I recently purchased a Ledger Nano S, and I'm wanting to transfer my Ether from my paper wallet to the new ledger device. Please forgive my ignorance, but I have no idea how I can transfer my Ether using ONLY my private key for my paper wallet. Unfortunately, I no longer have access to the original JSON file that was created for my paper wallet which I had created on "My Ether Wallet .com" some time ago, so my private key is all that I have :[

If someone could take the time to simplify the process, I would be INCREDIBLY grateful, and would also be willing to donate some Ether to you upon my successful migration from paper to ledger.


2 Answers 2


Our full guide can be seen and read here: https://myetherwallet.github.io/knowledge-base/migration/moving-from-private-key-to-ledger-hardware-wallet.html

Basically, use your private key to unlock your wallet on MyEtherWallet and send the funds to the address controlled by your new Ledger device.


The aim of a hardware wallet is to never expose the private keys for the addresses it generates. The wallet doesn't want anybody to ever see those private keys. Instead of trying to determine if you're you, or if you're a hacker, this system just assumes that you're a hacker.

Why assume that can be trusted? If you're you, you shouldn't need to know the private keys to access the assets held on the hardware wallet's addresses when you've got the device's pin number?

With this system, the only time you're ever privy to information that can grant you access to the assets without the device is when you first set it up, and are given the 24 word recovery phrase.

NOTE: Definitely write that phrase down, and keep it very safe and very hidden. If you lose that phrase, and then accidentally drop your hardware wallet into an ocean, you're never accessing the assets on it again.

With this system, you can't access an address on a hardware wallet that was not generated from within that wallet, since that would oppose the intentions behind the device's design (keeping even you from knowing the private key). If you want to access assets on an address that you've used prior getting the hardware wallet (paper wallet, Metamask, dsektop wallet, etc.) then you'll have to send those assets from one address to another.

  • 2
    Please try to make your answer precise and relevant to the question. Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 7:07
  • I find this answer insightful. It basically tells you that you can't import your private key, because that would break the security concept of the hardware ledger and that the 24 word recovery phrase will be your new thing you need to protect.
    – Daniel F
    Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 12:00
  • 1
    I mean, the answer talks about never exposing the key, and then explains that the key is exposed with a 24-word seed phrase. So if it is, actually, okay to write it down, then why can’t I import my own phrase?
    – hayesgm
    Commented Sep 17, 2018 at 19:01

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