I was contacted by a client from Montenegro who had lost access to his Ronin wallet containing Axie Infinity (AXS) tokens. He had written down his seed words but when he used them to recreate his wallet he was taken to an empty and completely different wallet address. As he didn’t use a passphrase, he had therefore written his seed words down incorrectly. This is often the case with people whose first language is not English. The client’s main language was Serbian / Montenegrin, but seed words are often generated in English. So I guess this is similar to a person whose first language is English being expected to write down Spanish words correctly. Getting it wrong is something that is easily done.
To successfully access his original wallet again it was necessary to find which of his seed words were wrong and replace them with the correct seed words.
If just one seed word was wrong there would be a possible 2048 different combinations, if 2 seed words were wrong then there would be 2048 x 2048 (4,194,304) possible combinations. 3 wrong seed words is really the maximum that it’s possible to crack currently and using the fastest graphics cards this process can take days or sometimes weeks.
Axie Infinity tokens use the same derivation path as Ethereum so cracking the process from this point of view was quite straightforward. By asking the customer his confidence levels with each word we were able to identify which 3 words he was least confident in being correct.
Identifying the correct seed words took about 24 hours and the client had access to his crypto again.