A First Look at the Usability of Bitcoin Key Management
Download: Paper (PDF)
Date: 7 Feb 2015
Document Type: Briefing Papers
Additional Documents: Slides
Associated Event: NDSS Symposium 2015
Bitcoin users are directly or indirectly forced to deal with public key cryptography, which has a number of security and usability challenges that differ from the password-based authentication underlying most online banking services. Users must ensure that keys are simultaneously accessible, resistant to digital theft and resilient to loss. In this paper, we contribute an evaluation framework for comparing Bitcoin key management approaches, and conduct a broad usability evaluation of six representative Bitcoin clients. We find that Bitcoin shares many of the fundamental challenges of key management known from other domains, but that Bitcoin may present a unique opportunity to rethink key management for end users.