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BIP 84 (Derivation Paths for Native Segwit)


Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) 84 defines the standard derivation path for wallets which generate native SegWit (P2WPKH) addresses. BIP 84 also defines the prefixes to be used with associated extended keys.

According to BIP 84, wallets which generate native SegWit addresses should use a derivation path beginning with “m/84’/”. This means the first address generated by a mainnet Bitcoin wallet will have a derivation path of “m/84’/0’/0’/0/0”.

In addition, BIP 84 states that all wallets which use native SegWit on mainnet should use “zpub” or “zprv” prefixes for extended public and private keys respectively. Extended keys following the BIP 84 standard are thus called zpubs and zprvs respectively. If the wallet is a [testnet](/learn/terms/t/testnet/ wallet, “vpub” and “vprv” prefixes are used instead.

This standard was implemented to ensure that Hierarchical Deterministic (HD) wallets, as defined in BIP 32, can import extended keys and find the bitcoin stored on that wallet.

The HD wallet scheme defines a method for deriving a practically unlimited number of public and private keys from a single extended key. However, if an extended key is imported to a wallet with no guidance, it may be hard for the wallet to find the keys with bitcoin, a requirement for displaying the correct balance to the user.

The standards set by BIP 84, along with BIP 44 and BIP 49, fix this problem. When a wallet imports an extended key, the prefix indicates exactly which derivation path to use to find bitcoin and derive new addresses.