How to Recover a Crypto Wallet

How to Recover a Crypto Wallet | NZ Crypto Guide (2024)

Unlock the secrets to recovering your crypto wallet in New Zealand. Delve into the steps necessary for reclaiming access, whether you've lost your passwords or faced unexpected challenges. From understanding mnemonic phrases to leveraging advanced recovery tools, our guide will empower you to navigate the process seamlessly and regain control of your crypto holdings.

Experiencing the loss of access to a crypto wallet holding your valuable assets can be an anxiety-inducing situation. Fortunately, there exists a potential solution through the use of specific key phrases called secret recovery phrases (SRPs) or seed phrases.

If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve misplaced the SRPs associated with your cryptocurrency wallet, there exists a slim possibility of recovering it. Explore the comprehensive details in our guide on reclaiming a cryptocurrency wallet to learn more.

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Basics about Cryptocurrency Wallets

What is a Crypto Wallet?

A digital account designed for storing Bitcoin is known as a cryptocurrency wallet.

For those in New Zealand interested in holding Bitcoin, the Exodus desktop wallet offers a user-friendly solution:

Your crypto wallet serves as the hub for receiving payments and initiating transactions, functioning as the central command for navigating the cryptocurrency landscape.

Unlike traditional banks, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Monero are stored in user-controlled wallets, ensuring a high level of asset security and ownership. This  approach is reshaping how millions around the world manage and transfer value.

Understanding Public & Private Keys

At the heart of every crypto wallet lies a pair of keys: the public key and the private key.

Your public key functions as the address others utilize to send you cryptocurrencies, akin to a PO box, while your private key serves as the access key or password. 

Below is an example of a Bitcoin key pair:

Public Key: 16pmrQ8cBE7G7PjgZEmUngmM7RZfHj3F7H
Private Key:L1xQxZhKiBj6qtecWgYvsJKuavPkc5RCyhGah11qK4i2iHpCPANW

While it is advisable to store your public key for convenient access, the pivotal element in safeguarding any crypto wallet is backing up your private key. Your private key singularly represents ownership of your wallet, serving as the sole means by which you can access your funds. It is crucial never to share your private key, as doing so grants access.

Secret Recovery Phrase (SRP)

Your 12-word phrase, alternatively referred to as your secret recovery phrase comprises a sequence of 12 commonplace English words, functioning as the primary backup code.

Upon creating a new wallet, exemplified by using Exodus, users are promptly provided with this phrase and directed to transcribe and securely document it.

This adherence to a 12-word wallet recovery system is a prevalent standard across the cryptocurrency landscape. Gaining a comprehensive understanding of this procedure is essential for ensuring the secure storage of cryptocurrencies.

12 word seed phrase for crypto wallet backups NZ

What to do if your SRP is Lost?

Recovering a cryptocurrency wallet is not achievable without the secret recovery phrase, making it imperative to create a backup. (If your don’t have your private key) 

Certain wallets, such as Coinbase Wallet, offer the option to back up the SRP on cloud services like iCloud. Nevertheless, cloud backups are deemed precarious.

A secure alternative is to write the secret recovery phrase on paper. Recognizing the potential risk of losing the physical copy, users are recommended to store their SRP in multiple locations. For more information about securing your digital funds view our dedicated guide about How to Backup your Cryptocurrency Wallet In New Zealand.

How to Recover a Crypto Wallet Using SRP?

MetaMask is one of the world’s most widely used non-custodial cryptocurrency wallet. Consequently, we will use it as the exemplar in our illustration of crypto wallet recovery.

Imagine being locked out of your cryptocurrency wallet, having lost your recovery phrase.

What options are available in such a predicament? Thankfully, there are methods to recover your SRP, although success hinges on the specifics of your situation.

According to MetaMask, recovery is possible if:

  • You remember your wallet password.
  • You are using the MetaMask Extension in a desktop browser.

It’s essential to note that the MetaMask browser extension can only retain one set of SRP at a time. When a user imports a wallet using a different set of secret recovery phrases, the extension essentially “forgets” the existing wallet.

A issue may arise if you lose access to an existing account while importing a new wallet into your MetaMask browser extension. In such a scenario, the old SRP can be found in the data of the wallet extension. However, it’s crucial not to uninstall the extension since importing the new SRP, and the password to the lost account will be necessary.

Below is a simple step by step to recover your MetaMask Wallet:

  1. Open the Vault Decryptor tool.
  2. Locate the vault file on your system. For Windows users, navigate to C:\Users\USER_NAME\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Local Extension Settings. Mac users can find the vault files in Library > Application Support > Google > Chrome > Default > Local Extension Settings.
  3. Identify the vault file, often named 000003.ldb or a similar numerical value, as indicated by MetaMask. The file name typically appears with a low numerical value like 000005.
  4. Upload the identified vault file to the Vault Decryptor tool.
  5. Enter your wallet password.
  6. Click on the “Decrypt” button.
  7. If both the password and vault file are accurate, your secret recovery phrase (SRP) will be displayed on the screen.
MetaMask Wallet Recovery
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Cryptocurrency NZ Final Verdict

Managing self-custody comes with both advantages and disadvantages, and one significant drawback is the associated risk with secret recovery phrases (SRP) and cryptocurrency wallet recovery, often leading to a suboptimal user experience.

Some individuals may find the handling of SRP burden some, while others may only realize its importance when it’s too late, neglecting to back it up in a timely manner.

Fortunately, there have been notable developments in the cryptocurrency industry aimed at mitigating challenges in seed phrase management. One such innovation is the emergence of smart contract wallets, introducing social recovery mechanisms. With these wallets, owners can regain access to their accounts through trusted social contacts.

Easy Crypto Wallet is a prime example of social contacts that can help regain access.

Until these advancements become more widespread, it remains crucial to diligently safeguard and back up your seed phrases. Exercise caution and verify thoroughly before uninstalling any cryptocurrency wallet applications or browser extensions.

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Disclaimer: All content in this guide is intended for educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as financial advice. As an individual, you are entirely responsible for how you conduct your investments and manage your cryptocurrency interests. It is exclusively your own responsibility to perform due diligence and Cryptocurrency NZ recommends taking extreme care and caution with crypto and are not responsible for the outcomes, management, or oversight of your activities.