Migrate from Ledger or Trezor to COLDCARD
Level-up your cold storage and migrate to COLDCARD®!
This tutorial takes a wallet seed generated by a Ledger or Trezor hardware wallet (origin wallet) and saves it to an empty COLDCARD (destination).
Depending on your device, or who you talk to, your wallet's seed words may be called a recovery phrase, recovery seed, seed phrase, mnemonic, backup phrase, etc. That list of seed words is what you'll transfer to your COLDCARD.
Altcoins Not Supported
COLDCARD does not support altcoins. If you have used your hardware wallet seed for altcoins, you must determine how to secure any altcoin accounts/funds associated with the seed you migrate.
What Doesn't Migrate#
Because you enter the seed directly on the COLDCARD, the only origin wallet information your COLDCARD holds after migration is the list of seed words the origin wallet generated.
Seed migration does not include:
- Altcoin account information
- Origin wallet's PIN
- Passphrases (if applicable)
- Custom or non-standard derivation paths (if applicable)
- Origin wallet's name
You should have working knowledge of:
- Your origin wallet
- Any app your origin wallet uses (e.g., Trezor Suite or Ledger Live)
- Desktop or mobile wallet apps
What You'll Need#
A Safe Place and Plenty of Time#
Make sure you have a secure area where you can work alone and uninterrupted whenever your seed words are viewable. Do not let other people or any cameras see your seed words. Your seed words are the most important information about your wallet — anyone who has your seed words can take your Bitcoin.
Although the process is not complicated, allow yourself enough time so you don't rush. This is especially important when entering the seed words since you probably have 24 of them.
Origin Wallet Items and Info#
- The seed words (paper backup, metal backup plate, etc.)
- Passphrase(s) you have used with the seed you're transferring
- Your Bitcoin balance(s)
- Your receive addresses
Optional, but helpful items in case you run into a problem:
- The origin hardware wallet
- USB cables for power and device communication (usually Micro USB or USB-C)
- A computer or mobile phone running the origin wallet's app
Destination COLDCARD Items#
- An empty COLDCARD with no seed set
- A USB-connected power source (Mk3 = Micro USB, Mk4 = USB-C), such as:
- Electrum or your preferred Electrum
- A microSD card, 32 GB maximum capacity (Industrial Grade preferred)
What You'll Do#
Before You Start#
Check Your COLDCARD#
Make sure the COLDCARD you are using does not have a seed set. This can be a new COLDCARD you just purchased, or a COLDCARD of yours where you have destroyed the seed. Do not migrate your seed to a previously-owned or previously-used COLDCARD with an unknown history.
An empty COLDCARD displays a Main Menu with the following choices after signing in:
- New Wallet
- Import Existing
Main Menu options change once a COLDCARD's seed is set.
If you have a brand new COLDCARD with no PIN set, please follow our Quickstart Guide through the Initial PIN section, and return to this tutorial once you reach the New Wallet or Import section. Do not pick a new seed words.
Check Your Seed Word List#
Your list should be 12, 18, or 24 words in length. If not, there is a mistake. Double-check your source. We cannot provide support for this issue.
If you have a Ledger device, you may be able to run their Recovery Check app to help figure out the error.
If you have a Trezor device, you may try running Check Backup on their app, or Advanced Recovery to help figure out the error.
If cannot figure out the mistake, but you can still access the device and make transactions, create a new wallet with your COLDCARD and send your Bitcoin to your new wallet.
Without access to the correct seed word list or a way to complete transactions with the origin wallet, you cannot recover your Bitcoin.
Enter Your Seed Words#
- Connect your COLDCARD to power and enter your PIN.
- Choose the correct number of words for your list.
- Use the number keys with arrows (5 = Up, 8 = Down, 7 = Page Up,
9 = Page Down) to select the first letter of Word 1 and continue making
selections to narrow down the options until you are able to select the
- Example: Your word is keen. Page down until the screen displays
k-. You will see
kee-and other words beginning with K. Select
kee-. The only two remaining words are
keenand your word is entered. Your COLDCARD returns to the alphabetical list and should see Word 2 in the upper right corner.
- Example: Your word is keen. Page down until the screen displays
- Repeat the process from the previous step to enter all but the final word of your word list.
- Select the final word of your list from the options given. Your COLDCARD calculates the possible options based on the previous words entered.
- Wait for your COLDCARD to reboot and enter your PIN.
The seed is now set.
Passphrases are not passwords. Applying a passphrase to a wallet seed creates an entirely new wallet and does not affect the default/standard wallet. If you have Bitcoin in your default (no passphrase) wallet and Bitcoin in a wallet with a passphrase, follow the instructions on entering a passphrase and perform separate verifications for each wallet.
Any passphrase(s) you used previously may be applied once the seed is set. Remember to apply the passphrase before trying to interact with a passphrase wallet.
You can use the Address Explorer and a watch-only wallet to verify the correct derivation path for receive addresses is in effect. If you have access to the origin hardware wallet's app, you should be able to view used receive addresses, or create a new one and compare what the app displays with what is shown in the Address Explorer.
Currently, both Ledger and Trezor use
bc1q addresses as defaults. Due to
differences in terminology, referring to address types by their beginning
characters helps reduce confusion.
For your reference, we provide a table containing address information according to the hardware vendor.
|Wallet Maker||Address Type (Maker's Terms)||Begins With||Derivation Path||Also Called (in Maker's Docs)|
||BIP-84, P2WPKH, Bech32|
||BIP-86, P2TR, Bech32m|
||BIP-49, P2SH-P2WPKH, Base58|
||BIP-44, P2PKH, Base58|
Check Receive Addresses with Address Explorer#
Address Explorer calculates and displays receive addresses for the three most common address types:
1, or Legacy addresses
3, or Wrapped SegWit addresses
bc1q, or SegWit addresses
Other address options are given for advanced users (beyond this tutorial's scope).
- Use your records or the origin wallet's app to find the first receive address your origin wallet generated.
Address Explorerfrom the Main Menu. Read and follow the instructions on-screen to continue.
- Carefully examine the three address types shown and compare them with the
first receive address your origin wallet generated. Select the matching address.
- Your COLDCARD shows the first 10 addresses (numbered 0-9). Compare these full addresses to the receive addresses you have used. Matching addresses verifies the COLDCARD is using the same derivation path used by the origin wallet.
- Make sure you have a microSD card inserted in your COLDCARD and press 1
to save these addresses as
addresses.csv. We'll use this file to check your Bitcoin balance(s) by creating a watch-only wallet.
Verify Balances with a Watch-Only Wallet#
A further check you can do is create a watch-only wallet with Electrum (or another software wallet) and make sure the amount of Bitcoin is what you expect.
If you didn't save addresses to a microSD card while using Address Explorer earlier, please do so now to set up your watch-only wallet.
- Put the microSD card with the
addresses.csvfile in your computer's card reader.
- Download and install Electrum.
- Open Electrum and click
Create New Wallet.
- Enter a name for your watch-only wallet in the text field and click
Import Bitcoin addresses or Public Keys.
- Navigate to your
addresses.csvfile and click
- Edit the list of addresses in the text box so only the addresses — no quotation marks, no index numbers, no header information, no derivation paths — remain. You should also cut out any unused addresses.
Nextbutton becomes clickable once the list of addresses is edited correctly. Double-check your list looks correct and click
- Choose and enter a password for your watch-only wallet.
- Check the Bitcoin balance shown. It should be the same amount as shown on your origin device's app or other software wallets you have used.
After verifying your receive accounts and BTC balances, you can be confident the migration is complete and your COLDCARD is ready to use.
If you're new to COLDCARD and want to try out some simple transactions check out our tutorial Sending and Receiving Bitcoin for Beginners!