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Author Topic: Questions about address derivation (old versions) – potentially lost a few BTC  (Read 144 times)
petamirovic
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May 26, 2019, 06:49:16 PM
Merited by bones261 (2), LoyceV (1)
 #1

TL;DR

is it possible that different addresses are generated from the same seed when using an older version of Electrum and the
restore wallet option with a custom hexadecimal seed?

So, the following happened:

I decided that it would be a very good idea to create a brain wallet and use it with Electrum. In the course of my research I found out how to achieve that using Electrum. This is how I remember setting up the wallet:

1) I start Electrum 2.7.9 or 3.0.0 (not sure) on my Live Tails OS
2) I go to File > New/Restore.
3) I choose to restore a standard wallet and that I already have a seed.
4) I open up a Terminal Window and convert my seed string into a hexadecimal number.

Example:

example seed: The bullet symbol may take any of a variety of shapes such as circular square diamon or arro typical
terminal command used:

Code:
echo -n "example seed" | od -A n -t x1 | sed 's/ *//g'
terminal output:

Code:
5468652062756c6c65742073796d626f
6c206d61792074616b6520616e79206f
6620612076617269657479206f662073
68617065732073756368206173206369
7263756c617220737175617265206469
616d6f6e206f72206172726f20747970
6963616c

5) I then copy the terminal output and paste it into the input field for the seed in Electrum. I delete all the newlines, click on options, check the box for "BIP39 seed" and hit "next".
6) When asked for the derivation path I did not change whatever the standard value was.

About three months later I tried restoring the wallet following the same procedure as described above and the addresses that were generated were different: FUCK

I did "login" (meaning restoring the wallet with the seed in this case) several times successfully. at least 5 times and two times 3 months apart. I am almost certain that I have the correct seed and the problem stems from something else. I suspect it to be either the conversion from string to hex or some kind of change concerning the Electrum seed system. Of course I also installed again the old versions 2.7.9 and 3.0.0 and tried my seed without success.

Can someone help me with this issue? Is there any reason out there that could explain different sets of addresses derived from the same seed in the scenario I described?

I know the easiest and most obvious explanation would of course be that I do not have the correct seed. That problem I already approached with generating millions of different seed variations and writing a program to check them. For that possibility I already invested a lot of time but did not find the solution. Now I am exploring other possible causes and hope to find something.

Every little hint or idea will be greatly appreciated!!!
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HCP
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May 27, 2019, 12:11:58 AM
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... I am almost certain that I have the correct seed and the problem stems from something else. I suspect it to be either the conversion from string to hex or some kind of change concerning the Electrum seed system.
Honestly, that is the most likely issue... Undecided Addtionally, there is no real way to "error check" your string to hex conversion. Does a given hex seed generate the same addresses in version 2.7.9/3.0.0 and the most recent version 3.3.6? If so, that would likely rule out any behind the scenes code changes and indicate that the seed itself is wrong.

Having said that, it is possible that it is simply a derivation path error... if the default "legacy" one (m/44'/0'/0') is not working, then common ones to try would be m/0 and m/0' but I'm fairly sure the derivation path for BIP39 seeds has not changed.

Maybe try asking your question on the Electrum "issues" register on GitHub... the devs are a lot more active there and might have better insight into whether derivation paths or BIP39 seed handling has changed.

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May 27, 2019, 08:24:36 AM
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I decided that it would be a very good idea to create a brain wallet and use it with Electrum. In the course of my research I found out how to achieve that using Electrum.

You made 2 mistakes.

1) Brain wallets are always bad. The entropy is way too low to not be guessable by a computer.

2) You probably have chosen the most error-prone way of generating a brain wallet in electrum.
What you should have done is to create a 'big random number' with your brain. For example with taking a sentence, words, whatever and hashing it to get a 128 bit number.
Then you'd encode this 128 bit number as a mnemonic code which is accepted by electrum.

This way you would have to memorize / backup your 12 word mnemonic code, which you can always use to derive your xpriv.
But using a random phrase, converting it to hex, deleting the new-lines and pasting that into electrum can easily go wrong (and it unfortunately did).


Since you already tried 'millions' of variations of your seed, i can't come up with an idea to recover your funds.
Checking the address type, as mentioned by HCP, is probably one of the last things you can try.

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May 27, 2019, 08:47:23 AM
 #4

Does a given hex seed generate the same addresses in version 2.7.9/3.0.0 and the most recent version 3.3.6? If so, that would likely rule out any behind the scenes code changes and indicate that the seed itself is wrong.
For the record... I actually just tested this...

I downloaded 2.7.9... created a wallet using BIP39 "seed" of: thiscouldbeanything
Then I created a wallet in 3.3.6 using the same BIP39 "seed": thiscouldbeanything

Both versions created identical wallets... this leads me to conclude that your issue is that you are either remembering your brainwallet phrase incorrectly... or you're doing the string to hex conversion differently (or it is producing a different result to what you previously used).

As I said earlier, my personal guess would be that you have the brainwallet phrase incorrect.

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May 27, 2019, 12:28:26 PM
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I suspect it to be either the conversion from string to hex or some kind of change concerning the Electrum seed system. Of course I also installed again the old versions 2.7.9 and 3.0.0 and tried my seed without success.

WTF man! You're not using the "Electrum seed system"! You came up with your own custom scheme and now are blaming electrum for it. Your system has no checksums in it like HCP pointed out. Any minor variation in the seed string or mistakes in copying the hex code could cause problems.
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May 27, 2019, 01:57:37 PM
Merited by HCP (2)
 #6

WTF man! You're not using the "Electrum seed system"! You came up with your own custom scheme and now are blaming electrum for it.


To be fair.. he didn't blame anyone.
He politely explained what the did and asked for ideas on what could have happened and how to recover his coins.

I don't see a single statement from him blaming electrum.
Whether there was a change in the 'seed system' (aka derivation) is a normal question. No blaming there.

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May 28, 2019, 12:38:12 PM
Merited by Pmalek (1)
 #7

example seed: The bullet symbol may take any of a variety of shapes such as circular square diamon or arro typical

In the same way you wrote here diamon instead of diamond and arro instead of arrow (intentionally or not), you may have a typo in your phrase, either now, either when you created the initial wallet.
Or you've ended/didn't end the phrase with a dot.

The conversion from string to hex stays the same unless you use(d) odd characters.

I'd think on what I could have done/typed wrong in the initial phrase.

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