We’re auctioning Lifetime Accounts to support a free and fair Internet and a more sustainable future

Last week we asked you for suggestions about which organizations you think we should help with our Lifetime Auction and you responded with hundreds of worthy causes and institutes. All of your recommendations aligned with the Proton philosophy of creating a more secure and private Internet and defending human rights. However, as we went through the list and thought about where our contribution could have the most significant impact, three organizations stood out.

This year, we will auction off three ProtonMail Lifetime Accounts to support NetBlocks, 350.org, and the Web Foundation’s Women’s Rights Online project.

All three of these organizations work to expand Internet access and defend individuals’ digital rights. Last year’s charity auction raised over €45,000 for Charter’97, the largest independent Belarusian news outlet; WireGuard, a new open source VPN protocol; and the Berlin Scholarship Program run by Reporters Without Borders, which trains journalists working in combat zones and authoritarian countries on digital safety. The organizations we have selected this year also align with our goal of making the world a better place. The auctions begin today on eBay and will run until Dec. 29.

Proton will also make a matching contribution equal to what the community raises through the charity auction, up to a total of €30,000. 

This year’s organizations


NetBlocks is an independent, non-partisan watchdog group that monitors the status of the Internet in countries all around the world and reports any shutdowns or blackouts. Their invaluable work calls attention to how often governments shut down the Internet to exert control. They have also produced reports and analyses that calculate the impact Internet shutdowns have on nations and society worldwide. Proton’s mission is to promote internet freedom globally, and the work done by NetBlocks has been instrumental in helping us see where we need to focus our efforts to expand the reach of free technologies like ProtonVPN.

The World Wide Web Foundation

The World Wide Web Foundation is an international non-profit organization that fights for a web that is safe, empowering, and for everyone. It was founded by Tim Berners-Lee, a fellow CERN alumnus, and the inventor of the world wide web. The Web Foundation does essential work across a number of projects that promote Internet access as a fundamental human right. Studies have shown that in the developing world, women are 50% less likely to access the Internet than men in the same community. That’s why we’ve chosen to support their Women’s Rights Online project, which aims to close the digital gender gap by improving and expanding Internet access for women in developing countries.


350.org is a US-based international nonprofit that uses people power to support renewable energy solutions and turn away from fossil fuels. They collaborate with environmental and local community groups around the world at a grassroots level. They work with and through these groups to mobilize volunteers and put pressure on governments and organizations to adopt renewable energy policies. The latest environmental science informs its strategy, and its name is taken from 350 parts per million — the upper limit of what is considered a safe concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In our analysis of nonprofits, we found 350.org to be one of the most effective and ethical organizations addressing environmental responsibility.

What are Lifetime Accounts? 

The Proton Lifetime Account is the most exclusive Proton account available. Only a small number of accounts exist, and the last and final time a significant quantity was made available was in 2016, when they were priced at €1337 and completely sold out. Since then, our annual charity auction is the only way to purchase a Lifetime Account from us. 

The Lifetime Account gives its owner Visionary status forever (usually €288/year). The Lifetime Account has a few other perks as well:

  • Automatic premium accounts for all existing and future Proton services, including ProtonCalendar and the upcoming ProtonDrive
  • The ability to transfer Lifetime status to any other Proton account
  • The option to resell the account 
  • Early access to new Proton products and services.

In last year’s auction, these Lifetime Accounts sold for more than €10,000.

In 2018, they were being exchanged for between $3,500-$5,000 on the secondary market. With additional Proton products being launched in the future, their value should only increase. 

Help us make a better Internet for 2020

ProtonMail began in 2014 after a crowdfunding campaign helped us get enough funding to get started, so we are acutely aware of the difference our users’ donations can make. Because of our origins, we also believe in supporting other, like-minded organizations. Not only is it one way we can give back this holiday season, but these donations will also help further our shared mission. We feel that together with NetBlocks, the Web Foundation, and 350.org we can be more environmentally responsible and make an Internet that is open to everyone.

Thank you to all of our many users who have supported us over the years. We are looking forward to 2020; we feel it will be our biggest year yet.

Best Regards and Happy Holidays!
The ProtonMail Team

P.S. If your organization is part of the ProtonMail community and in need of support, please let us know at media@protonmail.ch so we can keep you in mind in the future. And don’t forget, the auction ends Dec. 29!

Sign up and get a free secure email account from ProtonMail.

We also provide a free VPN service to protect your privacy.ProtonMail and ProtonVPN are funded by community contributions. If you would like to support our development efforts, you can upgrade to a paid plan or donate. Thank you for your support!

About the Author

Richie Koch

Prior to joining Proton, Richie spent several years working on tech solutions in the developing world. He joined the Proton team to advance the rights of online privacy and freedom.

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14 comments on “We’re auctioning Lifetime Accounts to support a free and fair Internet and a more sustainable future

  • I am a very satisfied ProtonMail Visionary member. I use it even though nearly none of my contacts do, in the belief they will sometime. I also use it in my business between members. I think what you are doing is fantastic!! I help fundraising for my daughter’s school and this is great example of thoughtful fundraising. My company Cellcinema.org is making a wildly progressive Rock Opera this year and hope, in one scene to tell of the benefits of Protonmail. An agent of sorts, wants secure communication from everyone, and is is offered by the equivalent of Agent Q, Protonmail and proton VPN. It’s disappointing to him, compared to something James Bondish, but as he hears the security available and what VPN does, he becomes very enthused, even by the price. I hope many people will sign up. My film is on a shoe string, and would love to know if Protonmail does any media PR or product placement and would like to be sponsor in any way of this production which really brings up the dangers of a surveillance world. We would also love your advice on how to best state this situation in a very short scene.


  • I’d love to bid on one, but you have out-priced the average user who makes a barely living wage. Unfortunately lifetime accounts will never be available to the general public, only the 1% will get them. Bad business ProtonMail
    Bad business indeed 🙁

  • I love the idea, but how about adding one account as a raffle? That way more of us can participate who don’t have $5k (current US value of bid) to pony up.

  • Does the “Automatic premium accounts for all existing and future Proton services, including the upcoming ProtonCalendar and ProtonDrive.” mean you will also get premium ProtonVPN access?

  • I really wish this was a donation lottery and not an auction. There’s simply no way that I’m going to come close to winning a bid, but I would absolutely chip in to a good cause for a chance to win a lifetime account.

  • 1. Fossil fuel replacement is off topic; claims that 350.org is related to proton privacy mission is quite a bit off-base.
    2. Raising funds for other organizations is a fine endeavor, giving matching proton funds that were raised for proton products and services feels like a waste of my annual fees. That money was expected to be spent on providing services, enhancing products, and furthering/maintaining proton stability/security.

    • Only the winning bidder (the person who has placed the highest bid when the auction ends) will be charged and will receive a Lifetime Account.

  • I am so excited to see Women’s Rights Online project as one of the chosen 3!! This support from the donation will make an impactful difference in helping to close the gender gap for internet usage/availability in 3rd world countries. It’s a good step in the right direction to help empower those who need it the most.

  • Good idea is raising money; however, there should be two tiers – one for big donors who automatically get the lifetime account. The second, would be for the rest of us, who are not able to afford big donations – so a raffle like others have suggested.

  • Women are not oppressed. Stop making that nonsense up! Its pure political rhetoric. And I’m sickened every time I hear it!