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TREZORs documentation about the device being stolen and then examined by an election microscope says:

In the end, the bitcoins will be gone already because the original owner will have changed their recovery seed upon discovering that their TREZOR was stolen.

Isn't the effective private key saved on the device? If that's true, then how would changing the recovery seed render "bitcoins gone"?

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If you follow the change recovery seed link in that quote, you will see that the instructions include sending the bitcoins from the old account to a new account.

The authors are saying that upon discovering a device is stolen, the user should transfer the coins away from the compromised addresses to a new, uncompromised account.

Isn't the effective private key saved on the device?

No, the seed is stored on the device, and the keys are derived from that. But the effect is the same, if you have the seed, you can derive the keys. The document doesn't mean that the seed on the stolen device was changed. It means that the user made a new seed on a separate device, and transferred their coins to that.

  • Ah, ok. Change recovery seed means change recovery seed AND send bitcoins to a new wallet. Then bitcoins are indeed gone from the old device. – Aleksandr Levchuk Dec 3 '17 at 6:20

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