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What do I do if I forgot my passphrase?

We don't recommend passphrases for Unchained vault keys. If you set one and forgot it, you can still recover your bitcoin with a key replacement.

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.

Passphrases are a double-edged sword; they may provide some extra security by obfuscating the seed phrase but are often a problematic single point of failure in singlesig wallets. There is no way to recover or reset a lost or forgotten passphrase.

We do not recommend using passphrases for multisig wallets, but if you decided to use one for one of the keys in your multisig setup and can no longer remember it, you can still recover your funds and move them to a new setup with a new key that does not have a passphrase . 

Note: A passphrase and a PIN are different. A PIN is commonly used to protect hardware wallets with or without a passphrase. A PIN protects access to the hardware wallet; it does not protect or change the seed phrase as a passphrase does. If you forgot your PIN, follow our instructions for dealing with that issue.

1. Acquire or reset a replacement hardware wallet.

If you forgot your passphrase, the best thing to do is purchase a replacement hardware wallet in order to generate a new key to perform a key replacement on the Unchained platform. It's generally best to purchase hardware 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 use for replacing the compromised key, you can follow the manufacturer's respective instructions to perform a factory reset.

2. Initialize the hardware wallet as new or restore seed phrase

Next, initialize the brand new (or newly-reset) hardware wallet. This generates a new seed phrase which generates the public key that you will upload to the Unchained platform.

Follow the guide from the manufacturer to set up the hardware wallet as new:

Optional: Restore the same seed phrase for this key

Importantly, the 24-word seed phrase backup you made for this key, if you have it, is still valid.  This will export a different private key without the passphrase, but. you can still use the original seed phrase by itself in place of the key derived from the seed phrase with its passphrase. 

If you wish to restore the seed phrase rather than generate a new key entirely, follow the instructions from the corresponding manufacturer:

3. Conduct a key replacement

Follow our step-by-step guide to replace your key. It may help to open the guide in another browser tab while you perform the key replacement. Please contact us if you need any help with these steps.