It is possible to recover part of Bitcoin wallet backup phrases. Computing power will never be a threat to the security of cryptocurrency wallets.

Using seed words is the most common method of generating the private keys of a Bitcoin wallet.

A mnemonic phrase, a term that refers to an ancient memorization technique, is a set of 12, 24 or 36 words that the wallet provider software randomly generates.

This cryptographic implementation was part of the Bitcoin 39 (BIP39) Scalability Proposal, which stipulated that this combination must come from a list of 2,048 words in total (2,047 conventional English words, plus the word “satoshi”).

Once the word sequence is ready, it undergoes an interpretation process through an algorithm in a 512-bit binary number sequence. This number is the resulting private key.

Next, wallet owners should write the word combination on paper. However, some people print these words on metal and wood, among other surfaces including the skin (through tattoos).

This allows users to regain access to their wallets, in case the devices on which the wallets run are damaged, lost, or destroyed. By inserting the 12 words elsewhere, they can regain control over their funds again.

For this reason, they must safeguard those words with the utmost care and caution, since they are the only way to obtain the private key of a Bitcoin wallet. Wallet owners must also ensure that nobody steals them, so they must keep them hidden from third parties, and must not write them on devices or websites.

The BIP39 Scalability Proposal allows identifying a word just by knowing its first four letters. Each word is not less than 4 letters or more than 8 letters. Also, the first 4 letters are unique and no word has the same beginning as another. By typing the correct letters directly into a spreadsheet, users can see the prediction of the word in question.

It is impossible to fully decrypt or force this cryptographic method, as with many of the simple passwords used for generic e-mails or logins. Not even the most advanced computer can discover 12, or 24 words.

Since the very beginning of Bitcoin, some developers have created tools to decipher this combination. However, they usually only work when there are between 1 and 4 words missing in the set of 12 or 24 words.

Possibility of Recovering a Seed Phrase

First of all, it is not possible to recover or generate a seed phrase in its entirety. Users can recover some words from a pre-existing incomplete phrase.

Some people usually divide the backup phrase into two or more parts and store it in different places. It seems like a valid security measure, but it poses a big risk to the user.

Similarly, although the words are easy to read and write, someone could make a mistake when writing them on paper. These kinds of mistakes could find a solution in different seed word recovery tools, which have been available for some time.

By Willmen Blanco


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