I'm considering purchasing a hardware wallet for my cryptos (ledger or trezor) and was wondering how one might claim a forked crypto if these devices don't provide the private keys or add support for it. Let's say bitcoin forks in the future, and for whatever reason ledger/trezor decides not to support it. How do I claim the new currency in this case?

One option might be to generate private keys using tools and then claim them on another wallet that does support the new currency. Thoughts?

2 Answers 2


You can always use backup passphrase which you have to write down on device setup. For the two mentioned devices backup pass phrases are BIP39 compliant. That means that you can always use other wallet/device which is BIP39 compliant and supports the forked coins, enter the backup passphrase on this device and redeem the coins. Note however that it has certain security implications - you open the possibility that your private keys might be compromised by the new wallet device/software.


Depending on how the fork of Bitcoin is done, there may not be any need for Ledger or Trezor to implement support for the fork in their devices. They only need to implement support if the firmware needs to be updated, and this would only happen if the signing process is changed. Otherwise, they do not necessarily need to implement support for the fork.

There are third party software that you can use that interacts with hardware wallets. If a firmware update is not required, wallet developers for the forked coins can add in support for the hardware wallets themselves and allow you to be able to spend the forked coins.

Lastly, as a last resort, you can use your recover mnemonic in any other BIP 39 compliant wallet and be able to access your private keys and your Bitcoin or forked coins.

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