Ending support for cryptocurrency refunds

1 décembre 2022  PRIVACY

In order to keep less data on our users we will remove support for refunds and account recovery with all cryptocurrency payments, starting next year.

We take privacy very seriously at Mullvad VPN. It’s not uncommon that we find ourselves having to make trade-offs between privacy and usability. In such cases we generally opt for privacy but as we care a great deal about our users we sometimes try to find a compromise. These compromises never go unquestioned however, and we frequently re-evaluate such decisions. Removing subscriptions earlier this year, after supporting it for more than 10 years was an example of such a recalibration.

Two other areas where usability stands in direct opposition to privacy are refunds and recovering lost accounts. In order to support either of them we need to store enough information to be able to confirm a connection between a user and their Mullvad VPN account. This is something we’d like to avoid. We do however need to allow refunding payments and because of our unusual approach to account identifiers, lost accounts is one of the most common problems our users run into.

We do make some exceptions to this however. Cash payments are not refundable and when we launched support for the Monero cryptocurrency we decided not to allow refunds or account recovery using the Monero payment history.

As a next step on this path toward better privacy we’ll be removing support for both refunds and account recovery for Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash payments, meaning all cryptocurrencies will be treated equally. This will allow us to remove the connection between a Mullvad VPN account and the public blockchain transaction records much sooner after the payment is made. This change will take effect on 1st January, 2023. Our terms of service have been updated accordingly.