During the installation of your hardware wallet, you will make a backup of your seed. This seed is used to generate all of the private keys used by the wallet. When you have your private keys, you will have access to your coins. Because all private keys are derived from your seed, the seed enables you to recover your coins. The number of coins that belong to an address is stored on the blockchain. Because of this, the device always knows how many coins you own after restoring your wallet. Even in a case where the producer of your hardware wallet goes bankrupt, you will still be able to restore access to your coins using your seed.

Should you lose your wallet or should it break, you can simply get a new wallet and import the seed during the installation process. It is also possible to import your private keys into a software wallet, but this is, of course, less secure.

Ledger

The seed for a Ledger wallet is stored by a list of 24 words. These words can be used to restore the entire wallet, including all coins.

Trezor

The Trezor One seed is stored by a list of 24 words, similar to the Ledger. The Trezor T seed is a list of 12 words. You can, however, load a 24-word seed on a Trezor T as well.

KeepKey

The KeepKey uses a list of 12 words similar to the Trezor T.

Digital Bitbox

The Digital Bitbox seed is saved on a micro SD card. The seed is protected by a password and can only be recovered by entering the right password. This adds a layer of security but also introduces the risk of losing your coins in case you forget your password.
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