Welcome to our Quick Bit series, where we provide you with quick and easy tips that explain one specific feature of our products and services. In this Quick Bit, we will discuss what and how to use bitcoin watch-only addresses.
In its simplest form, a bitcoin watch-only address allows you to monitor the balance and transaction activity at a specific address, but does not allow you to spend the bitcoins.
Only the owner of the corresponding bitcoin address’ private key can spend those funds. By watching the address, you have read-only permissions.Blockchain has a built-in feature that allows users to add bitcoin watch-only addresses to your wallet. This gives you the option to watch addresses you are interested in, without having the permissions to spend the bitcoins in the address. To add a bitcoin watch-only address, log in to your [Blockchain Wallet](https://blockchain.info/wallet). Click on the *Import / Export* button and enter in the bitcoin address you want to watch into the field. Click the* Add Watch Only Address* button to add it to your wallet.
To monitor the address, click on Receive Money, and the watch-only address will be listed in your wallet address list, in red text.
Why is this useful?
The transparency of Bitcoin’s public ledger, the blockchain, is by far one of the most revolutionary benefits in the history of finance. If you know a particular bitcoin address, this means you can look it up on the blockchain to monitor payments received and payments sent.
This especially comes in handy to ensure a payment has been received by a friend, to keep track of cold storage addresses or even to review the financial records of a charity.
As an example, let’s look at BitGive, a charitable organization that runs several humanitarian relief campaigns. If we look up their donation address on Blockchain.info, we can see their entire history of payments received and sent at their donation address.
In a situation where we wanted to make sure our donation had been received or know the total number of donations they have received at that address, we could easily look that up. This also makes it easier for charities to share this information with the public, because of the simplicity in sharing a link.
By adding their public bitcoin address (1PEoUKNxTZsc5rFSQvQjeTVwDE9vEDCRWm) as a watch-only address, you can then view and monitor the address from the Receive Money tab, without having to look the address up on Blockchain.info each time.
*If you need more information on how to read bitcoin addresses and transactional information in our block explorer, please read our tutorial. *
More information on the Import / Export function and watch-only addresses can be found here.
Do you have an idea for a Blockchain Quick Bit? Reach out to us on Twitter or comment in the box below!