from the [BIP44 specification][1], the HD derivation path is defined as :

m / purpose' / coin_type' / account' / change / address_index

What does the ' sign means in it?

1 Answer 1


Apostrophe in the path means that its hardened derivation. That means, that for a given wallet its constant.

Notice that the change and the address_index part is not marked as hardened. That's why you can generate multiple addresses for one account in e.g. bitcoin

  • And what will happen if one changes the hardened derivation parth -- purpose or coin_type and then generates several addresses? As long as one remembers this custom path, there's no problem . Not?
    – Camila326
    Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 21:32
  • Theoretically yes, but I can't state that for sure for all networks. Lookup derivation path for ledger legacy Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 4:43
  • I can't state that for sure for all networks -- what do you mean? What issue could there arise? A network doesn't care about the derivation path, nor about its hardened parts either, does it? Only wallets do, because that use the hardcoded derivation paths
    – Camila326
    Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 14:01

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