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How cryptocurrency users balance risks that could lead to loss and how this influences their decision making.

Published:

Jul 1, 2020

Paper Title:

Don't lose your coin! Investigating Security Practices of Cryptocurrency Users

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Abstract

In recent years, cryptocurrencies have increasingly gained interest. The underlying technology, Blockchain, shifts the responsibility for securing assets to the end-user and requires them to manage their (private) keys. Little attention has been given to how cryptocurrency users handle the challenges of key management in practice and how they select the tools to do so. To close this gap, we conducted semi-structured interviews (N=10). Our thematic analysis revealed prominent themes surrounding motivation, risk assessment, and coin management tool usage in practice. We found that the choice of tools is driven by how users assess and balance the key risks that can lead to loss: the risk of (1) human error, (2) betrayal, and (3) malicious attacks. We derive a model, explaining how risk assessment and intended usage drive the decision which tools to use. Our work is complemented by discussing design implications for building systems for the crypto economy.

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