The desire to buy online anonymously is ever increasing as people become more aware of how online companies are tracking their every move. This doesn’t have to have anything to do with illegal activities, it has to do with privacy and not feeling like you’re only useful when advertised to.
Bitcoin is becoming an increasingly popular choice for those who want to buy online anonymously. As with all things, you need to follow the right steps to be sure that you reach your end goal of completely anonymous online purchases.
Buy Online Anonymously using Bitcoin
What is Bitcoin?
To cover the basics, Bitcoin is a decentralized currency. This means that it doesn’t need a middle-person, such as a state owned bank, to operate. The other aspect of how it works is that is operates as an open source virtual currency. This means it is operated peer-to-peer like BitTorrent and Skype.
Everything about Bitcoin is revolutionary and brand new. It is, at its heart, currency that you can use to buy, sell, and invest, like any other money. The difference is that you can use this it to buy online anonymously, unlike with credit cards, if you follow the right route.
Coupling one of these with an anonymous, no-log VPN like IPVanish lead to you having nearly complete online anonymity.
Basics to using Bitcoin to buy online anonymously
- Setup and use throw away email addresses. Here’s a list of 20 to get you started.
- Use a new Bitcoin wallet for every purchase. If someone gains access to just one purchase they will be able to see everything else that has happened in that wallet. Giving them one thing you bought online anonymously is enough, giving them everything is a terrible error.
- Never use your real name, address or phone number in any way. Why work so hard to be anonymous online, then give your information away for anyone to read?
- Use a Bitcoin mixer service to launder your money further. This will cost you a bit of money, but the extra protection never hurts.
Next, I’m going to outline the more advanced steps to take to make sure you buy online anonymously with BitCoin.
Cleaning your non-anonymously purchased Bitcoins through a mixer service
This is the easiest and most convenient way to gain some anonymity for your online purchases. Your anonymity will be high, but that convenience will cost you more money, as it always does.
To do this, all you have to do is buy your Bitcoins through an automated Bitcoin exchange. Once you have them you are essentially laundering them through a mixer service. Blockchain.info is popular with their 0.5% fee.
All a mixer service really does is take your currency and swap it with other users – it literally mixes them up! This will make it very difficult for someone to trace the Bitcoins back to you, but it won’t be completely 100% foolproof against someone with lots of time on their hands.
Using prepaid cards to buy Bitcoins
Having cash in hand to buy your pre-paid cards is a great way to buy online anonymously. This will depend on your area and the types of service available to you, but many online Bitcoin exchanges accept prepaid cards.
Use them to buy Bitcoins through a disposable email address, with your VPN on, and it’s nearly foolproof.
Buying Bitcoins locally with cash
There is a website, LocalBitcoins.com, which specializes in helping you find local Bitcoin sellers who will sell to you in person with cash. You have to take the initiative to set up the meeting somewhere in your city.
Take a look at their feedback to make sure they’re trustworthy. Do I have to talk about the dangers of meeting people in strange areas and telling them you have cash on you? Do I really??? Because, guess what, you need to be careful that you’re not getting scammed, mugged, or pwned. 😉
Purchasing from an individual online seller
You can do this on LocalBitcoins, or you can do it on the Freenode IRC chatroom called #Bitcoin-otc. OTC being shorthand for over the counter.
The community has a very complex and useful feedback system. This comes in useful when you’re trying to figure out payment methods – you can usually read what the seller prefers ahead of time if you understand the jargon.
If you forget IRC from the early days of the Internet, you can find some reliable clients at this link.
Feature image via 3Dsculptor / Shutterstock