Wallet restore with recovery words

This guide explains how to restore a cryptocurrency wallet from a set of recovery words, using the Bitcoin standard BIP39 (Mnemonic code for generating deterministic keys).

What are these recovery words?

You have a backup card containing 24 recovery words, which are the backup of a cryptocurrency wallet. These words allow you to restore all cryptocurrency holdings and transactions of the corresponding wallet.

This backup card contains concise instructions how the backup has been created. Additional details are available at shiftcrypto.support/backup.

What precautions should I take?

This information is highly confidential. Anyone who knows these recovery words has full control over all the funds secured in this wallet.

It is very important that this secret is not stored in digital form, as computer malware or a malicious smartphone app could easily gain access to it and steal your funds.

  • Make sure you're in a private environment, don't let anyone else see your recovery words and don't spell them out loud.
  • Never enter your recovery words on a computer.
  • Don't take a digital picture, especially not with your smartphone.
  • Don't create an online backup, like in a key manager or a cloud service.
  • Don't make a photocopy, as all modern copy machines are digital and store copies.

How do I recover the backup?

It is highly recommended to use a hardware wallet like the BitBox02 to recover your backup. Hardware wallets are built to keep your private keys offline, even when you use them with a laptop or a mobile phone. This way, even if your networked device is infected with malware or runs a malicious app, your funds stay safe.

It is possible to recover the backup to a software wallet too, but you should do so only if you know that the wallet secures just a small amount of funds, or in an emergency situation.

Read more here: Why should I use a hardware wallet to keep my Bitcoin safe?

How do I restore this backup?

All the precautions listed above are the hard part. Actually restoring the backup is quite easy. We describe the process using the BitBox02, see further down for instructions for other vendors.

  1. Start with an uninitialized BitBox02: either buy a new one, or factory reset one you already have. (see guide for more info)
  2. Install the BitBoxApp from bitbox.swiss/download
  3. Connect it to your computer or Android phone and open the BitBoxApp
  4. Pair the BitBox02 to your computer: verify the Pairing Code, and if it matches confirm on both the BitBox02 and the BitBoxApp
  5. On the "Setup your BitBox02" screen, choose "Restore from mnemonic"
  6. Enter the recovery words in the right order directly on the BitBox02
  7. Choose a device password to protect this BitBox02
  8. Backup Restored!

In case an optional passphrase has been used to additionally protect the backup, you need to enable and enter it on the BitBox02 as well. Please read about what an optional passphrase is, and how you can enable it in our BitBox guide: Optional passphrase.

Instructions for other commonly used hardware wallets here: Trezor, Ledger, Coldcard.

I have recovered the backup. Now what?

You have successfully recovered your backup, congratulations!

If you are sure that nobody else had access to the backup card, you can simply reseal and store the card in a safe place again.

If you're not sure whether someone else has had access to it, the security of the backup can no longer be guaranteed. You should set up a new wallet and move your funds to this new wallet immediately. Once the funds have been transferred, the old backup card becomes useless.

For situations like this, we recommend to have a spare BitBox02 at hand.

I need more backup cards

You can order additional backup cards individually, or in a set of three from our shop.

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