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Author Topic: My 12 word seed phrase is not working on my ledger, it is getting `invalid`  (Read 299 times)
bitmanbitman
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March 20, 2019, 02:50:50 AM
Merited by o_e_l_e_o (1)
 #1

Hi,

My 12 word seed phrase is not working on my ledger, it is getting `invalid recovery phrase`. Here’s what I did:

1. I wrote it down and didn’t touch it for the two years ( 2 years ago I also tested it after writing it, and it worked)
2. I tried to enter it into my nano ledger s today and it said `invalid`

Most likely, I have messy writing, and I wrote down a word that looks wrong. However, I tried many manual iterations of the ugly words, and it still hasn’t panned out, so I’m slightly worried.

I’m hoping this script can find the real seed - https://github.com/gurnec/btcrecover/blob/master/docs/Seedrecover_Quick_Start_Guide.md#running-seedrecoverpy

But if that script doesn’t work, I am wondering if anyone can help me figure out what my worst case scenario is. For example, here is what it could take to brute force two separate problems:

- Wrong order - 12! = 479,001,600 tries
- 3 unknown words - 2048^3 = 8,589,934,592 tries (my case shouldn’t be as bad since they aren’t unknown

Does anyone know how long it will take for a high priced laptop to do this many iterations? I assume only a few hours but I’m not well versed in how fast computers are at this.

I think my worst case scenario is a combination of wrong order and ambiguously written words. To me, it seems that it should be brute forceable. I’m hoping to be reassured by someone who is more of an expert in this domain that my seed is recoverable, and that it might just take some time.

Thanks
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bones261
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March 20, 2019, 03:05:03 AM
Merited by suchmoon (9), BitMaxz (2), HeRetiK (1), YOSHIE (1)
 #2

I suspect at least one of your words does not appear on the bip 39 list. A first step is to make sure each of the words you are using is on the list. Here is a link to the english list.

https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/bip-0039/english.txt

Other languages can be found here.

https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/bip-0039/bip-0039-wordlists.md
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March 20, 2019, 09:22:30 AM
 #3

Sorry for going a bit off topic but does Ledger generate 12 word seed phrases as well? I don't remember seeing an option for a 12 word seed phrase, only 24 words were offered when I created my wallet.

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March 20, 2019, 10:12:48 AM
 #4

Sorry for going a bit off topic but does Ledger generate 12 word seed phrases as well? I don't remember seeing an option for a 12 word seed phrase, only 24 words were offered when I created my wallet.
The Ledger Nano S and X will both only generate 24 word seed phrases, although when restoring to them with a pre-existing seed, you can use 12, 18, or 24 word phrases - they prompt you to select the number of words in your seed phrase. The original Ledger Nano accepts 24 word phrases only. OP doesn't state that the 12 words were generated from a Ledger device (which is not possible, as they all generate 24 word phrases), just that he is trying to recover them to a Ledger device.


@bitmanbitman - bones261's advice is the best place to start - manually compare your written down seed with the BIP39 word list for any obvious spelling mistakes. If you still are having no luck after that, then I would probably take a look at this program as the next step: https://github.com/gurnec/btcrecover/blob/master/docs/Seedrecover_Quick_Start_Guide.md





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March 20, 2019, 11:20:26 AM
 #5

 
I suspect at least one of your words does not appear on the bip 39 list. A first step is to make sure each of the words you are using is on the list. Here is a link to the english list.

https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/bip-0039/english.txt

Other languages can be found here.

https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/bip-0039/bip-0039-wordlists.md

Not all 12 words combinations are valid. In fact, I believe most of them are not.

You can test by yourself at iancoleman.io/bip39

If you write "word" 12x it is a  valid combination, but most of words are not.

So probably the op misplaced some words. Ledger nano won't even accept an invalid word.

I would try to change the order of your 12 words. Maybe you wrote something like:
Word dog house
Raccoon car dog
...

But the correct order is word raccoon dog car house dog (from top to bottom, or something like that)

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bitmanbitman
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March 20, 2019, 11:56:56 AM
 #6

Ledger actually now forces you to only enter BIP39 words, I remember in the past they used to let you type each word in by each letter, but now they let you choose letters, and then show you words that match your letter choices.

All of my written words do appear in the BIP39 words, so I must have written them down messy, and now they don't look right.

Also yes, this seed wasn't generated by a nano ledger, I am just trying to recover it on this.
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March 20, 2019, 02:22:35 PM
Last edit: March 20, 2019, 04:01:41 PM by o_e_l_e_o
 #7

You can test by yourself at iancoleman.io/bip39
You definitely should not type your seed phrase in to a website. If you want to use this service, download it from GitHub and run it offline, preferably on a computer which will never touch the internet.


All of my written words do appear in the BIP39 words, so I must have written them down messy, and now they don't look right.
There are many words which look very similar to other ones, such as air/aim/arm, boil/coil/foil/oil, boy/joy/toy, etc. Whichever ones you think might be misspelled, try making lists of possible alternatives and try every combination. Also make sure you are trying them in the right order as bitmover has said. If all that fails, look again at https://github.com/gurnec/btcrecover/blob/master/docs/Seedrecover_Quick_Start_Guide.md. Again, run it offline, preferably on a computer which will never touch the internet.

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March 20, 2019, 03:32:27 PM
Merited by o_e_l_e_o (1)
 #8

Also yes, this seed wasn't generated by a nano ledger, I am just trying to recover it on this.

Was it generated on Electrum?

Electrum uses a different encoding and does not use bip39.

Try to recover it on Electrum, you may be successful.

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★.★.★   8 GAMES   ★   WAGERING CONTEST   ★   JACKPOTS   ★   FAUCET   ★.★.★
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March 20, 2019, 04:08:25 PM
 #9

He previously stated he managed to restore the seed successfully, which I assumed meant on his Ledger, so I also assumed it is therefore BIP39 compatible. If the seed did not come from another hardware wallet, but instead from a software wallet which has been on a device with internet access, then your Ledger Nano will not be a secure as it would be otherwise. A better idea would instead be to initialize the hardware wallet from scratch and transfer your funds under a new, secure seed.

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March 21, 2019, 12:44:32 AM
 #10

I'm going to dig into that seed recover script, and hopefully something comes out of it. I might ask back in here for help if I get stuck!
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March 21, 2019, 02:00:35 AM
Merited by bones261 (2), Pmalek (1)
 #11

Also yes, this seed wasn't generated by a nano ledger, I am just trying to recover it on this.
I'm going to dig into that seed recover script, and hopefully something comes out of it. I might ask back in here for help if I get stuck!
What wallet was it generated on? Huh

If it wasn't generated on a BIP39 compatible wallet (for instance, Electrum generated seed), then the seed recover script won't be able to recover it, as the script only works with BIP39 compatible wallet seeds.


All of my written words do appear in the BIP39 words, so I must have written them down messy, and now they don't look right.
If all of your written words do appear in the BIP39 wordlist, but it says "invalid", then I suspect you might actually have an Electrum seed... it uses the same BIP39 wordlist, but has a different method for generating seed mnemonics and most Electrum seeds will show as "invalid" when put into a BIP39 wallet (like Ledger).


The only other option, is that you accidentally wrote down a similar word from the list. If that is the case, the seed recovery script should find the error pretty quick as long as you have a known BTC address to search for.

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March 21, 2019, 02:19:05 AM
Last edit: March 21, 2019, 10:07:05 AM by nc50lc
Merited by bones261 (2)
 #12

I was hesitant to post my written reply yesterday about the SEED not compatible/generated by Ledger since I don't own a ledger Hardware wallet.
But based on his reply, I guess I'm partly right.

Here's some parts of it:
Ledger generates 24-word SEED by default, any of the two will always be invalid if used alone or...
it wasn't generated by that device in the first place.

TypoEdit->TWhat bugged me now is his btcrecover log that says "3 unknown words" while Electrum's SEED still uses BIP39 SEED words.
Must be a typo, at least.

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March 23, 2019, 09:08:19 AM
Merited by bones261 (2)
 #13

What bugged me now is his btcrecover log that says "3 unknown words" while Electrum's SEED still uses BIP39 SEED words.
What btcrecover log? There is no btcrecover log...

OP was simply questioning what the worst case scenario would be for trying to recover his seed, based on the fact that "12 words with incorrect order = X possibilities"... and "3 missing words = Y possibilities"... As I understand it, that doesn't mean OP thinks they are actually missing 3 words, just that with 3 missing words, they'd need to check 8,589,934,592 tries.

They even stated:
my case shouldn’t be as bad since they aren’t unknown


They have 12 words... but ledger isn't accepting it... OP has stated it wasn't a ledger seed to begin with. In my opinion, the most likely reasons are:

#1. It isn't a "valid" BIP39 seed (ie. bad checksum due to writing down a "similar" BIP39 word from what the original word was... ie. kit instead of kite etc)
#2. It was never a BIP39 seed to begin with (ie. it is was an Electrum seed, hence why ledger says invalid)

- btcrecover should be able to identify and correct for #1 in a fairly reasonable amount of time (assuming that OP has a known bitcoin address or xpub to test against)
- Electrum (or [ur=https://github.com/FarCanary/ElectrumSeedTester]the Electrum Seed Tester[/url]) should be able to identify #2 instantly.

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March 25, 2019, 09:40:17 PM
 #14

Hey guys, I'm test running (with empty wallet seeds I purposely put errors in, before I take the REAL test on an offline computer) the seed recover script, it seems like it is working, but I don't know how to get the results.

First I ran the exact seed and it basically did nothing and said 0 of ~4000 tries.

Then I changed one word and it appeared to finish at 32 out of ~4000 tries

then I changed two words, it went through Phase 1( up to 2 mistakes, excluding entirely different seed words), 4351/4351 and no seed found.

then phase 2 (1 mistake which can be an entirely different seed word) - 24576 / 24576 0 no seed found

Then phase 3 - (up to 2 mistakes, 1 of which can be an entirely different seed word) - at 1,184,440 of 2,225,816 it stopped, indicating it found it.

My only problem is, I don't know how to recover the answer! I assume it must be storing it somewhere secretly on my computer, so that it doesn't just console.log the answer since that wouldn't be super safe.

Can anyone help with this? I read through the seed recover docs, and I couldn't figure out how to get it.

Thanks,
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March 26, 2019, 01:25:25 AM
 #15

It seems like when it finds the password, there is supposed to be a small GUI window that pops up, but I don't get that  Undecided
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March 26, 2019, 03:06:30 AM
 #16

Yeah there seems to be an issue with the GUI popping up on my screen, which shows the correct seed.

I just added a line to print in the console the phrase, and it worked.

Is it less secure because it is in my terminal now? i.e. does it get saved in bash history or log history or something?
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March 27, 2019, 02:07:59 AM
 #17

yep, wrote one word down wrong. the script found the fix in about 2 seconds!

thanks for all the help!
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