Can I Use the Same Account on Polkadot, Kusama, and Parachains? Print
Modified on: Thu, 16 Mar, 2023 at 4:17 PM
This article addresses the question of whether a user can operate with the same account on various networks within the Substrate ecosystem (including Polkadot, Kusama, and their connected parachains), which a user may wish to do for the sake of convenience or organization. Additionally, the article provides tips on how to ensure the account remains secure and accessible.
And the answer is yes. In fact, you can use the same account on most Substrate chains (but not all, since there are exceptions - check the video at the end of the article for a detailed explanation).
Your account uses the same public and private keypair for all chains in the background. Only the address format changes from one chain to the other. To learn more about the accounts and the address formats, you can check this wiki article, and on the same page, you can find conversion tools that convert between address formats on different chains.
Follow these steps to enable your account to be visible across all Substrate chains.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Allow your account on any chain
- Should I use the same account across different chains?
Allow your account on any chain
Depending on where your account is, you need to follow slightly different steps to be able to operate from your account on any Substrate network.
If your account is in the Polkadot extension
1. Open the extension
2. Click on the three dots next to your account
3. Select "Allow use on any chain" in the drop-down menu
4. Refresh the Accounts page on Polkadot-JS UI
If your account is on Polkadot-JS UI
1. On the Accounts page, click on the three dots next to your account.
2. Disable the "only this network" switch
You will notice a orange warning mark next to your account, notifying you that the account is available on all chains.
IMPORTANT FOR LEDGER ACCOUNTS: You can allow a Ledger account on all chains only if it has been added directly on the Polkadot-JS UI. Ledger accounts added in the Polkadot extension cannot be used on all chains.
However, it is strongly recommended that you use a Ledger account only on one network, otherwise you may lose access to your funds. The only exception are Kusama accounts which can be used on Statemin and vice versa.
Should I use the same account across different chains?
That depends on what you're using your account for. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to help you decide:
- You don't have to create different accounts for each network, which means you don't have several mnemonic phrases and JSON files to keep track of.
- It may be necessary to do it if you participated in crowdloans, in order to be able to manage your crowdloan rewards, since these are usually sent to the account you participated with.
- It can get confusing, especially if you use the Polkadot extension, because the address format changes for each chain. The extension shows the generic Substrate format (starts with 5) when the account is set to "Allow use on any chain", but the Polkadot-JS UI, by default, displays the specific format for each chain.
Tip: The account icon remains the same across all chains!
- It creates a single point of failure. If your mnemonic phrase for your account is compromised, your tokens across all chains can be stolen.
- Ledger accounts should be used only on one network! The only exception are Kusama accounts which can be used on Statemine and vice versa.
We also have this educational video that sums up what's been discussed in this article:
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Disclaimer: We always strive to provide you with the best support we can and we take all care to ensure that our instructions are accurate and concise. However, following these instructions properly, as well as the general management of your accounts and funds, is ultimately your responsibility. Web3 Foundation cannot be held liable for any accidental loss of funds or any other damage you might incur.