Virtual private networks exist to restore as much anonymity and online privacy as possible. They do this by encrypting data that leaves your device, sealing it up in an envelope of cryptographic code that makes it impossible for anyone to take a peek inside. Identifying details such as your location and IP address are then removed, allowing you to surf, stream, and check social media in complete privacy.
There’s a catch to the VPN experience, however. If you sign up with an account you have to enter a payment method. Most users stick with credit cards or PayPal transfers for the sake of convenience. This immediately attaches your personal information to the account, making it theoretically possible to trace VPN activity back to you.
Nobody wants a leak in their privacy shield. To boost your anonymity and stay safe online, your best bet is to use a VPN that accepts cryptocurrency transactions. By paying for your VPN with Bitcoin, you can keep your name out of things and enjoy heightened security everywhere you go.
- 1 The Basics of Bitcoin
- 2 Best VPNs to Pay with Bitcoin
- 3 More Information about Bitcoin and VPNs
- 4 Conclusion
The Basics of Bitcoin
Bitcoins are unlike any common currency most people are familiar with. Bitcoin banks don’t exist, no country issues bitcoins as payment, and the bitcoins themselves aren’t even physical, they exist only in the digital world. This makes things complicated and mysterious to the average user. (Related reading: Are Cryptocurrencies Safe and Legal to Use?) Fortunately you don’t have to be a high level expert to pay with bitcoins.
You’re going to run into a lot of unfamiliar terms while perusing the Bitcoin world. Don’t get lost in the jargon! Below are a few common words and phrases along with a quick definition.
- Blockchain – The distributed public ledger that verifies transactions. This is bitcoin’s version of a team of accountants or a bank, and it’s what makes the system unique and reliable.
- Cryptocurrency – Any decentralized digital currency, including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Monero, NEO, Ripple, etc.
- Exchange – Bitcoin exchange sites are companies that exist to turn your currency into cryptocurrency.
- Exchange rate – Bitcoins have no set value. Instead, you buy and sell them like you would foreign currency or stocks. At any moment bitcoins are worth different amounts in your local currency.
- Mining – The process of verifying bitcoin transactions. Miners maintain the blockchain and get small bitcoin rewards in exchange for their work.
- Wallet – A digital storage method for bitcoins. Wallets hold your bitcoins and are used to both send and receive payments.
How to Get Bitcoin
Getting your hands on some bitcoin isn’t the same as earning hard currency. You can buy bitcoin just like you buy food or clothes. You can sell them for a loss or a profit. You can even store them until a later date to see if you can net a huge gain.
The best way to get bitcoin is to sign up with a cryptocurrency exchange. Companies like Coinbase, KuCoin, Coinmama, or Kraken let you create an account, attach payment methods such as credit cards or bank accounts, then buy and store bitcoin through their interface. You’ll pay a small fee for the convenience, but it’s by far the best way to start using cryptocurrencies to pay for things like VPN services.
To get your first bitcoin, we recommend using Coinbase. Sign up with an account, verify your identity, then follow their easy interface to buy your first digital currency.
How to Pay with Bitcoin
Believe it or not, paying with bitcoin is arguably easier than sending a PayPal or credit card payment. All you need is a bitcoin wallet, which you’ll have access to if you purchased bitcoin on an exchange. Go to your VPN and initiate the subscription process. Choose to pay with bitcoins. Copy your “send” wallet address and paste it into the VPN’s interface. The amount will be taken from your bitcoin storage and processed within minutes. (Related reading: How to Keep Your Wallet Protected)
Notes about Paying with Bitcoins
You don’t need to be an expert in blockchain technology to use bitcoins. There are a few things you should be aware of when making cryptocurrency transactions, however.
- Bitcoin transactions are irreversible – There’s no way to undo or cancel a bitcoin transaction. Once you spend it, it’s gone, no refunds allowed. Some retailers and VPN services handle returns themselves, but by default bitcoin payments can’t be undone.
- Bitcoin isn’t entirely anonymous – Using bitcoins means removing most identifiable information from your transaction, but keep in mind they’re not completely anonymous. It’s possible, though difficult, to track payments to wallets and match those wallets with your location.
- Some fees are involved – Each transaction requires a small mining fee, which powers the bitcoin network and keeps payments reliable. These fees can vary from day to day, but on the whole they’re much less than a PayPal surcharge or ATM withdraw fee, for example.
- Recurring payments aren’t available – Because wallet addresses change constantly, conveniences like recurring payments usually aren’t possible with bitcoin. Some VPNs work around this using alternative methods, but by and large you’ll have to manually pay each time your subscription renews.
Best VPNs to Pay with Bitcoin
Ready to secure your online activities and lock down your identity with cryptocurrency anonymity? Below are some of the best VPNs you can subscribe to using bitcoins.
1. ExpressVPN – Fastest VPN
ExpressVPN is an all-around superb VPN, one that goes to great lengths to ensure you have the fastest, most reliable experience possible. The company runs a network that covers hundreds of servers in 94 different locations, all of which are accessible anywhere in the world. You can even run speed tests on ExpressVPN’s custom software to find the fastest server available!
For security, ExpressVPN deploys tough 256-bit AES encryption on all data to keep it hidden from prying eyes. A thorough zero-logging policy on traffic, DNS requests, and IP addresses ensures nothing can fall into the wrong hands, even in the case of court orders and the like. Finally, your connection to ExpressVPN’s servers is always safe with DNS leak protection and automatic kill switch features in place.
ExpressVPN accepts bitcoin payments for every subscription payment. Recurring transactions aren’t supported, however, which means you’ll want to pay in advance to enjoy the best discounts and the most convenient experience possible. And did we mention the amazing 30 day money back guarantee.
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- 94 countries, 3,000+ servers
- OpenVPN, IPSec & IKEv2 Encryption
- Keeps no logs of personal data
- 24/7 Chat Support.
- Expensive month-to-month plan.
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2. NordVPN – Powerful Protection
Worried about your online privacy? You won’t have to with NordVPN running in the background. The highly respected VPN offers some truly amazing features to its customers, the most impressive of which is the size of its server network. The list is constantly growing, but at the time of writing NordVPN has just over 2,400 servers in 60 different countries ready to go. You’ll never be at a loss when it comes to finding a low-latency, high speed server, no matter where you travel!
NordVPN uses this massive server network to include some unique features other VPNs can’t touch. For extra security you can connect to double encryption servers, switch onion over VPN routing on, or even use anti-DDoS connections to keep you safe while gaming. Along with this NordVPN provides a thorough zero-logging policy on bandwidth, traffic, time stamps, and DNS access. You also get automatic kill switch and DNS leak protection features along with standard 256-bit AES encryption on every packet of data that leaves your device.
NordVPN accepts a wide range of payments, including popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple. You won’t be able to sign up for recurring payments, though, so pick a bigger plan and pay all at once for better results — all plans are backed by a 30 day money back guarantee.
- Unblocks US Netflix, iPlayer, Amazon Prime and other streaming services
- No bandwidth caps
- Allows up to 6 devices to be connected at once
- Retains no metadata of your browsing
- Customer Service (24/7 Chat).
- They can take 30 days to process refunds.
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3. PureVPN – Privacy and More
If you need more than just basic VPN protection, PureVPN has you covered. The unique service bundles a lot of bonus features into its standard subscriptions, everything from virus protection to malware shields, app blocking, and DNS-level website filters. You don’t have to do anything to take advantage of these added extras, either. Just join PureVPN, install their software, switch on the security features you want, then surf the web safely.
PureVPN doesn’t skimp on the VPN standards, either. The company runs a large network that covers over 140 countries, 180 unique locations, and over 750 servers worldwide. Each of these keeps your data safe with 256-bit encryption and a zero-logging policy on all traffic, too. PureVPN also bundles DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch into its software, creating an amazing foundation for perfect online privacy.
PureVPN accepts a huge variety of cryptocurrencies, more than most VPN services combined. Bitcoin payments are at the top of the list, naturally, followed by Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, Dash, NEO, and several others. Subscriptions are non-refundable and non-recurring, of course, so pick a big plan and pre-pay for months at a time for maximum convenience.
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4. StrongVPN – Strong Security
StrongVPN knows what VPN users want most in their service: incredible security. The company builds its entire VPN around features and practices designed to keep you safe online, even in privacy-hostile places like China, Russia, and Turkey. StrongVPN’s network covers 46 different locations across the globe, each of which protects your connection with incredible 2048-bit encryption. You’ll also take advantage of DNS leak and kill switch features on the company’s custom software, making it a great choice for fast and simple online security!
StrongVPN supports non-recurring, non-refundable payments through bitcoin. All you have to do is select the cryptocurrency at checkout, send payment via your wallet, then enjoy your new, safe VPN.
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More Information about Bitcoin and VPNs
Online security is a huge world. You can dive in and start researching any topic and spend years trying to keep up with new advances. It’s dizzying, to say the lease. Below is a little extra information to help you stay on top of things in both the VPN and cryptocurrency worlds.
Benefits of Using an Anonymous VPN
Using a reliable VPN brings a ton of privacy benefits, including added security, increased anonymity, and extra safety on public networks. Paying with Bitcoin boosts some of those benefits even further. Below are some of the best reasons to use a VPN purchased with bitcoins.
- Watch videos from other countries – Are you sick of seeing the “Not available in your region” message? Content distributors like Netflix, BBC, Hulu, and HBO have to block certain countries from watching TV shows and movies, all thanks to international copyright law. You can bypass those restrictions by choosing a VPN server located in another area. You’re just a few clicks away from scoring a U.S., UK, or Japanese IP address!
- Stay safe while traveling – Accessing public Wi-Fi can be incredibly dangerous, especially if the networks are open and unsecured. By using a VPN on your Android or iOS device, you can encrypt everything to keep it safe from prying eyes.
- Access censored websites – Government-level website blockades prevent access to certain content. Places like China and Cuba are notoriously strict about this, censoring everything from worldwide news sites to Facebook, Google, and Wikipedia. A good VPN can help you leap right over those firewalls to surf the free and open web once again.
- Stream torrents and P2P content anonymously – Want to download a few torrents but don’t want your ISP throttling your connection? Fire up the ole VPN and you can connect, stream, and download in private!
Warning – Don’t Use Free VPNs!
If you’re looking to do everything you can to improve your online privacy, signing up for a reliable VPN service and paying with a semi-anonymous cryptocurrency like bitcoin is a big step in the right direction. Free VPNs, though, are just the opposite.
No-cost VPNs have to bring in revenue to keep their servers running. Since they aren’t getting any money from their users, they have to source it elsewhere. This usually comes in the form of selling the data they promised to keep safe. In other words, your private browsing data is on the market. Free VPNs are also known for having slow speeds, bandwidth limitations, and blocked protocols like P2P and torrents, which is never good for your daily online experiences.
It’s tempting to install one of the countless no-cost VPNs available on browser extension stores and mobile marketplaces. All of them promise fast speeds and hundreds of servers to choose from, all you have to do is click and start browsing. Unfortunately, the threat free VPNs pose to your online privacy just isn’t worth the risk. Stick with a trusted low-cost VPN provider to ensure you say safe at all times.
Is Bitcoin the Best Cryptocurrency?
Bitcoin was one of the first cryptocurrencies ever released. It gained popularity slowly, then exploded into the mainstream in the early 2010s. Countless altcoin copycats followed, some of which simply tried to emulate Bitcoin’s style and design. Others went a few steps further and introduced new features that compensated for some of Bitcoin’s shortcomings.
Bitcoin remains the most popular cryptocurrency by a large margin. For this reason, it’s usually easier to buy, sell, trade, and purchase things like VPNs with. There’s nothing wrong with sticking with Bitcoin for your basic cryptocurrency needs, but if you want something extra, check out the following suggestions.
Ethereum is the second most popular cryptocurrency. It’s tied into the Ethereum Network, which is a complex collection of decentralized apps and smart contracts that can run everything from websites to new Bitcoin clones. Ethereum is on-par with Bitcoin’s level of privacy, though it can be a bit more secure thanks to its focus on keeping its core data secure at all costs.
Monero is a unique cryptocurrency that puts privacy and anonymity at the top of the priorities list. Each transaction carried out using Monero is impossible to trace. You can’t locate anyone’s wallet, and you can’t find out who owns how much Monero. This creates what economists call fungibility, a vital feature few cryptocurrencies share. Unfortunately, Monero isn’t as popular as Ethereum or Bitcoin, so it’s not accepted by as many retailers. That could change in the future, though, as more cryptocurrencies hit the mainstream.
Got your bitcoins ready to purchase that sweet VPN subscription? The online privacy world is growing by the day, making it easier and easier to keep yourself safe from harm. Combining cryptocurrencies with virtual private networks is a fast, easy, and effective way to ensure you stay anonymous online at all costs.