Crypto currency

why does my bitcoin wallet not access funds in my coinbase portfolio?

I tried Bitcoin wallet …

There are many different Bitcoin wallets and the answer may depend on exactly which one you are using. For example there is “Bitcoin Wallet” for Android phones which is sometimes known as the Schildbach wallet. There is also Bitcoin Core for PCs and many others.

… but it only accesses the active Bitcoin, not the funds in my portfolio.

A typical Bitcoin wallet such as Bitcoin core or Electrum gives you exclusive personal control over some money. These are what is called non-custodial wallets – there is no third-party custodian who has custody of your money.

Coinbase accounts are custodial. So far as the Bitcoin network is concerned, Coinbase own money in coinbase accounts, not you.

Ownership of money in the Bitcoin network is determined by who holds the secret numbers known as private-keys. Money is associated with a private key. If a wallet doesn’t have the private key for some money, then that wallet cannot access that money to spend it.

If it helps, imagine having bank accounts at two different banks. Your bank-statement from one bank won’t include any money in the other bank. You cannot instruct one bank to send someone money that is in the other bank. Bitcoin doesn’t work like banks but it does have separation of control where there are several private keys in use.


How do I recover the portfolio money?

You can, for example, get your non-custodial wallet to display an address to “receive bitcoin”. Then log in to coinbase and use it’s facilities to pay money to (or withdraw money to) that address.

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