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What Info Do You Need to Access a Lost Bitcoin Wallet?

May 31, 2022

You’ve lost access to your bitcoin, and you’re looking for solutions. Here’s the good news: You have options as long as you have some of the information used to create your wallet. 

Read on for several potential bitcoin recovery scenarios. To discuss your case with an expert, call 1-800-237-4200 or submit a case online. offers bitcoin recovery services with a no data, no charge guarantee. Our fees are based on the value of the recovered crypto — if our engineers can’t recover your funds, you won’t pay for the attempt. 

Four Ways to Access a Lost Bitcoin Wallet

1. The Wallet Password and Wallet.dat File 

If you have access to the wallet.dat file, you need the password associated with your wallet software to access your bitcoin. 

What if you’ve got the file, but you’ve lost the password? The short answer: That depends. Different programs use varying levels of encryption and other controls to keep information secure. It may be possible to crack the password using a brute-force or dictionary attack, depending on the length and relative complexity of the password. 

If you remember part of the password, or potential passwords with variations (for example, “I know my password had the word ‘dog’ in it, surrounded by several numbers),” that may be enough info. Specialized software can run through thousands of possibilities to crack the wallet.

However, many wallets limit the number of attempts in a given timeframe or lock out access entirely after a certain number of attempts. For the best chances of success, we strongly recommend working with an experienced password recovery team.

What if I’ve lost bitcoin due to hard drive failure?

In this case, you’ll need hard drive data recovery services. With industry-leading success rates and fully equipped laboratories at every location — including certified cleanrooms and firmware repair equipment — we provide extensive data recovery solutions with total peace of mind. 

All of our data recovery services are backed by our no data, no charge guarantee, and our teams understand the challenges of recovering cryptocurrency wallets while maintaining our clients’ privacy. After restoring the data from your hard drive, we can attempt to recover the password of the wallet.dat file.

For more information, call 1-800-237-4200 or click here to set up a case online.

2. The Passphrase

The secret recovery phrase (also called a seed phrase) is randomly generated during the creation of your wallet. This mnemonic code is extremely important: Even if you lose access to your hardware wallet, the seed phrase can be used to restore access to the crypto.

Seed phrases consist of 12-24 words, and they’re usually generated by your crypto wallet (some users prefer to use external applications or online generators to set their recovery phrase). Most wallets use a 12-word BIP39 seed phrase.

While seed phrases are random by nature, their construction follows certain rules; if you remember the words from the passphrase, it should be recoverable, even if you don’t remember the right order of the words. At our laboratories, we’ve designed methods to recover 12-word seed phrases when the wallet owner only remembers a portion of the words in the mnemonic sentence.

Of course, the more information you have about your passphrase, the better — but if your goal is to recover a large amount of bitcoin, it’s worth pursuing recovery even if you have limited info. 

3. The Private Key

Chances are, you don’t have the private key to your bitcoin wallet memorized. The bitcoin private key is a 256-bit number, and the mnemonic recovery phrase (above) can be used to derive the key. Other ways to represent keys include hexadecimal notation, which reduces the number of characters by using a base of 16.

This results in 64 characters that correspond to a 256-bit number. Here’s an example of a hexadecimal key:


You’ll need the entire private key to access your bitcoin wallet directly (or the seed phrase, as detailed above). If you have most of the private key, but you’re only missing a few digits, our team can help. While this is an extremely rare recovery scenario, we’ve encountered similar situations in past cases.

4. Cryptocurrency Exchange Passwords

Hardware wallets offer the best security for Bitcoin investors, but many people trade thousands of dollars in crypto without ever interacting with the blockchain directly. Cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase and Kraken offer a simple way to trade cryptocurrencies and tokens, and many users keep their assets on these services — no hardware wallet needed.

The downside: Without a hardware wallet, recovery options are limited. If you’ve lost your password to access funds on a crypto exchange, your best option is to contact the exchange and try to regain access to your account. If you can verify your identity (and your account was established under your legal name), you might have some success. 

Because cryptocurrency exchanges have clear policies regarding lost passwords, bitcoin recovery professionals typically won’t try to recover funds held on these services. 

If you’ve lost access to a bitcoin wallet, can help you explore your options. Contact our cryptocurrency experts at 1-800-237-4200 to learn more.