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Polkadot Accounts

User friendly wallets

Create your Polkadot accounts with any of the secure and user-friendly wallet listed on the Polkadot website.

See the Wallets section for more information about different wallet options available, and specifically the wallets and extensions page, which lists the user friendly wallet projects funded by the Polkadot/Kusama Treasuries or by the Web3 Foundation Grants Program.

This document covers the basics of Kusama accounts. See the Advanced Account page for more information about accounts such as account derivation and indices. For a more in-depth explanation of the cryptography behind Kusama accounts, please see the cryptography page.

Account Addressโ€‹

An address is the public part of a Kusama account. The private part is the key used to access this address. The public and private parts together make up a Kusama account. You can think of the public address of your account, like your mailbox and the private key like the key to open that mailbox. Anybody can send mail to your mailbox, but only you can access it as only you have access to its key. In the context of Kusama accounts, anybody can send tokens to your public address, but only you can transact with them using your private key. That is why you should keep your private key secret.

Mnemonic Seed Phraseโ€‹

A user's account requires a private key that can sign on to one of the supported curves and signature schemes. Without a private key, an account cannot sign anything. In Kusama there are some exceptions of accounts that do not have known private keys (i.e. keyless accounts). Such accounts are multi-signature accounts, pure proxies, and system accounts that are not discussed here and are meant for an advanced audience.

A typical 12-word mnemonic seed phrase is shown below.

'caution juice atom organ advance problem want pledge someone senior holiday very'

Its corresponding private/public keypair is also shown.

Secret seed (Private key): 0x056a6a4e203766ffbea3146967ef25e9daf677b14dc6f6ed8919b1983c9bebbc
Public key (SS58): 5F3sa2TJAWMqDhXG6jhV4N8ko9SxwGy8TpaNS1repo5EYjQX

Polkadot default address format is the MultiAddress type. This means the same mnemonic phrase will generate public keys for different parachains. For more information, see the Address Format section on the Advanced Account page.

Account Generationโ€‹

Usually, there are two ways of generating a mnemonic seed:

  • On a "hot" device, i.e. a device that is connected to the internet
  • On a "cold" device, i.e. a device that is not (and ideally will never be) connected to the internet

Hot wallets are susceptible to a wide range of attacks, so it is recommended to use cold wallets when dealing with non-trivial amounts of funds.

Generating a mnemonic seed on a browser extension or a mobile application will create a hot key or hot wallet. Create your Polkadot accounts with a secure and user-friendly wallet listed on the Polkadot website. See also the Wallets section for more information about wallets and the wallets and extensions page for wallets and browser extensions funded by the Polkadot/Kusama Treasuries or by the Web3 Foundation Grants Program.

Cold keys are generated on special devices such as those provided by Ledger. Additionally, you can generate your account using the Polkadot Vault mobile app (you need a dedicated air-gapped Android or iOS-compatible smartphone that you are comfortable using only for Polkadot Vault), or a dedicated hardware implementation of Polkadot Vault such as the Kampela Signer.

Usually, browser extensions and mobile devices have options to securely import accounts from cold wallets. Note that the private keys of those accounts will remain on the cold wallet, meaning that you will always need the device to sign any transaction. Exceptions exist where you can generate hot wallet based proxy accounts and sign on behalf of a cold wallet account without connecting the cold device. This is practical, especially for transactions made frequently.

Backing Up Accountsโ€‹

Depending on what software you use 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 secure. In general, as long as you know how you created your account and have the mnemonic seed phrase or the JSON backup file (and password) stored securely, you can restore your account.

Existential Deposit and Reapingโ€‹


Visit this support page for more information about existential deposit.

When you generate an account (address), you only generate a key that lets you access it. The account does not exist yet on-chain. For that, it needs the existential deposit of .

Having an account go below the existential deposit causes that account to be reaped. The account will be wiped from the blockchain's state to conserve space, along with any funds in that address. You do not lose access to the reaped address - as long as you have your private key or recovery phrase, you can still use the address - but it needs a top-up of another existential deposit to be able to interact with the chain.

Transaction fees cannot cause an account to be reaped. Since fees are deducted from the account before any other transaction logic, accounts with balances equal to the existential deposit cannot construct a valid transaction. Additional funds will need to be added to cover the transaction fees.

The existential deposit can be different on parachains

Having an Existential Deposit (ED) on the relay chain account does not guarantee the liveness of the same account on its system chains or parachains. Parachains typically define ED for an account in their native tokens but can also configure it with tokens that are deemed sufficient. For example, the Existential Deposit on Polkadot Asset Hub can be in DOT or sufficient assets like USDC or USDT.

Here's another way to think about existential deposits. Ever notice those Thumbs.db files on Windows or .DS_Store files on Mac? Those are junk; they serve no specific purpose other than making previews a bit faster. If a folder is empty saved for such a file, you can remove the folder to clear the junk off your hard drive. That does not mean you will lose access to this folder forever - you can always recreate it. You have the key, after all - you're the computer's owner. It just means you want to keep your computer clean until you maybe need this folder again and recreate it. Your address is like this folder - it gets removed from the chain when nothing is in it but gets put back when it has the existential deposit.

Polkadot-JS Guides

If you are an advanced user, see the Polkadot-JS guides about accounts.