Losing a phone or hardware wallet containing cryptocurrency is inconvenient, but it shouldn’t be fatal. Provided you’ve backed up your private key, recovering your coins is a simple exercise. Should you find yourself in such a predicament, however, there’s a few things you should know before reaching for your wallet recovery phrase.
Recover Your Wallet the Right Way
If you’re smart enough to store your bitcoin in a noncustodial wallet, you’re smart enough to make a backup. Whether you’re using a desktop, mobile, or hardware wallet, the process is much the same: look out the seed phrase you’ve stashed in a safe place for this very scenario and enter it into your replacement wallet. All going to plan, you’ll see your balance restored and your coins reappear in your wallet within seconds of importing your seed.
There are a few exceptions to this rule, however, as not all wallets rely on a seed phrase to restore access. Hashwallet generates a unique recovery key and recovery seed during setup of the smartcard device. When combined, these components can be used to regain access to the funds stored on the wallet, and must be stored separately for security reasons. Once the recovery key and recovery seed have been securely stored, they are permanently deleted from the smartcard.
In the event of wallet loss, the user can retrieve and combine these security elements, whereupon their new Hashwallet will generate the keys required to access the funds. Zengo is another wallet that deploys a keyless design. For the remainder of this guide, though, we’ll focus on conventional noncustodial wallets that utilize a seed phrase.