Risky Storage? Ledger S Nano Changing Addresses at Random

Read any cryptocurrency-related community forum or ‘how-to’ guide, and you will no doubt read countless recommendations on the safest possible method of storing your valuable crypto assets. The consensus is, cold storage via hardware wallets like the Ledger S Nano are not only the safest means to secure your valuable crypto assets, but it’s also among the easiest.

But according to recent reports from a variety of Reddit users, it appears that the Ledger S Nano may not be the most reliable after all.

In the r/ledgerwallet community subreddit, a user explains that the address he stored his funds in that was generated using the Ledger with MyEthereumWallet, had suddenly disappeared from the list of addresses available. When a Ledger is used to interact with MyEtherWallet, a series of five Ethereum and erc20 addresses are generated. The list of five addresses stays consistent because these are the addresses generated by the Ledger. Except in this user’s case, upon using his Ledger to interact with MyEtherWallet, the five addresses generated were a fresh, unused set.

So, what happened to this user’s address, and more importantly, his funds? At the time of publishing, the user has had no luck in accessing the original address. Other users were quick to claim ‘user error’ as the root of the issue, but the person experiencing this issue did his due diligence. The user ensured the correct derivation path, correct address, even did a test-send of a small amount of coins and confirming receipt of said coins before moving the rest of his coin balance to the address generated by the Ledger via MEW. 

The funds are still gone, and the next logical steps would be to attempt to recover the BIP39 mnemonic code via the Ian Coleman repository. However, this still led to the second set of MEW addresses, not the lost original that this user sent all his funds to.

In addition to attempting the BIP39 recovery method, this user reported the issue via a ticket on Ledger’s website with no response. Even more concerning is that Ledger removed a support thread containing these complaints. Ledger’s removal of other unrelated support threads caused Reddit users to accuse Ledger of a conspiracy and cover up. Ledger’s CTO left some cold, unapologetic comments regarding Ledger’s innocence, which only led to even more discomfort in the users making the complaints.

While it’s doubtful that Ledger is covering up an issue, there does seem to be validity in this user is experiencing, as many other users have come forth claiming the same issue occurred when using their Ledger with MyEtherWallet. Others have since come forward with their stories, with funds missing since December. Many users are having these issues with other wallets connected to their Ledger. Other users claimed it happened to their NEO wallets, and others their XRP wallet.

With Ledger products being lauded as the safest, most reliable, and secure method of crypto asset storage by users everywhere, Ledger must address these concerns and be responsible for backing up their claims of a secure, reliable experience.