It took me 5+ years to understand the importance of using a VPN when trading cryptocurrency and I wanted to share my findings with you.
Using a VPN for crypto didn’t even hit my radar until I got the dreaded “we’ve stopped allowing United States residents from trading crypto on our exchange” email.
I quickly had to educate myself in the world of VPNs so I wouldn’t lose all the cryptocurrency on that specific exchange PLUS wanted to be proactive when (and they did!) other exchanges started sending the same notifications.
Therefore, in this blog post I’m going to give you a cheatsheet on crypto VPNs to help you decide if and which VPNs would work best for your trading.
What is a VPN?
Basically a VPN hides your device’s IP address by redirecting its traffic through specifically configured remote servers run by a VPN host.
What this does is hide (or shield) your internet activity from your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
If your ISP or really anyone wanted to try to tap into your activity all they’ll see is what would be scrambled data (or gibberish looking).
Why use a VPN for crypto?
By using a VPN with cryptocurrencies you are making yourself more anonymous and hiding any and all of your payment data from the world. A really powerful way to better hide your identity and crypto wallet from intrusions by hackers.
In my case, the main reason I went with a crypto VPN was that is disguised my whereabouts AND allowed me to set my VPNs IP address to a specific country (or location) versus where I was actually residing at the time (aka VPN Location Spoofing). This allowed me to bypass the geo-blocks.
Now it did take me a few times to find the perfect VPN for cryptocurrency trading, but once I found it then a lot of my concerns about marketplaces shutting me out went away.
BTW we’ve also written up the pros and cons of using a VPN for crypto trading.
How does a VPN protect cryptocurrency?
Since VPNs encrypt your data, hackers will have a difficult (if not impossible) time spying on any of your crypto transactions.
On top of the data encryption, VPNs also hide your IP address (including location spoofing) which prevents the possibility of tracking by not linking your location to your blockchain wallet address.
What should you look for in a crypto-friendly VPN?
Anonymous Payment Options: If you are a privacy-first user then making sure the VPN company accepts anonymous payments via cryptocurrency is key.
Example: NordVPN uses a third-party payment company called CoinGate which allows you to pay using over 70 different cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and even Dogecoin.
The downside to using CoinGate is they currently don’t support automatic recurring payments, so your service will not renew. It will also take up to 24 hours to process your payment.
Strong Privacy Laws: Not all countries privacy laws are the same, so make sure the VPN provider is located in one with strong privacy laws.
Here are locations for some of the most popular VPNs:
- NordVPN is located in Panama.
- ProtonVPN is located in Switzerland.
- ExpressVPN and Surfshark are both located in the British Virgin Islands.
Upfront about their security and privacy audits: If a VPN provider is not clear on their homepage and documentation that they have received independent security and privacy audits then steer clear.
Secured Personal Data: Make sure the VPN states exactly what they do with your personal data. The last thing you want to happen is your data being sold to another party.
Reviews of the latest crypto VPNs
I’ve compiled reviews for four crypto VPNs to help you make your decision on which VPN to use.
- PCMag: “NordVPN packs numerous privacy features into a slick client, and continues to innovate by rolling out new tools to customers. It’s a privacy juggernaut, but at a premium price.”
- CNET: “We recommend NordVPN for its continued efforts to improve security without falling behind on speed.”
- Tom’s Guide: “Overall, NordVPN is absolutely one of the best services on the market, and a great all-rounder that performs impressively in every area. Definitely worth having on your shortlist.”
- TechRadar: “Proton VPN isn’t cheap, but when you factor in the turbocharged performance, excellent unblocking results, stacks of features, unlimited bandwidth free plan and reassuring app security audits, it still looks like great value to us.”
- PCMag: “Proton VPN offers the best free subscription tiers we’ve seen, and its paid tiers provide access to numerous privacy tools at a reasonable price.”
- Forbes: “… ProtonVPN expands the company’s cybersecurity offerings with a well-rounded virtual private network that is reliable, fast and safe to use. Much of the server network is based in military-grade shelters, providing a physical added layer of security.”
- Tom’s Guide: “Despite huge competition, ExpressVPN remains the very best VPN that we’ve tested. Its apps are user-friendly, stable, and packed with features, it delivers great speeds across the board, is backed up by serious privacy and security features, and is one of the very best for unblocking streaming sites. All that adds up to a VPN service that more than earns its premium price tag.”
- U.S. News: “ExpressVPN has all the features you would expect from a top-rated VPN, while going the extra mile to ensure privacy and anonymity.”
- CNet: “Pricey, but speedy and great for streaming. For casual users, ExpressVPN’s security and speed still place it among our top picks.”
- ZDNet: “A VPN is a must-have if you want some basic protection and anonymity in your online activities. Surfshark is a value for money option, especially if you use many different devices.”
- PCMag: “Surfshark VPN has a pricey monthly plan, but it more than proves its worth with a large and expanding collection of privacy tools, an excellent app, and unlimited simultaneous connections.”
- How-To Geek: “Overall, Surfshark is a decent VPN. It does everything you need a virtual private network to do, including encryting your connection and spoofing your location.”
Conclusion: Should you use a VPN for crypto?
The million dollar (well depending on Bitcoin’s marketcap, right?) question and I don’t have a million dollar answer.
If you are just getting into crypto and the exchanges you are using at geo-friendly (i.e your country allows them), then I’d suggest holding off on investing in a crypto VPN right now.
However with such a low cost to some of these (less than a cup of Starbuck’s coffee) the other part of my brain says why not start off your cryptocurrency investing on the right foot by using a VPN.
I’m truly not trying to be wishy-washy on this, but I went 5+ years without a VPN and the only reason I got on was for the VPN Location Spoofing … however the longer I’ve used it I’m not sure why I didn’t get one a whole lot sooner.