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I purchased bitcoin through a bitcoin ATM, and I opened a new wallet on the spot.

On getting home my phone was mysteriously wiped, how can I find the wallet I created? I happened to write down the 12-word phrase.

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    DO NOT share the actual 'private key' you wrote down with anyone. That said, can you describe the format of it? Is it a string of random letters/numbers? Or a list of 12/24 words (this is called a 'seed phrase')? In either case, you will just need to find the appropriate software to import the key, and your bitcoin should be recoverable. – chytrik Sep 5 '18 at 21:26
  • I do not know the wallet which i opened it, I have only my bitcoin address and the key, how can i get the company i created the wallet from – Perry Sep 5 '18 at 22:43
  • As long as you used a wallet which gives you control of your keys, and you copied that key (or seed) down, then you do not need to find any company. You just need to find any compatible software that can import the key (or seed) you wrote down. – chytrik Sep 5 '18 at 22:44
  • How can i find one please? – Perry Sep 5 '18 at 22:45
  • You'll need a wallet that accepts the format of key you wrote down, if it is a standard format you should have no problem finding an option that works. Check out btcinformation.org/en/choose-your-wallet – chytrik Sep 5 '18 at 22:53
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It is good you wrote down the 12-word seed phrase. Without that, you bitcoin may have been lost forever! Do not share that phrase with anyone, no matter what! If you do, they will be able to easily steal your bitcoin.

You can use that 12-word phrase to recreate your wallet on another device. It sounds like what you have is likely a BIP39 mnemonic seed phrase, so you'll need a wallet which accepts a 12-word BIP39 seed phrase.

You can use a website like btcinformation.org to browse available wallet software. It is important to do your research and choose a wallet that is legit, look for many independent reviews of the wallet if you can.

Once you have the wallet software running, you should see a prompt to either start a new wallet, or recover an existing wallet. Choose the recovery option, and follow the steps to input your 12-word seed phrase. Doing so should recover your wallet, and once the software is synced you should see your bitcoin balance again.

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I happened to write down the 12-word phrase.

You are in a very good situation. Much better than many new bitcoin owners who ask questions here. It is very likely that your bitcoin is safe and needs no urgent action.


how can I find the wallet I created?

You don't need to, wallets are not important so long as you have the 12-word seed-phrase. Wallets don't contain your bitcoin, they are just a way of using the private-key (derived from the seed-phrase) which gives you control over your bitcoin.

Wallets are completely disposable. Just keep backups of your seed-phrase (or the private key itself) and guard them very closely.

The key things to do are

  • Don't panic, there is no urgency here.
  • Don't rush into things, you have time to work out the options that suit you best.
  • Don't let anyone else see your 12-word seed-phrase
  • Spend some time to understand
    • the different types of wallet available
    • the basics of
      • how wallets work,
      • what a private-key is,
      • what an address is,
      • the difference between a private-key and a seed-phrase.
    • choose a wallet that suits your needs, chytrik's answer contains a list. I note that CoPay runs on Android and supports 12-word seed-phrases but there are many choices available, take your time to choose one.

How can I recover from a 12 word seed phrase?

Chytrik's answer give you some good advice. The exact steps depend on which wallet you decide is best for you.

If you want to hang on to your Bitcoin for five years, you need do nothing other than lock away in a very safe place your 12-word seed-phrase.

I understand you'll feel compelled to check the amount of bitcoin you control though, that involves at least using a wallet to derive the private key from the pass-phrase and to derive the receiving address from the private key. The wallet will do all this automatically when you import the seed-phrase into it. Once you have an address you can check the unspent bitcoin value associated with that address by using any of several blockchain explorer websites.


Useful references here

  • The problem now his my funds are not coming out, i have recovered my wallet, but it totally brings out noting zero funds zero history, please help – Perry Sep 6 '18 at 9:05
  • @Perry, stay calm. some wallets need time to synchronise with the network before thay can add-up how much bitcoin your control. For example, I recently installed bitcoin-core and it took a week to synchronise. Lightweight wallets will be faster. It may be best for you to write a new question. Take your time to write a good question - include a link to this question - state exactly which wallet you are now using - state exactly what you did - what you expected to happen and what actually happened - include screenshots if relevant. Majke sure never to show seed-phrases or private keys. – RedGrittyBrick Sep 6 '18 at 9:14

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