Welcome back to the latest edition in our “Where to Spend Bitcoin?” series. One of the most obvious choices to spend Bitcoin is purchasing online goods or services, which we have talked about in previous guides. One of the services we haven’t talked about yet are VPNs – Virtual Private Networks. In fact, there are a lot more VPN providers accepting Bitcoin than I assumed.
VPN – What Is It & Why Do I Need One?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and lets you access sites that are otherwise off-limits to you. Most internet service providers, especially in Europe and the United States, make certain sites inaccessible for residents. While this usually has to do with anti-piracy laws, in the case of warez and torrent sites, it can be for other reasons as well.
However, what if you want to access a service that is restricted to a certain part of the world? For example, I am an avid fan of Netflix, and I have a Netflix account for the US website. In order to access the US version of Netflix, I need to prove that my computer’s IP address is originating from somewhere in the United States.
In order to do just that, I have to use a VPN connection. VPN providers will let you change the IP address and/or DNS settings of your machine – PC, laptop, console, mobile device and even your TV, in some cases – in order to make it appear as if you are accessing it from a certain country where this service can be used.
Note from the Author: This article is not about whether or not it is morally correct to use a VPN service to access platforms that are geographically locked. In this example, I do pay for my Netflix legally, and I do pay for my VPN connection. So technically, I am a paying customer accessing the service I pay for.
But let’s go with another example. The BBC has their own “video-on-demand” service called BBC iPlayer, which is only accessible for residents in the United Kingdom & surrounding isles. However, with a VPN I can change my IP address/DNS settings to make it appear as if I’m using the service as a UK resident.
There are a ton of other examples of services you can access with a VPN which would otherwise be off-limits to you. But let’s assume you are living in a country with a very strict internet policy, such as China. In order to bypass the internet restriction from your ISP or government, you can use a VPN provider to visit any site you want.
It is important to note that using a VPN will not make your internet connection any faster than it already is. In most cases, it will become a bit – to a lot, in some cases – slower.
VPN Providers Accepting Bitcoin
VPN’s and Bitcoin have one major common denominator; they are both transparent yet anonymous at the same time. A VPN clearly shows your IP address (transparent) but it hides your actual IP address (anonymous). Bitcoin transactions are publicly visible on the blockchain (transparent) but they do not disclose any of your personal information (anonymous).
It was only a matter of time until both technologies came together and we started seeing the first VPN providers accepting Bitcoin payments for their services. And this list has been growing steadily over the past few months as well. It will take a while before the major VPN providers, such as HideMyAss, start accepting Bitcoin payments, but these alternatives are most certainly worth a try.
The full list of providers can be found here.
All images courtesy of Pixabay