Eggs in One Basket: Security and Convenience of Digital Currencies
47 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2020
Date Written: September, 2020
Digital currencies store balances in anonymous electronic addresses. We analyze the trade-offs between safety and convenience of aggregating balances in addresses, electronic wallets and banks. In our model agents balance the risk of theft of a large account with the cost to safeguarding a large number of passwords of many small accounts. Account custodians (banks, wallets and other payment service providers) have different objectives and tradeoffs on these dimensions; we analyze the welfare effects of differing industry structures and interdependencies, and in particular the consequences of "password aggregation" programs which in effect consolidate risks across accounts.
Keywords: digital currencies, wallets, hacking, theft, welfare
JEL Classification: E42, E51, E58
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation