Why People (Don’t) Adopt Cryptocurrencies

Over the last years, crypto-assets have gained significant interest from private investors, academia, and industry. While the user population and their motivations, perceptions, and behaviors have been studied, non-adopters and factors influencing their decision have been left unexplored.

Our work fills this knowledge gap and sheds light on the effects of trust, perceived self-efficacy, and risk, which have been shown to be the key antecedents to technology acceptance, on the adoption intention of non-users. We propose and empirically test a theoretical model that explains the adoption intention of crypto-assets among those, who decided against using them.

The validity of the model is assessed in a structural equation model analysis of 204 non-users. Results revealed that trust is a critical factor affecting adoption intention, with perceived self-efficacy having a mediating effect. Building on the results, practical recommendations are offered that could lower the entry barriers and facilitate the adoption of crypto-assets.

You can find more information in the paper:

Voskobojnikov, A., Abramova, S., Beznosov, K., and Böhme, R. Non-Adoption of Crypto-Assets: Exploring the Role of Trust, Self-Efficacy, and Risk. In Proceedings of the Twenty-Ninth European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS). (virtual) Marrakesh, Morocco, 2021.


Tune In At CHI 2021 And Learn More About LERSSE’s Research

This year, three LERSSE papers got accepted at the most prestigious conference on Human-Computer Interaction (CHI 2021) and we invite you
to join the presenters in the sessions to learn more about the research studies conducted at LERSSE.

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Why Mobile Crypto-Wallets Are Hard to Use

Over the past years, the cryptocurrency domain has grown substantially. As of May 2021, there exist over 6,000 different cryptocurrencies with a combined worth of over $2.5 trillion USD. The corresponding user base has also changed significantly and is no longer only made up of cypherpunks and computer experts as was the case in the early days of Bitcoin. One of the main reasons for this phenomenon is widely accessible software tools that lowered the entry barriers and made it possible to purchase and own cryptocurrencies with a single click. Managing these cryptocurrencies, however, has been found to be challenging for the users and it remains largely unknown what features of current wallets contribute to the poor UX, why, and to what extent.

In a corpus of 45,821 app reviews of the top five mobile cryptocurrency wallets, we identified and qualitatively
analyzed 6,859 reviews pertaining to the user experience (UX) with those wallets. Our analysis suggests that both new and experienced users
struggle with general and domain-specific UX issues that, aside from frustration and disengagement, might lead to dangerous errors and
irreversible monetary losses. We reveal shortcomings of current wallet UX as well as users’ misconceptions, some of which can be traced back
to a reliance on their understanding of conventional payment systems. For example, some users believed that transactions were free, reversible,
and could be canceled anytime, which is not the case in reality. Correspondingly, these beliefs often resulted in unmet expectations.
Based on our findings, we provide recommendations on how to design cryptocurrency wallets that both alleviate the identified issues and
counteract some of the misconceptions in order to better support newcomers.

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On the Heterogeneous Behaviors of the Crypto-Asset Users


Crypto-assets are unique in tying financial wealth to the secrecy of private keys. Prior empirical work has attempted to study end-user security from both technical and organizational perspectives. However, the link between individual’s risk perceptions and security behavior was often obscured by the heterogeneity of the subjects in small samples. This paper contributes quantitative results from a survey of 395 crypto-asset users recruited by a novel combination of deep and broad sampling. The analysis accounts for heterogeneity with a new typology that partitions the sample in three robust clusters – cypherpunks, hodlers, and rookies, – using five psychometric constructs. The constructs originate from established behavioral theories with items purposefully adapted to the domain. We demonstrate the utility of this typology in better understanding users’ characteristics and security behaviors. These insights inform the design of crypto-asset solutions, guide risk communication, and suggest recommendations for future digital currencies.


You can find more information in the paper:

Abramova, S., Voskobojnikov, A. (website, LinkedIn), Beznosov, K., & Böhme, R. (2021). Bits Under the Mattress: Understanding Different Risk Perceptions and Security Behaviors of Crypto-Asset Users. In Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

The following video provides a quick overview of the research:



You can also watch the full video presentation of the paper at CHI 2021 below.

Why Implicit Authentication is Hard to Understand

Implicit authentication (IA) has recently become a popular approach for providing physical security on smartphones. It relies on behavioural traits (e.g., gait patterns) for user identification, instead of biometric data or knowledge of a PIN. However, it is not yet known whether users can understand the semantics of this technology well enough to use it properly. In a study conducted by PhD students Masoud Mehrabi Koushki, Borke Obada-Obieh, and Samsung Researcher Jun Ho Huh, we investigated how Android’s Smart Lock (SL), which is the first widely deployed IA solution on smartphones, is understood by its users. 

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