End-to-end encrypted email provider ProtonMail has added official support for payment in Bitcoin. In a blog about the addition, it notes: “Starting from version 3.11 of ProtonMail it is now possible to pay for premium ProtonMail secure email account using Bitcoin.”
The e2e email service had already offered unofficial support for users wanting to pay for its premium offering with the cryptocurrency — via a BTC donation address users could manually send coin to.
But has now set up an automated process, noting that a general increase in BTC transactions “over the years” has made its prior manual system unworkable.
It describes Bitcoin as a way to pay for “secure email anonymously” — though Bitcoin is not necessarily anonymous, given that every transaction is written down in the blockchain (and includes a from and to address) so there remain the potential to trace payments.
It’s better thought of as a technology that can add a layer of obfuscation, and is at least more private than using something a method such as a credit card or PayPal (which requires a name).
“We have designed the payment system to work seamlessly so that Bitcoin payments are automatically converted to ProtonMail credits which can be used to pay for upgrades, pay invoices, or top up your account. This feature was long overdue, so we are glad to finally introduce this,” writes ProtonMail about the new system.
“We feel this is indicative of a broader trend, where the increased mainstream interest in Bitcoin will make it harder for merchants not to support Bitcoin, which will lead to more Bitcoin support, more transactions, and perhaps the continued appreciation of Bitcoin prices.”
ProtonMail goes on to say it views holding cryptocurrencies as a strategic hedge against “the fragility and uncertainty of the traditional financial sector”, and says it is now holding a “significant portion” of its reserves in Bitcoin.
It further adds it will continue to build out its cryptocurrency support — asking its users to let it know which coins or tokens they would like it to support.