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What do I do if my hardware wallet is broken?

Acquire a replacement and restore your seed phrase.

Warning: The following steps impact the keys securing your bitcoin, and missteps can result in permanent loss of funds. If you'd like to speak one-on-one with a bitcoin expert to walk through this process, purchase a Premium Support session.

As frustrating as it may be, hardware wallets don’t last forever, and despite your best efforts to keep them in a safe place, replacing a device may be necessary at some point.

Similar to a forgotten PIN, a broken hardware wallet requires restoring your existing seed phrase to another compatible device.

1. Retrieve the seed phrase for the respective hardware wallet.

First, retrieve the corresponding seed phrase backup for the hardware wallet. If you followed operational security best practices for your vault, it should be in a secure, secondary physical location.  

2. Obtain a new Trezor, Ledger, or Coldcard.

If your hardware wallet is broken, you will most likely need to purchase a replacement. It's generally best to purchase devices directly from the manufacturer. See the full list of hardware wallets that Unchained supports

Optional: Factory reset an unused hardware wallet.

If you have an old hardware wallet (ensure it is unused and non-compromised before proceeding) that you want to replace the broken device with, you can follow the manufacturer's respective instructions to perform a factory reset.

3. Initialize the new hardware wallet using your existing seed phrase

Next, initialize the brand new (or newly-reset) device by restoring the seed phrase backup your retrieved in the first step.

Follow the instructions from the corresponding manufacturer:

4. Ensure you can sign with your recovered key

Check that your key can sign again in the Unchained platform. See our video guide or follow the steps below.

  1. Sign in to your Unchained account.
  2. Navigate to the Keys page to see a full list of keys and their status.
  3. Click View for the key that was restored into the new device.
  4. Click Check Now.
  5. Choose the proper hardware wallet manufacturer, and follow the prompts to export your public key.
  6. You should see Success! You’re done.

If your key check does not proceed successfully, we strongly encourage you to reach out to us via Premium Support.

5. Destroy the old hardware wallet

Physically destroy the old, broken hardware wallet. Dispose of the device according to your local electronics disposal recommendations.

6. Securely store your new hardware wallet

Following operational security best practices, you should securely store the new hardware wallet.