If you’re reading these words from within the European Union, you may have had to first check a box confirming your consent. Ever since the EU’s GDPR law came into effect, the internet has become a minefield of opt-in forms. With the passing of the controversial Articles 11 and 13 this week, the web looks set to become even more convoluted to European citizens. Throw in the “Right to be forgotten” law, and Europe’s internet looks very different than that of America’s. At times like these, a VPN has never been more essential.
The Changing Face of Europe’s Internet
In the last two months, browsing the web from within the EU has become increasingly tiresome. A barrage of pop-ups and warning notices has turned a once frictionless experience into one that is filled with unnecessary checkpoints and pitstops. Well-meaning data protection legislation in the form of GDPR has had unintended consequences. Presented by an endless stream of compliance notices, European web users have become accustomed to consenting to everything, without even pausing to consider what they are signing up to. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do otherwise.
The EU’s “Right to be forgotten” law, which entitles individuals to have search results struck out that are deemed to impinge upon their privacy, already makes the first page of Google look very different from that viewed on the other side of the Atlantic. The passing of Article 13 this week threatens to further distort the web when viewed within the confines of the EU. The copyright directive may be well intentioned, but it is sure to have repercussions for web users.
While billed as the “meme killer”, Article 13’s purpose is ostensibly to filter out copyrighted material such as songs and images that have been uploaded to web platforms. There are pros and cons to this legislation, with exponents fearing that it will lead to censorship and exorbitant compliance costs for smaller websites. Proponents, meanwhile, see the law as balancing the power of Google and Facebook, who profit off the content created by others. Regardless of which side you’re on, this much is undeniable: to continue seeing the same internet as the rest of the world, EU citizens will need to connect from an IP outside of the European Union. Enter the VPN.
How a VPN Works
A Virtual Private Network is a software client that grants you an encrypted connection to the internet via a remote server. To any websites inspecting your IP address, it will appear that you are located elsewhere in the world. With your web traffic appearing to originate from the server you are connected to, third parties will struggle to ascertain your actual geographical location. Connect to a VPN server in Georgia, for example, and you will be treated to the same web content as any US resident of The Peach State, even though you may actually be in Britain or Spain.
There are numerous reasons why an individual might want to use a VPN, with privacy preservation being paramount. While not 100% foolproof, a VPN provides an added layer of protection between you and the internet service you are connecting to. If you are a cryptocurrency user, maximizing your privacy and enhancing your security are likely to already be primary motivators. Using a VPN in this context makes sense. With EU laws creating a non-fungible web, so to speak, which differs from one continent to another, there’s an added incentive to use a private network. The following VPN providers will enable EU residents to access an unfiltered and uncensored internet, with the added bonus of letting you pay with cryptocurrency.
The Best Crypto-Friendly VPN Providers
The number of VPNs that accept cryptocurrency as payment is extensive, and this list is by no means comprehensive. The following providers are all well regarded however. It should be noted that there are no guarantees that a service provider is not retaining logs of your browsing activity. Thus, having access to a VPN should not be seen as a cast-iron safeguard against having your location and identity discovered.
Pure VPN: Access starts from $3.54 per month and payment can be made in BTC, BCH, ETH and many more cryptocurrencies. With servers located in over 180 locations, you should have no trouble in connecting from wherever you want to be in the world.
Nord VPN: Plans commence at $6.99 per month and BTC, ETH, and XRP are accepted. The Swiss-based provider offers over 70 global locations to connect to.
Air VPN: Its UI is less refined than some of its competitors, but Air VPN has a good rep, having accepted BTC since the cryptocurrency’s early days, and its forums provide valuable advice for privacy connoisseurs. Payment can also be made in BCH, LTC, XRP, and ETH.
Express VPN: While a little more expensive than some, at $8.32 per month, Express VPN is easy to set up. It offers 148 locations and accepts BTC.
If you’re tired of having your privacy eroded, websites blocked, and search results filtered, acquiring a VPN is the one of the best things you can do to reclaim your freedom to browse.
What other VPN providers do you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.
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