Uncovering Impact of Mental Models towards Adoption of Multi-device Crypto-Wallets
IACR Cryptology ePrint Archive
The ever-increasing cohort of cryptocurrency users saw a sharp increase in different types of crypto-wallets in the past decade. However, different wallets are non-uniformly adopted in the population today; Specifically, emerging multi-device wallets, even with improved security and availability guarantees over their counterparts, are yet to receive proportionate attention and adoption. This work presents a data-driven investigation into the perceptions of cryptocurrency users towards
... ce wallets today, using a survey of 255 crypto-wallet users. Our results revealed two significant groups within our participants-Newbies and Non-newbies. These two groups statistically significantly differ in their usage of crypto-wallets. However, both of these groups were concerned with the possibility of their keys getting compromised and yet are unfamiliar with the guarantees offered by multi-device wallets. After educating the participants about the more secure multi-device wallets, around 70% of the participants preferred them; However, almost one-third participants were still not comfortable using them. Our qualitative analysis revealed a gap between the actual security guarantees and mental model for these participants-they were afraid that using multi-device wallets will result in losing control over keys (and in effect funds) due to distribution of key shares. We also investigated the preferred default settings for crypto-wallets across our participants, since multi-device wallets allow a wide range of key-share distribution settings. In the distributed server settings of the multi-device wallets, the participants preferred a smaller number of reputed servers (as opposed to a large non-reputed pool). Moreover, considerations about threat model further affected their preferences, signifying a need for contextualizing default settings. We conclude the discussion by identifying concrete, actionable design avenues for future multi-device wallet developers to improve adoption.