In this article, freelance writer Ali McEwan explores the murky world of VPN and finds out why they are more than just a "nice to have" for those in the crypto space.
Blockchain is an inherently secure technology, but crypto trading itself is not without its risks. Answering security questions is not easy, however, as the death of Gerald Cotten showed – now, according to a Bloomberg report, $200m of customer coins are inaccessible due to over-cautious security measures. Bitcoin professionals are clearly, and wisely, keen to avoid a Mt. Gox or Coincheck scenario, but equally, they must take a measured approach to ensure their crypto security and ultimate the viability of their business. A VPN is a crucial tool in achieving a solid middle ground.
VPNs as they relate to crypto
The primary purpose of a VPN is to obfuscate your personal details and location and to make it harder to trace you. This has a direct benefit with cryptocurrency where the key for hackers to unlock your coins and take your money is through your personal information. The intrinsic strength of blockchain means that the best way to steal money from a trader is through his or her credentials. Therefore, traders looking to deploy a VPN should look for one that first has high levels of security. This is a view echoed by the Monax exchange founder Cashey Kuhlman, who in an interview with Forbes suggested VPNs are important to maintain data assurance.
Enhancing your security
VPNs have been around for some time, but have gained popularity as consumer privacy concerns have found themselves at the fore. Ideologically, they go hand in hand with cryptocurrency as a privacy-oriented tool. Privacy should be a big concern for all internet users; according to Tech Crunch, you’ll find 12.4 trackers per web page, which is a huge amount given the average amount of clicks. That risk of personal information being leaked is even more pronounced when it comes to crypto traders given the value of your credentials. A VPN will help to protect you by removing part of the threat of both third-party trackers, and in case governments or associated agencies are conducting mass surveillance.
Unlocking purchasing potential
Cryptocurrency is viewed with suspicion by many developed economies, whereas those in need of further development take a more positive view of its potential benefits. With many European countries starting to come in line, the USA warming towards a physical exchange and countries in Asia also softening regulation, indications are that digital coins should become more widespread sooner rather than later. For the time being, however, it can be difficult to find somewhere to spend coins. VPNs offer the ability to break through most geo-locks, enabling you to make trades and spend digital coins in the manner that you prefer. This can also allow you to avoid regulatory controls in various countries, so be cautious over your activity so as not to fall on the wrong side of the law.
Security should be paramount to any coin trader, but the digital nature of the business can create numerous pitfalls. A VPN is a catch-all way to start properly protecting your online identity. In the future, it will also enable you to shop from any region in the world.
Ali McEwan is a freelance writer and contributor who spent more than a decade working in the investment sector. In this article, she takes a look into her crystal ball to consider how regulation might affect the evolution of crypto over the coming year.