I have introduced some friends to both read.cash and noise.cash and a few of them have been active. A few days ago, one of the noise.cash active friends chatted me up on WhatsApp,
"Hey friend, how are you? The phone repair guy had to "Flash" my phone to fix some issues. I have reinstalled that Bitcoin.com Wallet app and I've been trying for hours to import my BCH Wallet with no success. I keep getting an "Invalid_Mnemonic" error message. What do I do? Please help me, I don't want to lose my BCH."
"Invalid Mnemonic error" what?" I thought to myself.
To be honest, that was the first time I heard of or experienced a "Mnemonic error" during a backup. I've never heard the word Mnemonic. So I had to do a little reading. I realized that mnemonic is the same thing as the seed phrase or recovery phrase.
Later, I wanted to ask for the recovery phrase so I can check it out myself, but I remembered telling him:
"Never share your 12-word recovery phrase with anyone, as it gives them access to your wallet and the fund in it"
I asked him if he correctly wrote down the recovery phrase, and he affirmed. Then I asked him to check the spellings, enter the words in lowercase and chronologically. I followed the instruction but still ended up with the same error.
In the end, he desperately sent me an image of the words he wrote down on a piece of paper and pleaded with me to help him recover his Bitcoin cash. I had to check it out myself. I also got the same error message.
What Could have gone wrong
Whenever I'm introducing a friend to cryptocurrency, I never forget to educate them on wallets and the importance of the recovery phrase also known as Seed phrase, mnemonic phrase, mnemonic seed, recovery key, seed key, and recovery seed. How important it is to securely write down the correct spelling of 12 words chronologically (in the right order) and to never show it to anyone. The recovery phrase can come in handy when a device is lost or stolen or the wallet is not function or as in the case of my friend, formatting the device.
My friend was very confident he had written the words correctly and in the right order, so what could have gone wrong?
Here are some possibilities for the Mnemonic error.
Entering letters in uppercase
hidden punctuations like periods, commas or even an extra space.
Entering words in the wrong order.
Based on the recovery phrase he sent, I took the necessary precautions when entering them - no upper case, entered chronologically and the 12 words well spelt (according to what he sent).
What to do?
After failed attempts, I turned to Google for assistance. I found a post of someone who experienced the same challenge in restoring his wallet and how he fixed it.
He used "Seed Savior" a mnemonic phrase recovery tool to restore access to his wallet. This service helps to recover a slightly incorrect mnemonic phrase (aka backup, seed or recovery phrase). If a word is wrong the tool will try to suggest the correct or closest option.
And that's what it did for me.
Note: the tool does more than correct misspelt word, it claims to also find missing words and reorder the words.
After reading the post, I visited the site here. And all I had to do was start entering the words in the space provided on the homepage. On entering the fourth word, I noticed the word was corrected.
My friend wrote it down as "guage" instead if "gauge".
I returned to the wallet app and effected the correction and voila, the wallet was restored.
What! Just a little misspell could have cost him his fund. A letter swap. He said he cross-checked the words to ensure they were correct, so how did he miss this?
I tihnk tihs is bcaeues yuor brian raeds wrdos by lkoniog at ecah lteter.
Well, a mistake made, problem solved. He was delighted when I gave him the good news. I believe he will be more careful next time.
The process of entering mnemonic, recovery or seed phrase is sensitive and should be carried out carefully. The mnemonic phrase entry is an important process as mnemonic phrase backup because certain mistakes made while writing down or entering the 12-word phrase could result in an invalid mnemonic phrase error.
The following guide is important to successfully backup and import an existing wallet on the Bitcoin.com Wallet app:
Write down (when backing up) and enter (when restoring) each word chronologically - in the exact order, it was sequenced while the wallet was created. In the event the sequential arrangement of the individual words of a mnemonic phrase is altered, an invalid mnemonic error alert will be triggered, denying the user access to the wallet.
Double-check each word to ensure accuracy. While writing or entering the recovery, seed or mnemonic phrase, make sure each word corresponds with the 12-word given during wallet creation. This was the case with my friend.
Ensure that each alphabetic character of the recovery phrase is lowercased, no uppercase!
On Trust wallet, separate each word with a single space. Double spacing or no spacing can lead to error.
I know a lot of authors have mentioned it and most, if not all of you here already know about this but permit me to reiterate - this is a reminder of the importance of being certain that you write down your phrase words correctly and securely. I want to also recommend that whenever possible, you double-check that the phrase you've written down is valid before taking any action that would result in you needing to use it.
Most importantly, if you find yourself with an invalid mnemonic phrase error or any order situation that could result in losing access to your wallet and fund, DON’T PANIC! Simply focus your energy on finding a solution without exposing yourself to more risk.