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Orchid VPN review

Crypto-powered VPN for extra privacy

Orchid VPN
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

Orchid VPN sure has the right idea about privacy, harnessing blockchain and cryptocurrency to reduce the chances of anyone finding out you’re using the service. Thanks to its simple apps, you can get connected in no time and start browsing immediately. However, this VPN model isn’t without its disadvantages. You need to have the provider’s cryptocurrency to hand, as well as ether (ETH) to cover transaction fees, which means the price of the service is subject to volatility. We also experienced rather poor download speeds in comparison with non-decentralized competitors.

For

  • High level of privacy
  • Unlimited devices and users
  • Simple apps
  • Pay-as-you-go model

Against

  • Poor download speeds
  • Limited platform support
  • No free trial
  • Expensive

Orchid VPN is a “crypto-powered VPN service and advanced network security tool” that gives you access to a network of VPN providers from within one app.

It allows you to create as many “hops” as you need, each representing one VPN connection. But to gain access to the service, you'll need to acquire Orchid's OXT token.

Price

This VPN provider doesn’t follow the same pricing models as its competitors - there are no pricing plans or subscription options. Instead, you pay for as much bandwidth as you need, but with cryptocurrency.

Orchid VPN has its own token, OXT, which you can purchase on cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinmama, Kraken, etc. Then you use this token to purchase the amount of VPN bandwidth you want, along with some ETH as a transaction fee (since the whole platform uses the Ethereum blockchain), so make sure you have some of both.

There’s no free trial or refund policy, so you won’t be able to get your money back if the service isn't to your liking. And with fluctuations in the cryptocurrency market and prices of both ETH and OXT, the service can be expensive.

The provider recommends at least 50% efficiency, which requires you to pay the equivalent of at least $50 in cryptocurrencies. This may seem expensive, but you can share your account with an unlimited number of devices and people.

Orchid VPN

(Image credit: Future)

Alternatives

While Orchid VPN’s blockchain-based decentralized model allows for superior levels of privacy, it comes at a steep price; the service is even costlier than ExpressVPN. On top of that, its download speeds are a lot poorer.

Then there are the likes of CyberGhost and Surfshark, which have gorgeous native apps for all the major platforms (even Linux, Android TV, and FireOS) and support for manual installation on many others (routers, gaming consoles, streaming consoles, and more).

Streaming

Orchid VPN may provide you with access to today’s popular streaming channels like Netflix and Hulu (as long as the “hops” are in the relevant locations), but actually watching the content may be a whole different story.

Our tested download speeds were far from sufficient to watch anything even remotely data-heavy, but if your basic internet speed is high enough (say, over 300Mbps), this might not be a mission impossible for you.

About the company

The organization behind this VPN is known as Orchid Labs and is based in San Francisco, California.

Since the company's model involves the services of multiple VPN providers, the number of server locations you can connect to can’t be pinpointed. Each time we connected to test the service, however, the server was in the US.

Orchid VPN

(Image credit: Future)

Privacy and encryption

Thanks to Orchid VPN’s decentralized nature, no one will know what you’re doing online, so you can be sure to remain anonymous even when torrenting.

In addition to connecting to your given “hops” in the app, you can also enter your own OpenVPN and WireGuard configs for even more privacy and security. 

According to the provider, all the traffic goes through at least two layers of encryption. Add to this the multi-hop feature and you’re getting quite a lot of anonymity.

Support

While its Windows app is still being developed, Orchid VPN currently has user-friendly clients for Mac, iOS, and Android. Unfortunately, no other platforms seem to be supported at this time.

At the time of writing, the provider’s Android app has a score of 3.8 stars (out of 5) and has been installed by over 10,000 users. The iOS/Mac app had a better score - 4.7 stars - but has only been rated by 9 people.

While the website is a pretty good source of information on anything related to this VPN solution, be it in the form of an informative blog, whitepaper, or FAQ section, you can also try to contact Orchid VPN via Twitter, Telegram, Reddit, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, or even GitHub. If all else fails, then there’s the trusty email method.

Orchid VPN

(Image credit: Future)

Speed and experience

Connecting to the Orchid VPN Android app was extremely simple. All you need to do is tap on the “Connect” button, wait a few seconds, and you're ready to go.

Our testing connection wasn’t very fast to begin with, with a download speed of just 30.88Mbps. Upon connecting to the only location we could (there was no way to choose) - the US - we got some very disappointing results, ranging from 1.6 to 1.97Mbps.

This is hardly enough for data-heavy activities like video streaming, but if your Internet connection is much faster than ours (say 370Mbps, which would probably deliver around 15-20Mbps), then it just might be suitable.

Still, the reduction in download speeds with this service is significant - and much greater than among the competition.

Verdict

While the platform guarantees a higher level of privacy than its non-blockchain-based counterparts, Orchid VPN can hardly keep up with the industry heavyweights. In fact, it's far behind in terms of download speeds, platform support, prices, and extra features.

However, it can match them in the number of simultaneous connections, app simplicity, and access to geo-restricted content, provided you have access to higher speeds than we did.