Who should we support with our 2020 Lifetime account auction?

An illustration of the ProtonMail Lifetime account.

For the past two years, we have auctioned three Proton Lifetime accounts to raise money for worthy causes. Last year, we raised over $60,000 to support Netblocks, 350.org, and the Web Foundation’s Women’s Rights Online project. For 2020, we’re looking to give even more, and we want you to help us decide where the funds should go.

This year, in addition to auctioning three Lifetime accounts, we will be giving away three more Lifetime accounts in a raffle. That means there will be six Lifetime accounts made available. Lifetime accounts give users Visionary status forever, meaning you get access to all premium features in all current and future Proton services.

In response to feedback from the community, we are introducing a raffle to give more people the opportunity to win a Lifetime account. This raffle will also increase the amount of money we can raise for these organizations by encouraging more people to participate. (You can read more details on the raffle below.) We pledge to match the funds raised in the auctions and raffle up to $50,000. 

Help us choose this year’s donation recipients

Before we begin the auction and raffle, we would like you to suggest charities, organizations, cooperatives, projects, events, etc., that you feel would be worthy recipients of funding from the Proton community. We will be accepting your suggestions until Nov. 27, and we will announce which organizations were selected on Dec. 2.

For independent organizations, these donations can significantly impact their sustainability and the scope of projects they can undertake, especially this year when the pandemic has disrupted so much public and private funding. Our donations come with no strings attached, and we do not ask the organizations we support for anything in return.

We invite you to share any and all suggestions for beneficiaries you have. There are no strict criteria, but in the past, we have supported organizations that work in fields that align with our mission of providing security, privacy, and freedom to everyone. In addition to the organizations above, we have also supported the Belarusian news outlet Charter’97, the WireGuard VPN project, and a scholarship program to train journalists in digital security. 

To suggest beneficiaries, simply fill out this Typeform survey. You’re welcome to suggest up to three organizations. You have until Nov. 27 to give us your input. 

This year’s raffle

We will still be auctioning off three Lifetime accounts to the highest bidder on eBay, but this year we’re also going to add a raffle. You will be able to purchase a ticket from the Proton Shop for $10 each. You can buy as many tickets as you like. At the end of the raffle, we will randomly select three winners to receive Lifetime accounts. The money raised in the raffle will then be divided equally between the three organizations.

In the Dec. 2 article where we announce which organizations were selected, we will also include links to the auctions and instructions on how to purchase raffle tickets. 

What are the benefits of a Lifetime account?

Proton Lifetime accounts grant the owner Visionary status forever (regular price €288/year) for a one-time, upfront payment. We issued the first Lifetime accounts for about €1,000 each as part of the 2014 crowdfunding campaign that helped launch ProtonMail. Since then, we have given them out sparingly, and today there are only a few hundred in existence. 

Lifetime accounts are transferable, so there is also a secondary market in which users can buy and sell Lifetime accounts among themselves. According to the most recent exchanges, they are valued at roughly €10,000.

Lifetime account benefits include:

  • Automatic Visionary status for all existing and future Proton services, including
  • Priority status when it comes to getting early access to new products
  • The ability to transfer the account to any other Proton username
  • The option to resell the account on the secondary market

About the Lifetime account auction and raffle

This year has been a truly trying time for people worldwide. The pandemic has fundamentally altered life worldwide, down to how we work and socialize. The troubling global trend of governments shutting down the internet to maintain political power has also continued. As an organization that benefits immensely from its community’s generosity, we have tried to respond in kind, from offering additional resources to help people get through Covid-related lockdowns to raising money to support freedom in Hong Kong

There is still much to be done, which is why we want our 2020 Lifetime account auction and raffle to be the biggest yet. We’re excited to see which organizations you suggest. Remember to respond by Nov. 27, and check back here on Dec. 2 to see which organizations you can support with the auction and raffle.

You can get a free secure email account from ProtonMail here.

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. 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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