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Account Generation

DISCLAIMER: Key Security

The only ways to get access to your account are via your secret seed or your account's JSON file in combination with a password. You must keep them both secure and private. If you share them with anyone they will have full access to your account, including all of your funds. This information is a target for hackers and others with bad intentions - see also How to Recognize Scams.



On this page, we recommend a variety of account generation methods that have various convenience and security trade-offs. Please review this page carefully before making your account so that you understand the risks of the account generation method you choose and how to properly mitigate them in order to keep your funds safe.

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Visit this support article for more information about key security.

Ways to Generate an Account



The most user-friendly way to create a Polkadot or Kusama address is through the Polkadot-JS UI. Remember to back up the seed phrase used to generate your account - the accounts are stored only in your browser, so purging the cache will wipe your accounts as well. You would then have to recreate them using the seed phrase given to you by the UI - this will also restore all your previously held balances.

A more convenient and recommended method of keeping the accounts stored on your computer is using the Polkadot browser extension. This extension remembers your accounts and allows you to clear your browser cache without fear. Still, don't forget to back up your seed phrase - if you lose access to this computer or the extension somehow crashes beyond repair, the phrase will come in handy.

Please note that as this keeps your accounts in the browser, it is not safe to keep significant holdings. By definition, a browser is a "hot wallet" and susceptible to a wide range of attacks, so keep your funds in cold storage when dealing with non-trivial amounts. For improved security, you can securely stash away the seed phrase for your accounts and remove all traces of the accounts from your computer after creating them.

Besides the extension and the default UI, Polkadot and Kusama addresses can also be created with the Subkey tool. Subkey is intended for users comfortable with using the command line and can seem intimidating but is quite approachable. Follow the instructions in the Subkey documentation. When used properly, Subkey is the most secure available method of creating an account.

There is also the very secure Parity Signer. This keeps your keys on an air-gapped mobile phone. However, it does require obtaining an old Android or iOS-compatible phone that you are comfortable using only for Parity Signer.

Hardware wallet integration is possible with Ledger. A full guide is available here.

Alternatively, you might find other wallets on the Wallet page, but bear in mind that some of these are unaudited and are not officially affiliated with Web3 Foundation or the Polkadot project unless otherwise stated.

How-to guides to generate an account

See our Support Articles for more information about how to create an account using the tools below.

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If you prefer video instructions for creating an account using Polkadot JS, see this video tutorial.

Account Address Format

An account created for Polkadot can also be used on multiple chains in the Polkadot ecosystem. More specifically, the account of a chain that uses the *25519 account address format (the latest list can be accessed on the ss58 registry repository) is cross-compatible with all the chains that use the similar format. To switch between the accounts on different chains, you can follow the guidelines in this support article. Subscan has a tool you can use to convert your address between the different chain formats.

Using the same account on multiple chains - Pros and Cons

The address format differs from chain to chain, but that difference is only visual. The same private key can be used to sign transactions on behalf of the respective accounts on multiple chains. Using a single account on multiple chains is convenient, as you do not have to deal with multiple mnemonic phrases or private keys. But, if your account gets compromised on one chain, the attacker can gain full access to the accounts on all other chains. This also has implications for the account holder's privacy, as knowing the identity of an account on one chain can expose the account holder's identity on all the chains. In the Accounts tab, the Polkadot-JS UI displays a warning message next to each Account that you are using on multiple chains, and recommends to use different Accounts on different chains (see below).

warning multiple chains

On Polkadot-JS Extension, you can copy your address by clicking on the account's icon while the desired chain format is active. E.g. selecting "Substrate" as the format will change your address, and clicking the colorful icon of your account will copy it in that format. While in Polkadot mode, that address format will be copied, and so on.

Backing Up Accounts

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See this video tutorial and visit this support page to know how to backup your account.

Depending on what software you are using to access your account, there are various ways to back up and restore your account. It is a good idea to back your information up and keep it in a secure place. Note that in order to recover an account, you should create your account according to the instructions here. In general, as long as you know how you created your account, and have the seed phrase (mnemonic phrase) or JSON file (and password) stored securely, you will be able to restore your account.

Polkadot-JS Browser Extension

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For guidelines about how to create an account using Polkadot Extension, see this video tutorial and visit this support article.

The Polkadot-JS Browser Extension (simply referred to as Polkadot Extension) provides a reasonable balance of security and usability. It provides a separate local mechanism to generate your address and interact with Polkadot.

This method involves installing the Polkadot Extension and using it as a “virtual vault," separate from your browser, to store your private keys. It also allows the signing of transactions and similar functionality.

It is still running on the same computer you use to connect to the internet with and thus is less secure than using Parity Signer or other air-gapped approaches.

Reset Password using the Browser Extension

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See this video tutorial to learn how to change the password for an account that has been created on the Polkadot-JS browser extension (i.e. an injected account).

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Before following the instructions below make sure you have your mnemonic phrase stored in a safe place accessible to you.

Let's say you created ACCOUNT 1 protected by password PSW 1. To reset the password of your ACCOUNT 1 using the browser extension you must follow the following steps:

  • On the browser extension go to ACCOUNT 1 and click "Forget account". This action will delete the access to your account. Note that your tokens are still in your account on the polkadot blockchain network.
  • On the browser extension click the "+" button in the topright corner and select the option "Import account from pre-existing seed". After entering the mnemonic phrase you can chose a new password PSW 2.
JSON files do not allow to change account passwords

If you add the account to the extension using the option "Restore account from backup JSON file", this will allow you to restore access to your account using JSON file protected by the password PSW 1, but does not let you set a new password. Thus, PSW 1 will become the account password by default.

Accounts on Cold wallets do not need passwords

For hardware wallets such as Ledger, you may have to set a PIN for accessing the accounts on the device, but you do not need to set a password for every individual account. When you need to make transactions with your account, you are required to sign using your Ledger device. Also, Ledger wallets let you generate multiple accounts for multiple blockchain networks without having to set different passwords to access such accounts.

Restore Account on the Polkadot-JS Browser Extension

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See this video tutorial and this support page to learn how to restore your account on the Polkadot-JS UI.

Subkey

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For guidelines about how to create an account using Subkey, see this video tutorial and visit this support article.

Subkey is recommended for technically advanced users who are comfortable with the command line and compiling Rust code. Subkey allows you to generate keys on any device that can compile the code. Subkey may also be useful for automated account generation using an air-gapped device. It is not recommended for general users.

Polkadot-JS UI

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For guidelines about how to create an account using Polkadot-JS UI, see this video tutorial and visit this support article.

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If you use this method to create your account and clear your cookies in your browser, your account will be lost forever if you do not back it up. Make sure you store your seed phrase in a safe place, or download the account's JSON file if using the Polkadot{.js} browser extension. Learn more about account backup and restoration here.

Using the Polkadot-JS user interface without the plugin is not recommended. It is the least secure way of generating an account. It should only be used if all of the other methods are not feasible in your situation.

Reset password using the Polkadot-JS UI

To reset the password of an account created with Polkadot-JS Apps UI you just need to go in the "Accounts" tab, click the icon with three vertical dots on your account and select "Change this account's password".

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See this video tutorial to learn how to change the password for an account that has been created on the Polkadot-JS UI (i.e. a non-injected account).

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If you create an account first using Polkadot-JS Apps UI, and then add it to the browser extension, you need to follow the guidelines for the browser extension to change the password of such account.

Restore Account on the Polkadot-JS UI

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See this video tutorial and this support page to learn how to restore your account on the Polkadot-JS UI.

Parity Signer

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For guidelines about how to create an account using Parity Signer, see this video tutorial and visit this support article.

Parity Signer is a secure way of storing your DOT on an air-gapped device. It is highly recommended that you turn off wifi, cellular network, Bluetooth, NFC, and any other communications methods after installing it.

Restore Account on Parity Signer

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See this video tutorial and this support page to learn how to restore your account on the Polkadot-JS UI.

Vanity Generator

The vanity generator is a tool on Polkadot-JS UI that lets you generate addresses that contain a specific substring. For the tutorial on how to create an account using Vanity Generator, visit this support article.

Ledger Hardware Wallet

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To use a Ledger hardware wallet to create your address and keep your tokens in cold storage, follow the instructions on the Ledger hardware wallet guide page.