Sold out Lifetime Accounts are available again

Earlier this morning, ProtonMail Lifetime Accounts sold out 12 hours after we made them available.

Update –  November 27, 2016: ProtoMail Lifetime Accounts sold out again this morning. However, we are still in the process of notifying users about this offering. Thus, to give everyone an equal opportunity to obtain a Lifetime Account, we will raise the limit on the number of Lifetime Accounts until all notifications are sent. The last notification will finish sending Monday morning, so Cyber Monday will be the last day Lifetime Accounts are available. We would like to again thank everybody who has contributed to support the ProtonMail project. This overwhelming support will allow us to accelerate our development schedule next year and build new features faster!

On Black Friday, we made 50 ProtonMail Lifetime Accounts available for 1337€ each (full details about the special offering can be found on our announcement page here). The response from the ProtonMail community was larger than we imagined, and all 50 accounts sold out this morning just 12 hours after going on sale. We are extremely grateful to everybody who purchased a Lifetime Account yesterday. Your support means that we will have the resources to make extensive infrastructure investments in 2017, which will strengthen ProtonMail and benefit the entire community.

The speed in which the Lifetime Accounts sold out however, did create a problem. In addition to supporting ProtonMail, many community members are interested in the Lifetime Accounts because they provide ProtonMail Visionary status for life, and some people have been waiting since 2014 (when we last offered them) to obtain one. In order to notify the community about the availability of Lifetime Accounts, we started sending an email notification to all users yesterday.

However, since ProtonMail has grown so much recently, it actually takes several days to send an email to everyone. This led to the situation where, the Lifetime Accounts were sold out before some users even became aware that they were available, and some people have pointed out to us that this is not fair. To remedy the situation, we are making an additional 50 Lifetime Accounts available so that everybody has the opportunity to buy one after being notified. These Lifetime Accounts are available until Monday, November 28, 2016.

Starting today, we are also limiting purchases to 1 per user. It has always been possible to transfer or resell Lifetime status, and this doesn’t change. We won’t take steps to ban the practice, but we obviously discourage buying Lifetime Accounts solely for resale on secondary markets.

A note regarding the “fairness” of Lifetime Accounts:

Finally, we would like to address the concerns from some community members that ProtonMail Lifetime Accounts unfairly benefit the rich, and go against ProtonMail’s egalitarian values. We do not entirely agree with this assessment, and here’s why:

ProtonMail’s user community is diverse. We have users from all countries, rich and poor, from all walks of life, and from all sides of the political spectrum. However, we all share the belief that privacy and security matter, and should be protected at any cost. A cornerstone of this vision is always providing a free version of ProtonMail, because money should never be a barrier for somebody to exercise their fundamental human right to privacy and security.

ProtonMail does not invade your privacy by selling your data to advertisers. We can’t for the same reason that governments cannot ask ProtonMail for your data – we can’t read your emails. Having no advertisers means the only group we need to listen to is the ProtonMail community. The downside is that unlike Google, we don’t have billions in advertising revenue to sustain the free accounts.

Instead, ProtonMail operates on a model where the paid accounts are subsidizing the free accounts. This is how we can continue to protect users in countries where paying for email isn’t economically feasible, but encrypting email might be necessary to avoid persecution. This model only works due to the generosity and financial resources of an important subset of our users. Lifetime Accounts are a way for certain supporters in our community to contribute more today, and these contributions are critical to sustaining the most egalitarian part of ProtonMail, the free accounts we provide.

This is the essence of what the ProtonMail community is about, and why together, we are able to challenge the forces that would like to see online privacy fail. Millions of people are contributing however they can (either financially, by spreading the word, or by writing code), and this makes us strong enough collectively to make a real difference when it comes to our privacy rights.

Best Regards,
The ProtonMail Team

ProtonMail is supported by community contributions. We don’t serve ads or abuse your privacy. You can support our mission by upgrading to a paid plan or donating.


About the Author


We are scientists, engineers, and developers drawn together by a shared vision of protecting civil liberties online. Ensuring online privacy and security are core values for the ProtonMail team, and we strive daily to protect your rights online.


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11 comments on “Sold out Lifetime Accounts are available again

    • We are trying now to get an exact count, it’s a bit tricky because some users are paying by bitcoin. It’s somewhere between 100 and 200 at this time. The last notifications are going out now so we will be ending the offering for good in the next couple hours.

  • Let me get this straight.

    The world’s best encrypted email has to celebrate because they raised about $18,000? $18,000 is less than nothing in the world economy. And Britain just passed a very aggressive bill to spy on it’s citizens.

    Something is wrong when individuals leave billions to their foundations, and old ladies leave millions to their cats, and ProtonMail has to get excited by $18,000. I understand why it happens. But, large gifts to ProtonMail need to be explained to the wealthy as gifts to humanity, and against tyranny and nefarious control. Historians will laugh, because this amount of money clearly proves one thing – NO ONE is interested in freeing people from control. The economy, and modern life, is about trapping and controlling other people. There is no longer any benefit in most people’s minds to FREEING their fellow man.

    If it were any different than what I say, ProtonMail wouldn’t have to get excited by these tiny amounts of money. Wealthy individuals and some governments (hello Iceland) should be giving millions to ProtonMail.

  • The post I just submitted should read “about $180,000” was raised by ProtonMail. (Not $18,000). This is 100 accounts x 1337 British pounds. Still a very small amount.

    • You’re right. Last year my Alma mater started to buy licenses for Microsoft Word for many 10.000 CHF. They properly praised it as a progress that from now on every researcher can edit research papers and investigations online. But no one of these “wise” vizerectors questions data safety and the protection of important and protectable data (–> Keyword “Yahoo”). Similar is the case with many companies.
      In my opinion, this company has found a niche product, which, if further developed and marketed, will become increasingly important in the future.

      The most important thing for Protonmail is to remain loyal to their principles. And an emerging company like Proton Technologies is able to transform a financial infusion of over 200.000 CHF soon into million and millions of CHF, if they are diligent and genious enough. The most important thing then is to keep the company uncorrupted.

  • I would have liked to see fewer Lifetime accounts sold. Keep it exclusive, special, rare, something that says you got in early, paid a lot, and are here for the long haul. Just charge $5,000 for them: ProtonMail would raise more money, and have sold fewer accounts.

  • While I believe that 48 €/year isn’t in any form expensive for a professional of corporate user, I think it indeed is, for a student, a homewife, or any other domestic user that just wants the tranquility of feeling a bit more secure and respected; not because 4 € a month is much, in abstract, but because it is for an email service that most domestic users will use 1 or 2 times a day in average, if so, for nowadays most domestic communications are carried through messengers like Whatsapp, Telegram et al.
    Domestic users don’t usually need custom domain names, priority customer support, 1.000 messages/day nor probably 5 alias* nor labels and filters (well, perhaps until your email cient compatibility is finished filters would be useful, but if one can use his mail client there’s no need at all as the user will set his own filters and rules); and even, well might be that many users dont need as much as 5 GB storage either. Sure some will like all those features, but I don’t think the majority does.

    Thus I think that there is where your plans could be improved. Why not let the user configure their plans? For example, most users would probably be happy with 1 GB storage, 2 alias, 20 or 30 messages/day and regular customer suport, nothing else. Tutanota has a “basic” plan, but with much more features: 5 alias, custom domains, filters, and logo personalization for 12 €/year. How much would a really basic plan like my example cost, 8 – 10 € a year, even less?
    Offering a fair price for a basic plan without so many alias, custom domains, and all that stuff that, most of us don’t need at all; and then (following Tutanota’s model), adding more features on demand at cost would make Protonmail much more attractive for much more people. I think the key is not to sell few and expensive but sell that few, plus also a lot of economic accounts. Besides, this way perhaps it would be less necessary to “subsidize” users as many of those who now don’t buy a paid account because of the price and the unneeded features would pay for an adequate plan.

    Think about it, I sincerely believe that a more flexible and affordable business model would make PM more successful.


    * GMX permits up to 10. You’d probably improve that a bit for your “Plus” plan. While common users would probably be content with a couple of alias, “power users” that are buying Plus plans would probably need more than 5.

    • Exactly my thoughts when I really felt the need to donate but wanting a feature or two in exchange. I would also like to donate to try out their VPN, but no option at least for now. I’ll continue to have a desire to donate, but I suppose keep my free account and use it every day.

  • OMG. I wanted it so bad. Yet missed all the opportunities. Sigh…
    If anyone wants to sell one please contact me. ssohn[at]protonmail[dot]com