Hierarchical Deterministic (HD) Wallets

Hierarchical Deterministic (HD) Wallets

Many cryptocurrency wallets (including MetaMask and Trezor) are Hierarchical Deterministic Wallets (HD Wallets).

Using a protocol called BIP44, HD Wallets allow you to derive multiple accounts that support different types of coins from one master private key. For each HD Wallet, there is one 12-24 word mnemonic seed phrase. The algorithm associated with BIP44 forms a tree using the seed phrase. Account information (public addresses and private keys) for different tokens or currencies exist at different branches of the tree. This ensures that you get a different address information for each token. You can recreate this tree in a new wallet by importing your mnemonic seed phrase.

Derivation Paths

A path called a 'Derivation Path' provides a logical hierarchy for the wallet to use to search the tree for a user's address information at a specific branch (for a specific coin type).

Derivation Path Components

  • The path typically starts with "m'" for "master"

  • The second figure is the purpose. This is a constant, always set to '44' for BIP-44 derivation paths. It indicates that this branch of the tree is compliant with BIP-44 specifications.

  • The third figure denotes the coin type for a specific blockchain. Ethereum, for example, is always "'60". Energy Web Chain is "'246". (You can see all of the registered coin types for BIP-44 here.)

  • The fourth figure is the account. Accounts are numbered from index 0 upward. A user can have many accounts associated with one currency. You can liken this to having multiple accounts at a single bank.

  • The fifth figure is the change. It can be a value of 0 or 1. 0 denotes that the address is visible to others outside of the wallet and can receive payments. 1 indicates that the address is not visible to others outside of the wallet and cannot receive payments.

Certain wallets only accept derivation paths for specific tokens or currencies. MetaMask for example, only supports the BIP-44 derivation path with coin type 60, which is Ether - m’/44’/60’/0’/0.

You can find documentation for the BIP-44 here.

Derivation Paths and Energy Web Chain

If you are using a hardware wallet and are not using it through a connection with MetaMask, you may need to change the derivation path to Energy Web Chain's derivation path to see your EWT in your account.

Energy Web Chain's derivation path is m/44'/246'/0'/0

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