We’re auctioning Lifetime Accounts to support freedom of speech and democracy

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For the first time since 2016, we are making a small number of Proton Mail Lifetime Accounts available to support three initiatives that align closely with our mission and values. Previously, Lifetime Accounts were sold to fund Proton Mail’s development. This time, though, we want to leverage the Proton community to fund the vital work of others

This auction will take place on eBay between Dec. 18-25, with all proceeds going to charity. In addition, Proton Mail will be making additional donations on top of the funds raised to ensure that each organization receives at least €10,000.

Organizations we are supporting

At Proton Mail, we believe everyone deserves access to a private, secure, and uncensored Internet. These qualities are essential to upholding human rights in the digital world. While there are many organizations working toward these goals, our philosophy on giving is the same as our approach to product development: we want to allocate resources to areas where we can have the greatest impact.

While many companies funnel donations to big-name organizations that can bring lots of publicity, that is usually not where the impact can be the largest. After a careful review, we selected two organizations from the Proton community (Proton users) and another organization that is well aligned with the goals of Proton VPN.

Charter’97

Charter’97 is an independent Belarusian media outlet that promotes democracy and human rights. It is the largest independent news outlet in Belarus. Its editor-in-chief, Natalya Radina, is a well-known investigative journalist who was imprisoned for her reporting and is now working in exile. Due to the government crackdown, finances have become tight for Charter’97, and our support will help to keep the site running.

Learn about Natalya’s story or donate through our blog post here.

Bid on the Lifetime Account to support Charter’97 here.

Berlin Scholarship Program: Empowering Journalists in the Digital Field

Reporters Without Borders (also known by its French acronym, RSF) is an international nongovernmental organization dedicated to promoting the freedom of the press and defending the rights of journalists. We are not donating generally to RSF, though. Instead, we are supporting a specific program that is being run by RSF Germany together with the Berlin Senate Department for Economics, Energy, and Public Enterprises. Their Berlin Scholarship Program is intended to train journalists in conflict zones on how to protect themselves against digital threats. This aligns strongly with our focus on education and training to raise awareness of digital security and privacy issues.

Learn more about Proton Mail and the Berlin Scholarship Program in our blog post here.

Bid on the Lifetime Account to support the Berlin Scholarship Program here.

WireGuard®

We launched Proton VPN as a free VPN service in 2017 to ensure that the Internet lives up to its promise of freedom of information. WireGuard® is a next-generation VPN protocol designed with high performance and security in mind, and is a promising new technology for making Proton VPN even better. As active members of the open-source community, we are happy to support other open-source projects, particularly ones that improve the Internet.

Learn more about Proton VPN and WireGuard in our blog post here.

Bid on the Lifetime Account to support WireGuard here.

Each organization gets at least €10,000

All of the proceeds from these auctions will be donated to the three organizations listed above. Our goal is to raise €10,000 for each of these organizations, and to assist with this, we will also make a donation to make sure the goal is reached.

What are Lifetime Accounts? 

The Proton Mail Lifetime Account is the most exclusive Proton Mail account available. They have only been offered to the public twice, once in 2014 and again in 2016, where they were priced at €1,337 and completely sold out.

The Lifetime Account is not subscription based — instead, the account is purchased once and then entitles the account owner to have Visionary status forever (usually €288/year). The Lifetime Account has a few other perks as well:

  • Lifetime Accounts will automatically get lifetime premium accounts for other services Proton Mail has already introduced (such as Proton VPN) or may introduce in the future (ProtonDrive, calendar, etc.)
  • Lifetime status can be transferred to any Proton Mail account (if you change your username, you can move Lifetime status to your new account)
  • There are no restrictions on sale or resale of Lifetime accounts (secondary market prices are well in excess of the original prices)

These days, Lifetime Accounts typically change hands for between $3,500-$5,000 on the secondary market, and their value should increase as we add more services to the Proton ecosystem. Moreover, as this is a charity auction, all of the proceeds are going towards supporting human rights online, and that’s priceless today and in the future.

Will more Lifetime Accounts become available in the future?

This question has come up several times over the years, but as we said back in 2016, Lifetime Accounts are meant to be very limited in number. That’s why we are only auctioning three of them at this time, and will also keep numbers extremely limited in the future. We believe the charity auction format balances the request that we have gotten from users for Lifetime Accounts, while also remaining fair to existing Lifetime users. By donating all proceeds, Proton Mail also does not profit from the artificial lack of supply, and we can also achieve some good at the same time.

Why is Proton Mail giving money away?

We are proud of our record of being responsible stewards of the funding entrusted to us by the community. After our 2014 crowdfunding campaign, we delivered on every promise made, which makes us a rarity among crowdfunded projects. We do not spend recklessly, and we’re only able to support other projects today because we exceeded our near-term targets during our recent Black Friday promotion. This is our way of giving back to the community that has supported us over the years (both Charter’97 and RSF Germany are Proton Mail users), while at the same time furthering our shared mission.

We greatly appreciate all of those who have stood with us over the years, and we look forward to working together with you in the years to come to build a better Internet.

P.S. If your organization is part of the Proton community and in need of support, please let us know at media@proton.me so we can keep you in mind in the future.

Sign up and get a free secure email account from Proton Mail.

We also provide a free VPN service to protect your privacy.

Proton Mail and Proton VPN are funded by community contributions. If you would like to support our development efforts, you can upgrade to a paid plan. Thank you for your support!

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