I want to do some research in order to purchase a hardware wallet. Until I have decided what to do, I would like to transfer my bitcoin balance out of the exchange that I am currently using. I want to avoid multiple transfers, so what I would like to do it to transfer to an address which can be "imported" into my future hardware wallet. Here is my question:

How can I manage a software wallet which is compatible with any of the existing hardware wallets? Are hardware wallets following open standards to generate the bitcoin addresses, or are those proprietary? What standards are they following?

1 Answer 1


Create a seed outside a hardware wallet and then importing it in this latter doesn't make any sense. Hardware wallets have a strong security because the seed is generated by themselves and never revealed outside. I would recommend to wait for your hardware wallet and then generate and transfer your coins on it.

If you know the risk and still want to generate a wallet outside, then you can import it to hardware wallets thanks to the 24 words seed. Make sure your software implements BIP39.

These are the standards implemented by both Trezor and Ledger wallets:

  • BIP 16 : P2SH serialized script addresses
  • BIP 32 : hierarchical Deterministic Wallets
  • BIP 39 : seed mnemonic
  • BIP 44 : specific wallet structure
  • Excellent answer, thanks. I understand the risks, but I assume that if I use an air-gapped computer when setting up my software wallet the risks are minimal. The idea is: 1) generate 24 words seed, and write it to a paper. 2) Use that to setup the software wallet, in air-gapped computer. 3) Use the software wallet to get a bitcoin address. 4) Transfer my balance from exchange to that address. 5) Destroy the air-gapped computer (or sudo rm -rf /). 6) Once I get my hardware wallet, import the seed. 7) Verify that the hardware wallet sees the balance.
    – blueFast
    Jan 3, 2018 at 13:21
  • Just one more thing: Trezor and Ledger don't have the same default HD derivation path. Trezor is m/44'/0'/0'/0 and ledger is m/44'/0'/0'.
    – PJS
    Jan 3, 2018 at 13:38
  • I agree with PJS. If you're happy with your air-gapped setup, then just continue to use that. If you want the protection of a hardware wallet, you need to make a transfer to it. Anything less and you are reducing its security to the same as your air-gapped setup. Jan 4, 2018 at 0:38

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