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Wallets & BIP39 compatibility

It’s been a frustrating few months if not YEARS trying to find a wallet that works **well**. Here are some of my complaints after trying a bunch of desktop and mobile wallets out:

1. A bunch of wallets either take only 12 or 24 words. Many just take one and refuse to allow you to use another. Example is Exodus. You can only use 12 words. Too bad you generated a 24 word seed at some point. You cannot recover your wallet.
2. [BIP39](https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/bip-0039.mediawiki) seems to allow 12, 15, 18, 21, 24 words. For wallets nice enough to accept either 12 or 24, I have yet to see one that accepts anything in between.
3. BIP39 passphrases are neat but a lot of wallets either don’t take them or have their own implementation (e.g. Blockstream Green).

So in theory you have a nice ecosystem for Bitcoin but the problem is every piece of software uses things differently. What does that mean for me?

1. To recover forked sh!tcoins, very few solutions work. Having a BIP39 passphrase means most wallets fall apart. It’s not that I want to use other coins, but forked values aren’t insignificant either. I want to claim them and move on with life.
2. If one wallet becomes unreliable (e.g. Coinomi going from open source to closed source), jumping to another wallet might not be easy unless they have the exact same featureset. Thank goodness there are options out there, but it becomes limited if you use more advanced features. For example, I cannot use Exodus as I showed above (lack of 24 word support).



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  1. I should add that I have been using Coinomi sparingly as it seems to handle alts very well with the features I described (anything from 12, 15, 18, 21, 24 words, BIP39 passphrase, etc.), but I am very well aware it’s not open source. I want to avoid using it but unfortunately nothing seems to come close.

  2. Just use the ones that works with 24 words. It’s not that hard.

    >To recover forked sh!tcoins, very few solutions work

    There are electrum forks for each of the forked shitcoins. You just haven’t looked very hard.

    ​

    >I cannot use Exodus as I showed above (lack of 24 word support).

    Well, then don’t use Exodus. Get yourself any of the hardware wallets, they all support 24 words BIP39 as far as I know.

  3. Electrum may accept 15, 18 and 21 words in addition to 12 and 24. You need to enable BIP39 option.

    Adding to the complexity, some wallets use incompatible deviation paths. This leads to different wallets even when the seed phrase is the same.

  4. This site might trigger you. It has all the incompatibilities you name laid bare:

    https://walletsrecovery.org/

    Of all the wallets, I’ve found Trezor to be the most BIP39 compliant, since they originated the standard.

    There is also a javascript program you can download to get the BIP32 `xprv` for any BIP39, BIP44, BIP49 or IBP84 derivation. BIP32 has much better adoption.

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