On the Economics of Anonymity

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Abstract

Decentralized anonymity infrastructures are still not in wide use today. While there are technical barriers to a secure robust design, our lack of understanding of the incentives to participate in such systems remains a major roadblock. Here we explore some reasons why anonymity systems are particularly hard to deploy, enumerate the incentives to participate either as senders or also as nodes, and build a general model to describe the effects of these incentives. We then describe and justify some simplifying assumptions to make the model manageable, and compare optimal strategies for participants based on a variety of scenarios.