The Other Side of the Coin: User Experiences with Bitcoin Security and Privacy

  • Katharina KrombholzEmail author
  • Aljosha Judmayer
  • Matthias Gusenbauer
  • Edgar Weippl
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9603)


We present the first large-scale survey to investigate how users experience the Bitcoin ecosystem in terms of security, privacy and anonymity. We surveyed 990 Bitcoin users to determine Bitcoin management strategies and identified how users deploy security measures to protect their keys and bitcoins. We found that about 46% of our participants use web-hosted solutions to manage at least some of their bitcoins, and about half of them use exclusively such solutions. We also found that many users do not use all security capabilities of their selected Bitcoin management tool and have significant misconceptions on how to remain anonymous and protect their privacy in the Bitcoin network. Also, 22% of our participants have already lost money due to security breaches or self-induced errors. To get a deeper understanding, we conducted qualitative interviews to explain some of the observed phenomena.


Online Survey Qualitative Interview Security Breach Risk Scenario MITM Attack 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was funded by COMET K1, FFG – Austrian Research Promotion Agency and by FFG Bridge Early Stage 846573 A2Bit. We would also like to thank Martin Mulazzani, Artemios G. Voyiatzis and Matthew Smith for their useful comments and feedback. Furthermore, we would like to thank Elizabeth Stobert for her valuable feedback and for her help in recruiting participants.

Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© International Financial Cryptography Association 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katharina Krombholz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Aljosha Judmayer
    • 1
  • Matthias Gusenbauer
    • 1
  • Edgar Weippl
    • 1
  1. 1.SBA ResearchViennaAustria

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