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I am considering the VPN service Privateinternetaccess. One of it's payment methods is bitcoins. As described on this page paying with bitcoins strengthens anonymity. In contradiction, this page claims bitcoin is not normally anonymous. To what degree is bitcoin anonymous? How does this anonymity differ compared to paying by other means such as credit card, Paypal or through Amazon?

Since the steps described in the second link are only for the U.S. I would have to find an alternative way to exchange my dollar to bitcoins. I'm wondering is it worth the effort? Is the worse privacy compromise if I didn't use bitcoin that it could be known I am a user of Privateinternetaccess? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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migrated from security.stackexchange.com Jan 6 '13 at 21:52

This question came from our site for Information security professionals.

2 Answers 2

Anonymity:

Every transaction ever made in Bitcoin is public. You can see the most recent here: https://blockexplorer.com/

What makes it anonymous, is that you may not know who owns which account number (Bitcoin address). If Privateinternetaccess picks a new receiving address for every transaction, it's very difficult for an outside person to see who is receiving your bitcoins.

Also, there are 'mixer' services which will send on the correct amount to an address, but maybe not use the same coins, so there's no visible link. blockchain.info has such a 'mixer' service.

Buying Bitcoin outside of US:

This question pops up a lot, so I'm making a site right now to show how to buy bitcoins from each country: http://howtobuybitcoins.info/

Feel free to throw me any questions you have.

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Mind that even the remixer transactions are public, and with some statistical analysis one might identify those. (and you have to trust the remixer in the first place) –  johannes Jan 6 '13 at 17:05

I don't know much about the Bitcoin part but depending where you live you can buy a no name Visa/MasterCard gift card in a shop for cash and you are set?

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