

Download Electrum for Windows

Step 4: Select Auto connect.

Select auto connect in Electrum

Step 5: Give your wallet a name.

Name your wallet in Electrum

Step 6: Select Standard wallet.

Select Standard Wallet in Electrum

Step 7: Select Use a master key. While you can create a watch-only wallet with the Use a hardware device option, it requires you to connect your hardware device each time (assuming you want encryption of your wallet file as in Step 9 below) and is thus less convenient.

Select Use a master key in Electrum

Step 8: Enter the Extended Public Key which you extracted in Step 2.

Enter your extended public key in Electrum

Step 9: Enter a password to encrypt your wallet file.

Enter a password to encrypt your file in Electrum

Step 10: Your Bitcoin watch-only wallet is created.

You have created a bitcoin watch-only wallet for Windows with Electrum

Verify that your wallet works

Step 11: Go to the Addresses section and view the list of addresses. If the Addresses section is not showing, go to View > Show Addresses.

Go to the Addresses section in Electrum

Step 12: Verify that the first address shown in Step 11 is the same as the address shown in Ledger or Trezor. As an example, we have shown a screenshot below of our address in Ledger Live. This address matches that shown in Step 11. This step assumes you have not carried out any transactions in Ledger or Trezor. If you have done so, this verification can still be performed. However, the current address shown in Ledger or Trezor would not be the first address listed in the Address section of Electrum.

Getting receiving address in Ledger Live

Step 13: Check that the balance in your watch-only wallet agrees to your Ledger or Trezor balance. If you have yet to transfer funds to your wallets, you can send some funds to them and check that your watch-only wallet updates for them.

Step 14: Give yourself a pat on the back! Your Bitcoin watch-only wallet for Windows has been successfully created.

Non-Deterministic wallets Or tracking specific addresses

The process for setting up is similar to deterministic wallets. However, instead of importing the Extended Public Key, you would be importing addresses you wish to track.

Get relevant wallet information

Step 1: Extract the addresses you wish to import. For simplicity, we would import the address shown in our Ledger Live screenshot below.

339xN86kVE2DosHZN9D6AnzkGA2KpMLHdQ

Getting receiving address in Ledger Live

Download and configure Electrum to track funds

Step 2: Download Electrum. After that, install and run it.

Download Electrum for Windows

Step 3: Select Auto connect.

Select auto connect in Electrum

Step 4: Give your wallet a name.

Name your wallet in Electrum

Step 5: Select the last option Import Bitcoin addresses or private keys.

Import Bitcoin addresses in Electrum

Step 6: Enter your addresses.

Enter your address in Electrum

Step 7: Enter a password to encrypt your wallet file.

Encrypt your wallet file with password in Electrum

Step 8: Your wallet has been successfully created.

Successful wallet creation in Electrum

Verify that your wallet works

Step 9: Go to the Addresses section to ensure they show the addresses you entered in Step 6. If the Addresses section is not showing, go to View > Show Addresses.

Select the Addresses section in Electrum

Step 10:  Check that the balance in your watch-only wallet is correct. If you have yet to transfer funds to the addresses you track, you can send some funds to them and check that your watch-only wallet updates for them.

Step 12: Give yourself a pat on the back! Your Bitcoin watch-only wallet for Windows has been successfully created.

Conclusion

Did you like our method for creating Bitcoin watch-only wallets for Windows? Have another app or method to recommend us?

Let us know in the comments below!

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