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Use your Ledger Polkadot/Kusama account on Parachains

This tutorial explains how you can manage your Ledger Polkadot or Kusama accounts on various parachains.

Check the Polkadot wallet page to learn more. 

What is a Parachain? 

Parachains are custom blockchains designed for specific projects, seamlessly integrated into the Polkadot (DOT) and Kusama (KSM) networks.

These parachains can be customized to serve a wide range of purposes and contribute to the main blockchain known as the Relay Chain, which is considered the core of the Polkadot and Kusama networks.

The Relay Chain assumes crucial responsibilities such as ensuring network security, achieving consensus, and settling transactions. By integrating with the Relay Chain, all parachains gain access to the fundamental features provided by the Relay Chain.

You can learn more about parachains on Polkadot Wiki and on Ledger Academy.

Ledger and Parachains

It might be beneficial to use your Polkadot or Kusama Ledger account on parachains, for example for accessing crowdloan rewards or reclaiming mistakenly sent parachain tokens. 

Using the same account across multiple chains has its advantages and disadvantages, which you can explore in detail in this article.

 Important info

Each parachain requires its own app developed for Ledger devices. E.g. for Acala, make sure to download the Acala app on your Ledger device.

Legacy and Crowdloan accounts on Ledger

There are two types of Ledger accounts for Polkadot and Kusama parachains: Legacy and Crowdloan. To determine your current account type, you can open the parachain app on your Ledger device and press the right button twice. The default account type is Legacy.

  • Legacy: This account is exclusive to its respective network and cannot be utilized on other networks. Each parachain has its distinct Legacy account, separate from your Polkadot or Kusama account. Each Legacy account has its own unique private key, although the same recovery phrase grants access to all accounts on your Ledger.
  • Crowdloan: You can use this account across multiple parachains that are connected to the same relay chain. When using a Polkadot parachain app, your Crowdloan account shares the same private key as your Polkadot account. Similarly, Crowdloan accounts on Kusama parachains have the same private key as your Kusama account.

More about participation in crowdloans with Ledger device, read here.

Switching between Legacy and Crowdloan accounts

Follow these steps to set up your account for parachains:

  1. Connect your Ledger device and ensure that you have installed both the Polkadot or Kusama app and the specific parachain app. You can conveniently install and update apps using Ledger Live.

  2. Open the parachain app on your Ledger device. Press the right button to access the Expert mode screen. Then, press both buttons simultaneously to enable Expert mode.
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  3. To view the Account screen, press the right button. If you wish to switch between Legacy and Crowdloan (or vice versa), press both buttons simultaneously.
  4. Carefully review the warnings displayed on the screen. To accept the changes, press both buttons on the Approve screen. If you prefer to reject the changes, proceed to the next screen.
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Congratulations! Your account type has been successfully updated. You can now view your new account type.

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Next steps

Since Ledger Live does not support all the parachains, you may need to use a third-party wallet polkadot.js with your Ledger device to manage your account on a parachain, follow the instructions: Set up and use polkadot.js to access your Ledger Polkadot (DOT) accounts.

For more information about parachains, visit support.polkadot.network.

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