Question about Master Seeds & key generation

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Question about Master Seeds & key generation
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If I buy a hardware wallet, say a Ledger Nano S, I've read that I get given a master seed which is the key underlying piece of information I need to recover my private keys if that Nano S gets stolen or lost , etc. 

I'm confused about one step in that process though: how does my master seed in the Ledger set up create different private keys that work on different blockchains (i.e. Bitcoin and Ethereum and Decred, etc)? Why do I not need a master seed for every blockchain I'm using?

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Hi Ben!

So think of master seed generated through your seed phrase, as a top tier key (or an xPub or Extended Public Key). Since most wallets and blockchains follow a particular seed generation standard (BIP39, BIP32), you are able to recover the master public key or the xPub and thus, the attached accounts using your seed phrase (which is converted into the master seed).

You should have a look at the documentation for BIP32 (Hierarchical Deterministic Wallets) and BIP39 (Mnemonic Generation) here for a more thorough understanding. More specifically, the documentation here offers a visual representation of how your master seed can generate wallets, addresses, etc.

I hope that helps!

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