I'm looking at the difference between bitcoin and Ethereum wallets, and I'm confused about this part:

It seems that a bitcoin wallet can have multiple receiver addresses: In my mind this translates to multiple public keys for a single "wallet" private key (which might be an incorrect assumption).

However, in Ethereum it seems there is a strict limit of one address per private key. Since both use secp256k1, I wonder how this different behaviour is implemented.


2 Answers 2


I am backing up a single private key in the metamask application but I can restore all the wallets I created in the application.

With a generic wallet backup, it means that all accounts in that wallet are accessed.

  • That's with the seed phrase, not the private key. You can derive multiple private keys (and therefore multiple addresses) from a single seed phrase.
    – Foxxxey
    Sep 1, 2022 at 9:15

You are correct that in Ethereum one private key corresponds to exactly one public key and public address.

Even if the underlying cryptography is very similar (same curves etc), the used wallet creation (and utilization) logic is quite different - as was already pointed out in comments.

Most wallets support also mnemonics, which are 12 (or 24) words from which multiple private keys can be derived. So one mnemonic results in lots of different private keys.

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