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What to do if your Hardware Wallet is Lost, Stolen, or Damaged

What to do if your Hardware Wallet is Lost, Stolen, or Damaged

This article provides step by step instructions on how to recover your cryptoassets if your Trezor Model T, Trezor One, or Ledger Nano S hardware wallet is lost, stolen or damaged.

If your hardware wallet is lost, stolen or damaged, you can easily and securely recover all of your cryptoassets, as long as you have access to the 12, 18 or 24 word recovery seed. 

All of your cryptocurrency is actually stored on the collective Blockchain network. The hardware wallet stores the recovery seed that you backup offline, on paper or on cryptosteel.

If you no longer have access to your hardware wallet, you can import the recovery seed into another wallet and you will regain access to all of your accounts, balances and transaction data.

If your device is damaged and you still have access to it, then there is no risk of the recovery seed being compromised. Ledger and Trezor products come with warranties and you should be able to get a free replacement, especially if you purchase from an Authorized Retailer.

In this case, you can just recover your cryptoassets by importing the recovery seed into the replacement hardware wallet.

When your hardware wallet is lost or stolen, you have two main options.

  • Wait until you get a new hardware wallet to recover your cryptoassets.
  • Immediately import your 12 word seed into a software wallet(s) and recover your assets using the software wallet(s).

There is a low risk that if your device is lost or stolen, an experienced hacker with engineering skills who has access to the physical device could extract the recovery seed.

If your Trezor Model T was lost, or stolen by a random person not specifically targeting your cryptoassets, then the chances are low that an expert hacker will be able to get their hands on the device and extract the 12 word seed from the microchip before you can send your assets to a new recovery seed.

Note: Even though this risk is low, you can eliminate it by purchasing an extra hardware wallet. This way, if one of your devices is lost, stolen or damaged, you can immediately recover your cryptoassets on another hardware wallet. You can recover many of the same cryptoassets with both Trezor and Ledger hardware wallets.

However, if you are concerned about the risk of a hacker getting their hands on your device, and you only have one hardware wallet, you can import your recovery word seed into a compatible software wallet and send your assets to a wallet with a different recovery seed.

Make sure the software wallet is compatible with the coins that you are sending. Exodus and Jaxx are good software wallets that support a variety of cryptocurrencies.

Usually it is safe to wait for a new hardware wallet to recover your crypto assets. At The Crypto Merchant we offer overnight as well as 2 day express shipping on verified secure hardware wallets

Once you get a new hardware wallet, it is recommended that you eliminate the risk of your recovery seed being compromised by first recovering your assets with your original recovery seed, and then sending your assets to a new recovery seed.

You can do this even if you only have access to one hardware wallet. Below are step by step instructions on how to complete this process with the Trezor Model T, Trezor One or Ledger Nano S.

Trezor Model T or Trezor One:

  • Setup the wallet with a new word seed. Go to https://trezor.io/start/. Plug in your device and select "Create a new wallet."

 

  • Securely backup the new word seed offline.
  • Copy down all of the public addresses for the coins that you are using. You can just copy and paste them into a text document. Each coin has their own unique public addresses. However, the ERC20 tokens all share Ethereum addresses. To copy the public addresses for each coin, click on receive and then confirm the action on your device. The address will then be available to copy. 


 

  • Wipe the device. Click on the name of your device -> advanced -> scroll down and wipe device. 



  • Recover the Trezor with the word seed that is on the lost device. Disconnect and Reconnect the Trezor. Go to  https://trezor.io/start/.  Click "Recover wallet."

  • Follow the steps and import the recovery seed that was on your lost device.
  • You will now have access to all of your cryptoassets, balances and transaction data.
  • Send all of your crypto assets to the public addresses that you copied into the text document (This will send all of your cryptoassets to the new word seed that you created).



  • Wipe the device.
  • Recover the Trezor with the new word seed. Click "Recover wallet,” but this time, import the new word seed.
    You will now have all of your cryptoassets on a new Trezor Model T with a new and secure word seed.

Ledger Nano S:

  • Reset Ledger Live. Open Ledger Live and click on settings (the gear icon in the top right). Then “help” and scroll down and click “Reset.”

  • Setup your new Ledger Nano S with a new word seed. Plug in your Ledger Nano S, open Ledger Live and click on “Initialize as new device.”

    • Securely backup the new word seed offline.
    • Copy down all of the public addresses for the coins that you are using. You can just copy and paste them into a text document. Each coin has their own unique public addresses. However, the ERC20 tokens all share Ethereum addresses. To copy the public addresses for each coin, click on receive and then confirm the action on your device. The address will then be available to copy.

    • Reset your Ledger Nano S. On the Ledger Nano S, go to Settings -> Device -> Reset All. (If you lost your PIN code, you can reset your device by entering in three failed PIN attempts).
    • Reset Ledger Live.
    • Recover the Ledger Nano S with the word seed that is on the lost device. In Ledger Live, click on “Restore device from recovery phrase.”

    • Follow the steps and import the recovery seed that was on your lost device.
    • You will now have access to all of your cryptoassets, balances and transaction data.
    • Send all of your crypto assets to the public addresses that you copied into the text document (This will send all of your crypto assets to the new word seed that you created).

    • Reset the Ledger Nano.
    • Reset Ledger Live.
    • Recover the Ledger Nano S with the new word seed. Select “Restore device from recovery phrase” but this time, import the new word seed.
      You will now have all of your cryptoassets on a new Ledger Nano S with a new and secure word seed.

    You now have all the necessary steps to recover your cryptoassets safely in the unfortunate event that your hardware wallet is lost, stolen or damaged. In order to complete this process, you must have access to your recovery seed. This is why securing the backup copy of your recovery seed is the highest priority of hardware wallet security.

    Always remember to keep your recovery seed offline, secure and accessible. As long as you do this, you can rest assured that your crypto assets are protected and retrievable at any time.



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