If you use a VPN, it is probably one of two reasons that compels you to do so. Either you wish to increase your personal privacy or you want to unblock Skype, WhatsApp, Netflix or some similar app that is restricted in whatever part of the world you might find yourself in. Both of these are valid reasons.
A VPN provider stays in business and retains customers by assuring their clients of a certain amount of anonymity and privacy. To help accomplish this, reputable VPN providers will not retain logs of a user’s Internet activity or browsing habits. You should always check the terms of service before you choose a VPN provider to make sure they do not keep logs. The simple reason is that logs can be requested by any number of entities. If there are no logs to provide, this throws up a wall and helps to safeguard your privacy.
Tracking How You Pay for VPN
All personal data is delicate. You don’t want any of it falling into the wrong hands. The fact, however, is that some kinds of personal information is easier to get rid of than others. Take financial information as an example. Logging financial info is a liability to a VPN provider. Under law, those kinds of records must be kept for years. It is also against the law to tamper or otherwise alter financial logs in order to obscure identifying information. These records are also passed along a channel of payment and accounting services that can include banks and other financial institutions, regulators, and even credit card processors. Because these logs have to be retained for a long time, they can be used to identify you as a customer of a specific service.
A Solution for Payment Privacy
There may, in fact, be a better way to pay for your VPN service. That way is the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.
Although Bitcoin is not specifically anonymous—all transactions are part of a public record known as the Blockchain—it does have the advantage of taking third parties out of the process of making payments. It also offers a way to pay without fees and the process of sending a Bitcoin payment is simple. It is also worthy to note that you can separate your online identity from your real name to an extent with Bitcoin.
The most powerful aspect of Bitcoin is that how you choose to use it is up to you. More and more businesses are accepting it and it is even being used to replace cash in some online casinos. However, there are some things that merit consideration when using Bitcoin. The first of these is how you will control your keys.
You must always retain control of your private Bitcoin keys yourself. They are the only access you have to the cryptocurrency. There are open-source wallets available that can be used on your computer, Android, or iOS device. You also need to be conscious of how coins end up in your account. If you purchase Bitcoins and then do not “tumble” or clean them before sending them out again, there is a possibility that you can be linked to payments.
Obtaining Bitcoin offers a few different options for privacy. You can buy them directly and anonymously from someone else, and there are even some Bitcoin ATMs these days that allow for somewhat anonymous withdrawal.
Paying for your VPN service with Bitcoins can be a smarter and safer alternative than using cash. When you choose to do this, the burden of collecting your financial information and keeping it logged for a period of time is taken from your VPN provider and the chain of anonymity is strengthened that much more.