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Do Cryptocurrency Bans Lead to Rising VPN Use?

20 June 2019

In 2009, Bitcoin introduced much of the world to the idea of cryptocurrency. The global financial situation was the perfect storm for the creation of a currency that was free from centralized regulation.

Some currencies were weak, and politics were a mess, factors which combined to challenge the credibility of traditional financial systems. Cryptocurrency was seen as an internationally viable currency that could work outside of a system that many felt had become corrupt.

In 2017, cryptocurrencies went from being something of a novelty to the center of public consciousness. In that year the value of Bitcoin, which began life almost valueless, skyrocketed to where it reached approximately $20,000 measured in US dollars.

Since then, the value has declined considerably but is still measured in the thousands of dollars, and though traditional global financial systems have rebounded, people are still drawn to cryptocurrencies as investments and a medium of exchange.

Unsurprisingly, national governments aren’t sure what to make of this new kid on the block and talk of banning it has surfaced.

Not as Anonymous as Hoped

A major benefit of cryptocurrencies is their alleged anonymity and international utility. Blockchain technology, which is the technological underpinning, gives users pseudonyms. However, when cryptocurrency transactions are conducted online, it is possible to connect pseudonyms to the actual personal information of the buyer, which means that both buyer, seller, and the transaction itself can be traced in some cases.

In other words, as currently constructed, blockchain isn’t foolproof.

Understandably, this can be problematic for individuals looking to dabble in transactions of an illegal nature or who simply want to hide their cryptocurrency wealth. There have been instances of spouses turning to cryptocurrency as a way to squirrel away money during divorce proceedings only to have their activities ferreted out by forensic accountants who trace their online activities.

Big Brother Wants to Know What You’re Doing: As the cryptocurrency industry continues to gain steam, governments have become interested in regulating this currency and forcing technology companies to help monitor online activity of the general public. These proposed regulations will almost certainly inhibit the open trading nature of cryptocurrencies, thereby negating the twin purposes of security and anonymity on which they were based.

Naturally, widespread governmental interest has motivated cryptocurrency proponents to consider whether or not they should use a virtual private network (VPN) in the attempt to create a truly private transaction. More to the point, do countries that attempt to ban or heavily regulate cryptocurrencies drive more people to VPN use?

How a VPN Could Add to Blockchain Privacy

When a person installs VPN software like Trust.Zone, the internet capable device connects to a remote server via an encrypted “tunnel.” This means that the information being sent cannot be monitored by other individuals. Trust.Zone VPN makes it possible for a person to hide their IP address by changing it to appear as if they are accessing the internet through the location of the VPN server, which might be thousands of miles away.

When you couple the anonymity of a VPN with the partial anonymity provided by a blockchain, you leverage your overall security level.

It worth mentinoning that VPN services try to add blockchain technloogy to its VPN software. For instanse, TrustZone recently has partnered with Verge platform, Cloak blockhain and Emercoin blockchain technologies.

Streaming Services vs. VPN

One of the most popular reasons that users pay for virtual private networks is to access country restricted streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, according to a survey of Netflix VPN use by Ludovic Rembert, founder of community research group Privacy Canada.

Many VPN services, including Trust Zone, have built their applications on a platform of being able to avoid restrictions with proprietary technology.

How Does This Apply to Cryptocurrencies? Countries such as Venezuela, South Korea, Russia, and China are leaning towards banning the use of Bitcoin to some degree or another. Bans in South Korea or China could have a significant impact on the value of the currency as these two countries are among the biggest markets.

When a person connects to a server via a VPN like Trust Zone or any of hundreds of others, they are in essence changing the region that’s associated with their IP address. An individual in South Korea could theoretically change their IP address to make it appear as if they were connecting from the United Kingdom. Since that region isn’t blocked, they can access the cryptocurrency of their choice.

Detecting VPN Use

Deep Packet Inspection, also known as DPI, is used by a number of countries around the world to keep tabs on the activities of individuals using a VPN. This is a network packet filtering method used to analyze the header as well as the data part of the packet. DPI evaluates the contents of data packets as it goes through a checkpoint. These data packets are evaluated based on the rules that the network administrator has established. This evaluation is done in real time.

Countries like North Korea, China, Russia, Iran, and even the United States use DPI when blocking websites as part of a campaign to censor or monitor their citizens. When a person uses a VPN, DPI will not necessarily allow a third-party to see what the individual is looking at online, but does indicate the presence of a VPN server IP or that the traffic is encrypted, either of which suggest that a VPN is being used. Trust.Zone supports its own protocol which makes DPI useless.

Next Generation VPN: This is where a VPN user needs to do some research. Not all VPNs are created equal. Some are designed to combat DPI, allowing people living in authoritative regimes to still use their VPN and access sites that the government has banned.

Other options include alternating between a low profile VPN or constantly changing server IPs within the same provider. Since some have thousands, cycling your IP address can help you stay ahead of the VPN police.

The Bottom Line

VPN is a viable way to use crypto anywhere around the globe. With a VPN like Trust.Zone, internet users may pay for the online services with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with no risk to be blocked.

It worth saying that TrustZone offers 10% discount for all VPN subscriptions if users pay with cryptocurrecies like Bitcoin, Emercoin, Verge, Cloackcoin and other.