Why You Should Buy a VPN With Cryptocurrency
All kinds of people use VPNs to free up what they can do online – or what they can do undetected.
That includes accessing content that’s censored by your government, blocked by your institution or that hasn’t been made available in your region. It means browsing or watching things that you don’t want your internet provider, employer or the authorities to know that you’re looking at. It means connecting to public WiFi without worrying about cybercriminals on the same network from hacking into your device or spying on personal data and passwords. Or it simply means going about your digital day free from annoyances like retargeted ads, because marketers can’t track your activities.
Whatever your reasons for using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), the keyword here is “private”. The whole point of a tool that bypasses internet restrictions or prevents you from being monitored is that you are rendered anonymous while you use it.
As such, it stands to reason that you might not want others to know that you’re buying or using a VPN in the first place. Especially if the thing you’re using a VPN for puts you on the shaky legal ground or could attract the negative attention of the authorities.
In fact, in some countries such as China, VPNs themselves are actually banned. As we’ll discuss in-depth in this article, this can make buying a VPN a challenge in itself, and how perhaps you should look to buy via cryptocurrency VPN securely.
The Problem with Purchasing a VPN
All around the world, VPNs offer netizens a prized ticked to internet freedom. In countries with strict internet laws, this technology can provide the only way to access banned or restricted media, whether that’s news reporting that criticizes the government, video streaming sites like Netflix and BBC iPlayer, or porn.
As we talked about above, depending on how you use a VPN, you could be either inadvertently or entirely deliberately breaking the law. Indeed, the very act of buying a VPN could possibly constitute a crime, depending on your country of residence. Even if you’re well within your rights, you probably don’t want to have to deal with suspicious questions about why you’ve chosen to route all your internet traffic through a VPN.
This makes many would-be VPN buyers nervous or uncomfortable about using their credit card or debit card to pay for their chosen platform. This involves handing over your real name and your financial details. It creates a paper trail linking you to the purchase of a VPN.
It’s pretty unlikely that this would ever cause you any trouble. There is only a tiny chance that your government would ever be able to get their hands on your VPN provider’s internal data on customers and payment records. Especially when many of these companies are based in countries with watertight privacy laws and no obligation to collaborate with foreign governments.
But while leaks and hacks are comparatively rare, especially for companies so concerned with security, they do happen.
… And if this does ever happen to your VPN provider, you may want to take extra steps to protect your privacy and anonymity.
One excellent way to achieve this is by paying for your subscription to a cryptocurrency VPN (VPNs that accept Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies). This won’t be attached to your bank or any cards you have. Provided your real name or any identity markers aren’t linked to your cryptocurrency account, or that you haven’t announced your public keys, this means the purchase can’t be traced back to you.
How to Use Cryptocurrency to Buy a VPN
There are many top VPNs that accept Bitcoin, while a growing number allow you to make a payment in other cryptocurrencies. Bear in mind that the subscription price will be linked, typically, to the advertised dollar amount, so your cryptocurrency payment will probably fluctuate each year depending on its current market price.
The easiest way to pay with cryptocurrency is through PayPal, which makes it easy to link to your crypto accounts. Again, don’t forget that if your PayPal account displays your real name or usual email address, you’ll lose the benefit of anonymity. In other words, consider setting up a crypto-only, anonymous PayPal account for total privacy.
When choosing a VPN to buy with crypto, there are a few important things to look out for. You don’t want to go to all that trouble only to pick a VPN company you can’t really trust with your data or privacy anyway!
First of all, ensure that the provider doesn’t keep any logs of your online activity or your real IP address – and that they can’t run queries on past connection data to rat you out to the authorities if requested!
Connection logs take a timestamp of your connection, your source IP (as in, where you’re really connecting from), and the IP of the VPN you’ve been routed into. In other words, if you’re relying on this for anonymity and someone got hold of your connection log, you’d be busted. You might reasonably assume that VPNs don’t take connection logs, but many do. In fact, in some countries, they are legally obliged to. Pay very close attention to what the provider is offering to ensure that your chosen VPN can assure you they do not record or retain connection logs.
It should also ensure that you’re rerouted onto a shared, dynamic IP address so that your online behavior can never be connected back to you alone. Very strong encryption at the best, latest protocols is a must. Look out for companies that guarantee DNS leak protection, ensuring that there are no weak points in the chain and your connection stays secure from end to end.
And of course, make sure that it actually delivers the speed and reliability you need to use it for your chosen purpose. If it’s a pain to use or it grinds to a halt, you’ll be tempted to switch it off, which kind of defeats the point.
Obviously, before you start comparing these factors and features, double-check that the company does actually allow you to make a purchase using Bitcoin or your chosen alternative cryptocurrency!
Cryptocurrency VPN: Which Brands Let You Buy Anonymously?
Will all that in mind, let’s take a look at four of our favorite VPNs that accept Bitcoin or allow you to purchase the product using a cryptocurrency via PayPal.
Payment method: PayPal + Bitcoin
ExpressVPN has more than 1,500 servers in 94 countries, meaning you have plenty of connection options and can access media pretty much anywhere in the world.
One of the biggest appeals of using ExpressVPN is that it works on an extremely wide variety of platforms. It’s certainly the most flexible one we’ve come across. That includes common Windows and Mac computers and laptops, iPhones, Android devices and browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Using the ExpressVPN MediaStreamer, you can also use it for your Xbox, Playstation, Amazon Firestick or AppleTV. Or you can put it straight onto your router to protect everything that connects to WiFi right from the source.
You can use your ExpressVPN subscription simultaneously on up to three devices. This might not sound like a lot, but if you decide to install it on your router or virtual machine you can essentially cover a lot more using just one of these.
Thanks to this simultaneous connection support and the router installation option, you can also offer geolocation protection to everyone using the subscription and decide to have it as an “always on” function in your home or your office. Even better, you have unlimited bandwidth on all connections. You can stream as much video as you want or play games to your heart’s content without your connection ever getting strangled.
When it comes to privacy, ExpressVPN scores very highly, too. They’ve engineered their system to prevent the storing of connection logs. As a result, even if a government tried to force them to hand over information, they wouldn’t be able to. They can’t query data they don’t have, after all.
Even the cryptocurrency VPN’s crash reports strip out any personally identifiable information so that this can’t be connected back to any particular user. You can also turn off these crash reports if they make you nervous, anyway.
The company also takes extra steps to protect users in higher-risk countries, where browsing activity could be tampered with by shady figures more easily. ExpressVPN has created a .onion site that thwarts exit node tracking.
Payment method: PayPal + Bitcoin
It may not be as well known as some other VPN providers like ExpressVPN, but CyberGhost is proving to be a serious contender. Most servers are very fast, there are plenty of them and the program is powerful enough to unblock Netflix. Plus, there’s a free version, so you can try it out before deciding to invest in the paid option.
You can use CyberGhost on a broad range of operating systems and devices. It works with Windows, Macs, Android, Linux, and Chrome, and you can also install it on your home router. The latter allows you to extend use further than the five simultaneous connections CyberGhost allows.
CyberGhost also has an all-important no logs policy and has worked hard to tackle security issues. For example, after some experts pointed out that the root certificate installed by the program increased the risk of a successful Man-in-the-Middle attack, the company released an updated version (CyberGhost 6) that scrapped the approach. It adheres to the robust SHA256 authentication algorithm and deploys excellent encryption measures.
Here’s the problem, though: it’s based in Romania, i.e. in the European Union. While the EU does enforce strong data privacy protection for consumers, you won’t get quite the same level as you would in places like, say, Bermuda or the British Virgin Islands. As in, places where private companies have a long and notorious history of refusing to share information with overseas governments or regulatory bodies.
The Europe-focused selection of servers is also a limitation. Just under a fifth of CyberGhost’s servers are located in the US. While that’s still a fair amount, when you consider the fact that this is one of the most popular countries to connect to, it could potentially put a lot of pressure on these servers.
Payment methods: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple
This is one of the most popular cryptocurrency VPNs out there and continues to grow in popularity. That’s thanks to a combination of speed, a staggering number of servers (4400 across more than 60 countries), compatibility with all different platforms and unique cybersecurity features. It allows up to six simultaneous connections.
NordVPN is based in Panama, which doesn’t implement data retention or reporting rules and thus helps protect your anonymity. It also has a no-log policy – the only information they’ll keep about you is your email address and billing information. Meaning that if you use a non-identifying email address and pay with crypto, you should be able to fly under the radar even if that data was ever leaked.
If you’re really paranoid, you can even go for the double VPN option, which tunnels and encrypts your internet traffic twice over by daisy-chaining networks. NordVPN has 17 of these types of servers, with some based in the US and the UK. It also has an ongoing feature for Tor browsers and servers specifically designed for maximum protection against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks while minimizing the risk of interruptions. The latter is particularly useful for online gamers.
You can also choose whether to route your traffic through a dedicated-IP VPN server, an obfuscated server or a standard one from the sprawling international network. One potential drawback, though, is that despite all those servers and locations, you don’t get to choose the specific city you want to connect to.
NordVPN takes anonymity extremely seriously. To get an idea of this, try searching for the names or details of the board and staff members. It’s all very secretive – and they’ll extend that courtesy to you.
Payment options: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple
Surfshark is another solid, reliable VPN option that permits payment in several different cyber currencies. Again, it adopts a comprehensive no-logs policy using state-of-the-art encryption to keep customers totally safe and secure. In fact, it uses military-grade AES 256-bit encryption (the same as that adopted by the US government), is strongly committed to protecting the anonymity of users and employs excellent in-house security to keep your data safe.
Surfshark uses the OpenVPN protocol in combination with an IKEv2 protocol to maximize user security. This, combined with its powerful encryption, means no one is breaking through to spy on your online activity, even when you’re on a weakly-protected public WiFi connection.
One of its most compelling benefits, which separates it from much of the competition, is the fact that it allows unlimited connections. That means you can install it on as many devices as you like, using them wherever you want, without having to install it on your WiFi router and connect that way.
And finally, of course, Surfshark does not collect or keep activity logs. It’s also based in the British Virgin Islands, which is super privacy-orientated, has no reporting obligations agreements with overseas governments and is not required to keep logs of any kind.
You can use your Surfshark VPN connection for P2P and torrenting, streaming video or anything else you want to do online, thanks to its excellent connection speeds. Oh, and there’s a kill switch, so if you happen to lose connection to the internet for a moment, it won’t let you accidentally reconnect unprotected until the VPN kicks back in.
As a side note: in many more repressive countries, Bitcoin is banned and you can’t access exchanges. That’s just one more reason to use a VPN, as you’ll be able to unblock these sites and continue to trade your cryptocurrencies without any trouble or detection.
Most people use VPNs for entirely legal purposes. We certainly aren’t going to encourage you to do otherwise. But if you are going to push the limits of what you’re allowed to view in your country, make sure you keep yourself as safe and secure as possible while you do it.
That means, at the bare minimum, using a VPN to stay anonymous and protected. But as we’ve seen, the very act of buying a VPN can attract unwanted attention. Paying with cryptocurrency that isn’t tied to your real name is the perfect way to protect your privacy even if your payment data or purchase history is every exposed. Stay safe out there, and happy browsing!