Post update: For more information about the Abra recovery phrase, please check out our more recent post about the topic.
Every Abra wallet is a bitcoin wallet that is used to store, send, and receive money. Like all bitcoin wallets, Abra uses special codes called “private keys” to authorize transactions. Anyone who has the private key to a bitcoin wallet can authorize transfers to other wallets. It is therefore very important to keep the private keys to your wallet safe and secure, away from prying eyes, in case anything happens to your wallet.
Abra provides users the private keys to their wallet using a recovery phrase. The recovery phrase, sometimes called a “wallet seed” or “backup phrase,” consists of 13 words that need to be written down and stored in a safe place. If anything happens to a user’s Abra wallet or the phone that the wallet is installed on, the recovery phrase can be used to restore and recover all funds stored in the wallet.
Without the recovery phrase, users will lose their funds if anything happens to their wallet.
It is therefore very important to us that users are made aware of the risk and are diligent about verifying that they have saved a copy of their recovery phrase.
We recently implemented some important changes to how the Abra wallet’s private key recovery phrase is presented to users. Users are first introduced to the recovery phrase concept when they create their Abra wallet, and are then given a set number of reminders before Abra requires them to verify that they have saved their recovery phrase.
When you are ready to verify that you have saved a copy of your recovery phrase, the steps to take are quick and easy.
Step 1. Show your recovery phrase
There are several opportunities to have the app show you your recovery phrase, including when you first install the app, when you are reminded to verify your recovery phrase, and when you press the “Backup” button in the main menu of the app.
When you select the option to show your recovery phrase, you will be shown a screen with thirteen words to copy. These thirteen words are your recovery phrase. The recovery phrase is unique to your phone – no one else has a copy.
Step 2. Write down a copy of your recovery phrase
Write down the recovery phrase on a piece of paper and store it in a safe place, such as the same place you store your birth certificate, cash savings, and other valuables.
You may be tempted to take a screenshot but if you lose your phone, you may also lose your recovery phrase. Remember that anything stored online is more vulnerable to hacking. See https://bitcoin.org/en/secure-your-wallet for some additional tips.
Step 3. Verify that you have saved a copy of your recovery phrase
Once you have stored a copy of your recovery phrase in a safe place, go to the next screen and type the words back into the app in the correct order, then press the “Confirm phrase” button to verify your recovery phrase. If you typed it correctly, you will receive a confirmation notification.
Your wallet is now protected!
After you have verified your recovery phrase, you will no longer receive reminders to verify your recovery phrase. You can now use the copy that you saved to recover the funds in your wallet if you get a new phone or have to reinstall the Abra app for any reason.
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Established in 2014, Abra is on a mission to create a simple and honest platform that enables millions of cryptocurrency holders to maximize the potential of their assets. Abra enables both individuals and businesses to safely and securely buy, trade, and borrow against cryptocurrencies – all in one place. Abra’s vision is an open, global financial system that is easily accessible to everyone.
Based in the United States, Abra is available in over 150 countries and makes it easy to convert between crypto and a wide variety of local fiat currencies. With over 2MM customers, $7B in transactions processed, and $1.5B in assets under management, Abra continues to grow rapidly. Abra is widely loved and trusted – in April 2022, pymnts.com reviewed and rated Abra amongst the top 5 most popular crypto wallets in the market. Abra is backed by top-tier investors such as American Express Ventures and First Round Capital.
How Abra Protects Your Funds
Abra places clients’ financial objectives and security first. Abra practices a culture of risk management across all levels and functions within the organization.
Abra employs a state-of-the-art enterprise risk management framework that comprises a comprehensive set of policies, procedures, and practices detailing all applicable risk-related objectives and constraints for the entirety of the business. Abra has instituted a complete set of requisite systems and controls that continuously enforce these policies, procedures, and practices to manage all operations, including credit and lending. Abra’s independent Risk Committee comprises experienced compliance, risk, securities, and fraud operations professionals with backgrounds in industries ranging from traditional and digital assets banking, payments, remittance, to fintech.
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Etienne1369 days ago
Hi there !
Just a quick question about the 13 words mnemonic passphrase:
Are the words 2 to 13 a standard 12 words BIP39 mnemonic and word number 1 the password used to generate the seed ?
Or some kind of other trick, like words from 13 to 2 (Abra passphrase) correspond to word 1 to 12 (standard BIP39 mnemonic) and word 1 (abra passphrase) is the password (standard BIP39) ?
Standard BIP39 as in https://github:.com/iancoleman/bip39
Thanks in advance for your answer
Daniel McGlynn1364 days ago
The first word ‘At’ is specific to Abra. The words 2 to 13 = standard BIP39 mnemonic.
not_that_bill_gates1503 days ago
Thanks guys for your patient explanations – some of the questioners seem unnecessarily blunt, considering you’re trying to reduce astrophysical maths to a few simple sentences. I have very few bitcoin and it won’t make me rich, but the social impact of the democratisation of finance over the coming decades is truly exciting, and using rational solutions, not the self-centred platitudes (and violence) of the socialist liberal elites.
Ken1901 days ago
How do I get the Private keys using the Mnemonic in Abra?
Matt Taylor1850 days ago
Hi Ken, here is how: https://support.abra.com/hc/en-us/articles/217217837-What-is-a-recovery-phrase-and-why-is-it-important-
Hamin sangco1928 days ago
i just want to now if thers a fee if i transfer a fund to other wallet address like mining pool or trading
Please replay on this thank you
Matt Taylor1928 days ago
Yes if you move Bitcoin out of your Abra wallet to an external wallet (including mining pools, exchanges, etc.), you will need to pay a mining fee on the Bitcoin network. Here is more info on fees: https://www.abra.com/fees/
Allen2028 days ago
For anyone who has more passphrases than they can remember (me!), I would recommend the use of a password manager. There are many out in the market, some free, some not-so-free. The commercial ones have more bells and whistles but I am very satisfied with the free pen I chose; I tend to prefer established open-source solutions but others’ requirements may differ from my own.
One just needs to remember one strong passphrase (hint: length not necessarily complexity, https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2011/12/how-to-create-a-strong-password-and-remember-it/index.htm) and can even have some of those password managers create super-strong password that one does not need to ever remember again. There are some solutions that are platform agnostic; it works on smartphones and desktops/laptops. And, of course, make backups of the password manager’s database file and refresh copies regularly. Because of a healthy sense of paranoia, I even store secret questions and answers in them because those questions are of a personal nature, and because of almost everything being online, it’s not that hard to figure out my middle name, for example … so I make the answer as difficult as my password!
On another note, perhaps Mike was trying to determine (or maybe it is just me) how a 13-word passphrase can recover the Wallet that has been lost due to a smartphone crash or destruction or migrating to a new smartphone. Would my question be more clear – and maybe I don’t understand the underpinnings of the blockchain – if I were to ask how the Wallet is reconstructed or reconstituted from just those thirteen words?
Are they in the blockchain?
Are they in Abra’s servers?
Max Dees2025 days ago
Basically, the private keys are separate from the blockchain or servers. Please do note that we do not have access to user private keys nor do we store them anywhere and our private keys are 13-words. We use hierarchical deterministic wallets that use a random 12 word mnemonic using English words. The mnemonic phrase can be converted to a number which is used as the seed to a deterministic wallet that generates all the key pairs used in the wallet. Basically, the private key or security phrase is unique and accessible using the wallet’s functionality to restore the balance. All bitcoin transactions (assuming they’re the same wallet that has hierarchical deterministic functionality and does not change) are tied to a private key. Once you restore a wallet using a private key, you will have access to your funds, as they are tied to it.
Here are further resources:
george blossom2115 days ago
so contact me
george blossom2117 days ago
recovery phrase wont work
John Light2117 days ago
Hi George, double-check to make sure that 1. you have written down all of the words in the correct order 2. all of the words are spelled correctly 3. all the letters are typed in lower-case with spaces between each word. If you have tried this and it still does not work, please create a support ticket by pressing the “Contact us” button in the app so our customer support team can help you trouble shoot.
Kim650 days ago
What do you do if you don’t have a wallet? My partner has fallen for the ‘you send me’ trick and has lost our money. He doesn’t have a wallet himself, she gave him her wallet details and he literally just bought them and sent the to the addresses she sent him. Is there anyway to get these back if he still has the details of the wallets?
Bruce Fitch2138 days ago
I plan to store my recovery phrase at the bottom of a biscuit jar – 100% immune from hacking but, yes, not snacking. Please explain how Abra protects its copy of my recovery phrase and private keys. The release of the NSA hacking software and the resultant WannaCry infection is very disconcerting. Thank you for your response.
John Light2137 days ago
Hi Bruce, Abra does not have access to your recovery phrase. The recovery phrase is stored on your phone and never sent to Abra’s servers. So you have to make sure you keep your copy safe.
Mike2103 days ago
OK, you lost me. If the phrase is only on my phone and I lose my phone, what good is the phrase?
John Light2103 days ago
Hi Mike, you have to write the backup phrase down as instructed in Step 2 of the blog post above. That way if you lose your phone or have to uninstall the app for any reason, you will not lose the funds stored in your wallet
Kurt G2139 days ago
I wish I would have done this. I lost only $50, but lesson learned. Thanks for addressing this issue. Huge Abra supporter.
John Light2139 days ago
Sorry to hear that happened Kurt, we hope these changes will make that much less likely in the future. And thanks for your support!