I get that 24^2048 (heck, even 12^2048) are utterly massive numbers and the chance that this happens is practically 0... but I am still curious: What would happen if a hardware wallet (or any seed generation mechanism) generated a seed that happened to already exist/have btc in associated addresses? Since internet connection not required it may not be immediately obvious to the user (and there'd be no way for the wallet to check against existing addresses), but when they connected their hardware wallet/seed to some wallet software would they just have access to that btc? There doesn't seem to be any mechanism preventing this.
Again. I know this is so unlikely that its effectively impossible, but just for arguments sake... would you just all of a sudden have free btc?


1 Answer 1


You would be able to spend money belonging to someone else.

It is like discovering your front door key fits the lock on someone else's door. Which does not mean theft is no longer considered theft in law.

So not free money but the means to commit theft.

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