The recent explosion in the value of cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin leading the pack, has led to increased mainstream interest and adoption of these virtual coins, including integrating them as accepted methods of payment for VPN services. And that certainly makes sense – you’re getting a VPN to stay secure and maintain your privacy online, so why not use a payment method which also does the latter?
Forking out for a VPN using Bitcoin (or any virtual currency) keeps your personal and financial data away from any potential prying eyes online, and leaves no sign of any kind of ‘paper trail’ that could be traced back to you.
How to choose the best VPN for cryptocurrencies
As mentioned, a number of VPNs now accept virtual coins as payment methods, so there’s no shortage of services to choose from. But which are the top providers? Obviously, those with a more watertight approach to security are always going to be favored, and we’ll weight things towards providers who have a commendable stance on privacy for obvious reasons.
As ever, a VPN which offers good performance levels and speeds is important, as well as a wide range of native apps which are user-friendly (yet have some options and potential tweaking under the bonnet).
With all that in mind, here are our top five choices for VPNs that support Bitcoin, as well as other cryptocurrencies where noted.
- Check out the best VPN services of 2018
Best all-round VPN
Number of servers: 1500+ | Server locations: 148 | IP addresses: 30000 | Maximum devices supported: 3
ExpressVPN boasts a wide range of servers with more than 1,500 servers across 148 locations in 94 countries. This VPN is available for all the major platforms, offers a host of quality mobile and desktop apps, and delivers above average speeds – particularly with shorter hops, while long-distance connections didn’t lose much speed at all, either.
The company isn’t lacking on the security front. You get 256-bit encryption along with a ‘zero-knowledge’ DNS solution and a network lock feature which is basically a kill switch. You can choose the desired security protocol including OpenVPN via UDP or TCP, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP or SSTP – or you can just let the client decide. ExpressVPN clearly states that it doesn't gather logs of any kind, so your privacy will remain intact.
There are a couple of niggles here, one of which is that there is no free plan or trial offered. That said, ExpressVPN does operate a 30-day refund policy if you’re not satisfied. You can pay by Bitcoin – and have been able to since 2014 – but the other slight disadvantage is that this isn’t the cheapest VPN provider around. The annual plan offers the most for your money, plus you get an additional three months thrown in (at the time of writing). The packages available are:
- [$12.95 a month] 1-month
- [$9.99 a month] 6-months - $59.95
- [$6.67 a month] 12-months (plus 3 free months) - $99.95
Best balance of performance and price
Number of servers: 216 | Server locations: 19 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
This service is based on OpenVPN and operated by activists and hacktivists who strongly defend net neutrality and privacy. One obvious drawback here is AirVPN’s low server count, especially compared to other services on this list. The service could also tone down the techie-speak and be more user-friendly. However, you do get solid and consistent performance levels which is always good to see.
Cryptocurrency enthusiasts will be glad to hear that apart from Bitcoin, AirVPN accepts Litecoin, Ripple, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and several others. When it comes to security and encryption, every AirVPN server also supports OpenVPN over SSH, OpenVPN over SSL and OpenVPN over Tor, with 4096-bit RSA encryption to boot. There is no monitoring or logging of your online activities.
AirVPN is reasonably priced and you can choose from five plans. The 3-day plan offers a short-term way to try the service out, while the 12-month subscription gives you the best value for money. The packages available are:
- [$1.20] 3-days
- [$7.65 a month] 1-month
- [$5.45 a month] 3-months $16.35
- [$5.45 a month] 6-months - $32.65
- [$4.90 a month] 12-months - $58.80
Most secure VPN
Number of servers: 3211 | Server locations: 60 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 6
NordVPN is one of the largest VPN networks around in terms of its total number of servers and locations. While speed and performance levels are good, security is where this VPN truly shines.
Apart from the standard security protocols and 256-bit encryption, the most notable feature is ‘Double VPN’ technology which routes your connection through two separate VPN servers. You also get Onion over VPN, along with support for multiple protocols. There’s a kill switch feature here, but one slight drawback is that it isn’t system-wide, and only works for applications that you specify – and doing that is something of a hassle.
Do note that while NordVPN operates a ‘no logging’ policy, it isn’t clear whether any session logging takes place or not, and that won’t be ideal for some users.
There is a free trial if you want to give the service a go, but oddly enough, it’s not advertised on the home page – find it here. You can pay via Bitcoin, and as for pricing, the monthly plan is fairly expensive, but the 2-year subscription is very affordable. The packages available are:
Best VPN with a free trial
Number of servers: 1200+ | Server locations: 50+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
In our testing, CyberGhost proved to be reliable and fast on the performance front with some impressively above average speeds, although longer distance connections dropped off slightly, as is often the case.
This provider uses 256-bit encryption with standard protocols (including OpenVPN) and an automatic kill switch. The clients are rich with additional features that block ads and malicious content, plus they block online tracking, but there are minor interface niggles that spoil the fun somewhat. The company explicitly states that it doesn’t log anything that could compromise your privacy.
CyberGhost provides a generous 7-day free trial so you can test out the full service thoroughly before you commit. If you do like what you see, you can pay by Bitcoin, and available commercial plans include an expensive monthly offering and a quite affordable option in the shape of a two-year subscription. The packages available are:
Best VPN for experts
Number of servers: 3000+ | Server locations: 50+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
As a service aimed at torrent users, it’s no surprise TorGuard offers a huge selection of servers to choose from – one of the largest you’ll see in the business. However, be warned that when it came to our performance testing, we only experienced average speeds, and we witnessed high levels of latency with some servers.
That said, these relatively small issues with performance don’t spoil the party, and TorGuard is strong on the security front. The provider offers a high level of configurability with its clients, and that’s obviously ideal for advanced users who want to fully tailor their VPN experience.
Along with wide protocol support and strong encryption, TorGuard also gives you Perfect Forward Secrecy (TLS), stealth VPN (for evading deep packet inspection), as well as advert and malware blocking via browser extensions. As for cryptocurrencies, TorGuard accepts Bitcoin and also Litecoin.
When it comes to pricing, the plans are quite affordable. Strangely though, both the 6-month plan and year-long subscription have the same monthly rate, so you might as well choose the first option. If you’re prepared to make a longer commitment and go for the 2-year plan, that’s the cheapest option in the long run. The packages available are:
- [$9.99 a month] 1-month
- [$6.66 a month] 3-months - $19.99
- [$5 a month] 6-months - $29.99
- [$5 a month] 12-months - $59.99
- [$4.16 a month] 2-years - $99.99
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