Best VPN for Using Bitcoin in 2019
After a bad year in 2018, Bitcoin is making a strong comeback and looks set to return to its pre-2017 form with its prices higher than ever. Do you fancy yourself as a bit of a cryptocurrency tycoon? There’s no reason why not, after all, plenty of beginner traders have made impressive returns on their investments, but not without taking some risks.
The potential to make a significant return always goes hand-in-hand with substantial risk and there are, inevitably, dangers involved in any investment, not least when dealing with a volatile asset like cryptocurrency.
Although some investment strategies may protect you against certain risks, when it comes to the vulnerability of an online currency, a VPN is the only viable option, keeping your original IP address hidden, encrypting your wallet, and enabling you to trade in any country, even those where cryptocurrency dealing has been banned.
Best VPNs for Bitcoin
#1: ExpressVPN – Best VPN For Bitcoin
Remember that kid in school who was always top of the class and great at sport? Well, ExpressVPN is their cybersecurity equivalent. At the same time as achieving top marks for privacy, ExpressVPN has nailed its practical technology, creating some of the most unbreakable encryption code in the industry.
While you don’t need fast speeds for cryptocurrency transactions, it’s still good to know ExpressVPN has that capacity, while ensuring none of your sensitive information leaks as a result of sudden connection failures.
Privacy and security are the main concerns of anyone with a Bitcoin wallet or investment and ExpressVPN is the best way to perform truly anonymous cryptocurrency transactions.
Although Bitcoins are supposed to be untraceable, any transaction performed on a private internet connection can be traced back to the user via their IP address. A VPN that effectively hides your original IP address and gives you the freedom to use any one of thousands of fake IP addresses instead is offering you a valuable layer of invisibility and will give your online anonymity the boost it requires.
Not only will ExpressVPN keep your online transactions safe, but it also allows users to pay in Bitcoin, making their relationship with the VPN provider extra secure. If you pay with Bitcoin and use a separate email address for your ExpressVPN account, there is nothing that can link you to your VPN account, meaning you’re not even visible to your VPN provider.
While that extra layer of protection isn’t really necessary with a VPN provider as reliable as ExpressVPN, for other online purchases, it’s a huge bonus, but only if those transactions and wallets are encrypted by one of the best VPNs for Bitcoin.
#2: Surfshark VPN – Best Cheap Alternative
Cybersecurity experts all over the world have been watching and waiting to see if Surfshark would sink or swim, but it shows no sign of weakening its threat to ExpressVPN just yet. Highly competitive prices are probably an indication of its need to grow, while the superfast speeds come as something of a surprise from a VPN with such a small distribution of servers.
In terms of security, Surfshark VPN has all the standard security protocols available and uses the same level of encryption as that utilized by financial institutions and military organizations. To say it’s reliable is an understatement. Like ExpressVPN, Surfshark has the capacity to mask your IP address, thereby ensuring all your transactions, be they in crypto or traditional currency, are anonymous as well as encoded.
Not only does Surfshark VPN have cost-effective packages available, but it also allows for unlimited simultaneous connections regardless of which pricing tier you opt for. This is great for large families who value security as they browse. An inbuilt kill switch will ensure your data isn’t leaked during a connection failure while their location in the British Virgin Islands reduces concerns about data retention to an absolute minimum.
While ExpressVPN has many years of experience under its belt, Surfshark is still reliant on inflatable swimming aids but has so far shown itself more than capable of surviving in the fiercely competitive waters of virtual anonymity.
#3: CyberGhost VPN – Best for Beginners
One of the biggest security issues for cryptocurrency investors is the risk that hackers pose to their online assets. Earlier this year, the Cryptopia network was hacked and the perpetrators made off with somewhere in the region of $16m. Reports suggest that, although Cryptopia was aware of the attack, they were powerless against it and saw over 76 thousand wallets bleed money over a four-day period.
It is this kind of cyberattack that CyberGhost VPN may be able to prevent by ensuring that all your traffic, including your wallet key, is kept encrypted and therefore inaccessible to anyone but you. In the past, CyberGhost has been forced to fight off allegations of logging and has done so with transparency and style. Back in the days of CyberGhost being a free VPN service, it did things a little differently, but now the free version has fallen by the wayside, CyberGhost has upped its game and is ready to take on the big guns.
By creating an anonymous tunnel through which you can access your Bitcoin wallet, CyberGhost ensures that no third parties can track any of your online activities or cyber currency transactions. With a global network of over 3,500 servers, CyberGhost VPN is also effective at getting around any geographical restrictions put in place by governments, not in favor of cyber currency trading.
CyberGhost VPN is extremely user-friendly and its interface is specifically designed to appeal to those with less experience of the digital world. Although easy to use, CyberGhost VPN is surprisingly powerful, giving the best VPNs in the field a run for their money in terms of both security and speed.
Want to find out more? See our full review here.
#4: NordVPN – Perfect for Paranoid Purveyors
Like ExpressVPN, NordVPN has been around for some time and in that time has developed its security to an impressive level. Although NordVPN may not achieve the same speed or consistency of connection as ExpressVPN does, it does offer access to a huge selection of over 5,000 servers and has some nice additional security features that make it one of the best VPNs for Bitcoin.
For extra anonymity, you can use NordVPN’s Double VPN feature which will then see your traffic traveling through two or more secure servers rather than just one. Surfshark VPN has a similar feature available with its Multi-Hop option and both will give you double the encryption and double the peace of mind.
Of course, an important aspect of any VPN for Bitcoin is that the provider itself accepts cryptocurrency as a payment option which NordVPN does. The fact that this fully-featured, highly secure and impressively reliable VPN is knocked down to fourth place is indicative of the strong competition in the cybersecurity industry and you can rest assured that if you opt for any of these top VPNs for Bitcoin, you’ll be as safe as houses. Well, as safe as a digital house anyway.
Like the other contenders in our top VPNs for Bitcoin, NordVPN is based outside the US and far away from the prying eyes of the various international data sharing alliances, such as the Five and 14 Eyes. For all four of our best VPNs, this means they are under no jurisdiction to keep any information pertaining to your online activities, payment process, IP address or any other sensitive data. The benefit of this is that they can’t hand over what they don’t actually have, so, even if you were suspected of stealing Bitcoin from China, a VPN like NordVPN wouldn’t be able to hand over any evidence that would deny or confirm such allegations.
Privacy is vital for those using the internet for investment purposes or to perform online transactions, which is why a guaranteed and trustworthy no-logging VPN, like NordVPN, is a necessity when it comes to your online security. You can find our full review here.
Common Cryptocurrency Crimes
Many of the threats that affect Bitcoin investors are the same cyberthreats that challenge everyone, they’re just a little more serious when you’ve got hundreds of Bitcoins floating around in cyberspace. As with any online account, as soon as you sign up for a Bitcoin wallet, you’ll be targeted with cryptocurrency advertising. Just as people exploit online dating sites, so they also exploit cryptocurrency users, hoping to scam them out of a Bitcoin or two. Some of the most common cyberthreats for Bitcoin users include:
Basically a form of online blackmail, a cybercriminal will claim to have hacked into your device and have access to all your files and documents. The perpetrator will then demand a Bitcoin ransom in exchange for returning your files and reinstating your access. They may even claim to have used your webcam to catch you in some nefarious act you’d rather others didn’t know about. To keep the footage confidential, you’ll be asked to make a Bitcoin payment.
While a VPN can offer some protection against this type of threat, an effective firewall and antivirus program are also useful forms of defense. Because a VPN masks your real IP address, it makes it more difficult for hackers to locate and identify your device and therefore target it.
Phishing can occur either via a website or through a direct email. This type of cyber attack attempts to get the user to click on a link to a fake website. Once there, you’ll be encouraged to share sensitive data, such as your credit card information, which is then used to hack into your various online accounts. Although a VPN can’t really protect you against phishing, it will warn you should you visit a malicious website and block the majority of phishing emails.
Malware is similar to ransomware in that it is a piece of software that is unknowingly installed into your device. Malware, however, exploits security vulnerabilities in an effort to give someone else access to your IP address, send spam from your email account, and steal sensitive data. Malware can render your device virtually unusable, so although getting rid of it isn’t quite as challenging as it used to be, you may well lose data along the way, so prevention is preferable to the cure. A good antivirus program is the best way to prevent malware infections, although a VPN is effective insofar as it prevents hackers from discovering your real IP address and encrypts all your online traffic, making it more difficult for a cybercriminal to gain access to your device in the first place.
This growing cyber threat is not dissimilar to identity theft but tends to be temporary. In the world of cryptocurrency, an impersonator will usually wait for a moment of opportunity, for example, when the person they’re planning on impersonating publishes a new post. Once live, the impersonator will follow up on the post with a call to action or message. The intention is usually to get their hands on your wallet and some criminals, like those who stole from cryptocurrency investor Michael Terpin, will impersonate an investor and get that person’s friends to transfer money into their account and boost their illegal earnings. There is little a VPN can do to prevent this type of cyberthreat, although it can encrypt your traffic and therefore make it more difficult for the perpetrator to hack into your social media accounts and impersonate you online.
5. Ponzi and Pyramids
This type of financial scam has been around since men were exchanging beans rather than trading digital currencies and usually involves asking for a small investment and then providing a high return on that by using the money from other investors. After the initial payout, most investors will then put more money into the scheme, at which point the returns usually come crashing to a halt. At any point, in any financial investment, if someone offers a deal that’s too good to be true, then it is probably neither true nor good and should be avoided. Unfortunately, there is little a VPN or antivirus can do to protect you against this type of scam, so practicing safe browsing behavior is the only security you have.
Best Practice and Safe Trading Protocols
In establishing what some of the most common cyber threats are to your cryptocurrency account and transactions, we’ve also determined that a VPN is a useful but not failsafe form of online security. Keeping your digital currency safe is challenging, but if you take these following points onboard, you should be able to stop your Bitcoin from leaking through the cracks and hacks.
1. Change of Address
Hierarchical Deterministic Wallets are all the rage because they use sophisticated algorithms to generate a new address for each transaction. This makes your digital currency much harder to trace and discourages opportunistic cybercriminals.
2. Use a VPN
The best VPNs for Bitcoin are those that don’t keep any logs of their users’ online activities. All the VPNs we’ve mentioned in this article are trustworthy no-logging VPNs that will hide your real IP address and make tracking your digital footprint virtually impossible.
3. Use Tor
A Tor, or The Onion Router, is similar to a VPN insofar as it encrypts your traffic and allows you to browse anonymously. Some of the best VPNs for Bitcoin, like NordVPN for example, offer a combination of VPN and Tor to give you double the security. Tor prevents your VPN from seeing your online activities, while the VPN shields you against any potential Tor leaks. It won’t be fast and furious, but it will be super-safe.
The future of Bitcoin is as uncertain as it’s ever been, but as the cryptocurrency reaches an all-time high, so people are responding to the lure of a big return. Unfortunately, as with every other aspect of online life, dealing in cryptocurrencies carries with it some inherent risks. Not only could you lose everything when the price plummets, but you could also be exploited by a variety of cyber threats, as discussed above.
While one of the best VPNs for Bitcoin will go some way to keeping your wallet safe and secure, it can’t necessarily protect you against Ponzi schemes or malware, so adopting safe online protocols when dealing with Bitcoin is essential. According to Forbes, many of these threats and potential risks could be incapacitated with the introduction of Artificial Intelligence into cryptocurrency systems, but, in the meantime, investing in a VPN is one way to give yourself at least some level of protection.
It may be tempting to opt for the first VPN you see, but this would be a huge mistake, with many VPNs containing malware and many others keeping logs even when they claim not to. Choosing the wrong VPN is tantamount to putting all your banking details live on social media so, rather than risk losing your digital wallet or, worse still, your identity, take the time to find a reputable VPN that really will keep your identity a secret and Bitcoins secure.