If I only save the seed phrase and public key after generating them, my understanding is I need to know the derivation path used in order to find the correct private key from the seed, in the future? Are the infinite address and key pair possibilities created in a specific order based on the derivation path?

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Most wallets, especially those using BIP39 seed phrases only use (a subset of) these standard derivation paths:

  • m/44'/0'/account'/change/address_index (P2PKH, BIP44)
  • m/49'/0'/account'/change/address_index (P2WPKH-P2SH, BIP49)
  • m/84'/0'/account'/change/address_index (P2WPKH, BIP84)
  • m/86'/0'/account'/change/address_index (P2TR, BIP86)

If your wallet uses one of these paths, you probably don't need to write it down. Other paths used by wallets can be found on walletsrecovery.org.

Wallets using these standard paths always create private keys in increasing order of address_index (for every account created if the wallet supports multiple accounts). When you import the seed phrase into a compatible wallet, it will create and scan addresses in the same order, until a long enough gap of unused addresses occurs.

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