Importing and sweeping are different processes for managing access to your cryptocurrency.
Importing a private key into your wallet is basically you adding that particular private key to the
already existing keys in your wallet. The software will recognise the key balance and add the total to your available amount.
Sweeping your key is a different process and is usually only iin relation to Bitcoin paper wallets. The best piece of advice I can give you is if you are sending from a paper wallet is to always sweep your private keys. When you import a private key into a deterministic (software) wallet such as Exodus you are actually only duplicating the private key. So your paper wallet is still able to be used to access the account. Whereas if you sweep a private key into a deterministic wallet, your paper wallet is no longer applicable as the sweeping process creates a new public/private key in your software wallet. This is recommended as it is poor practice to have multiple points of access for one bitcoin private key.
It is recommended you sweep your wallet if:
- If you cannot secure your paper wallet
- If you want to destroy your paper wallet and keep your funds on a software wallet
- you believe someone has gained access to your paper wallet private key