Since I know nothing about bitcoin and it seemed intimidating to learn how, I decided to sleuth out how to pay completely anonymously in some other way. Here's how I did it. I'm going to belabor the details with you to convince you.
First, I decided I wanted NordVPN as my vpn. To communicate with them anonymously, I opened a protonmail email account which itself requires no identifying information from me. Using protonmail, I communicated to NordVPN what I wanted to accomplish but without using bitcoin and I said that I was not in their same country.
They have a number of payment methods, most were unique to Europe and I did not recognize them, but one that was available in the USA was something called Openbucks. I learned that Openbucks is a system devised by an American who wanted to help people who do not have bank accounts to be able pay for things over the internet, using gift cards. From the Openbucks website:
"The magic of the Openbucks online payment platform is that there are no 'Openbucks' gift cards. Openbucks leverages existing prepaid and gift cards of top trusted brands such as SUBWAY, CVS/Pharmacy, Dollar General and more. Any of the cards offered as a payment method through the Openbucks platform will work for your online payment if it is listed as an option from the merchant site you are purchasing from."
A Subway gift card was listed among the Openbucks cards accepted by NordVPN and since these stores are everywhere it was the one I would use.
To further pave the way for my plan, I contacted Openbucks (using protonmail) to confirm that a (Subway) gift card bought in the United States could be used to pay a company that resides outside of the United States. Somewhere in my research I read about others running into this obstacle and I didn't want to buy the card then find at the last minute I got refused on NordVPN' website. Openbucks gave me this reply:
"So long as you see Openbucks, or any of Openbucks' supported gift cards, as an option on the merchant page you are trying to purchase from, then you are good to use those cards which are bought on stores from the United States. Conversely speaking, Openbucks supported gift cards gift card purchased in the United States does not restrict you to buy only from companies based in the United States. A tip also: you may find that for some websites, the option may not be instantly presented. On this case, you may have to change the currency or “country” of payment. If you would do that, then you may be able to see options for Openbucks supported gift cards. "
The trick is, according to others who have tried and failed, do NOT buy the gift card at a grocery store like Safeway where you often see a whole rack full of gift cards for all sorts of companies. Those gift cards will not work for this. You MUST buy the card at the actual store itself. So I called ahead to the Subway nearest me to make sure they had some gift cards available, went there, paid them in cash to load a Subway gift card with the exact amount that NordVPN wanted from me.
Ok, the last part of the plan is, whose computer do I use to make this online payment anonymously? I don't want to use my own computer. I can't use the computer at the public library because they require that I log in with my library card. Well, it just so happens that our city has several Senior Citizen Centers and they have computer terminals for senior citizens and, as you might know, senior citizens are well-known for not putting up with surrendering any personal information, meaning there are no login codes at their terminals. I went down to one of the centers (after calling first to ask to use one of their terminals), pulled up the NordVPN website payment portal (I rehearsed as much as I could on my home computer beforehand) and entered the number off of my Subway gift card.
Voila. I opened an account with NordVPN using a gift card from cash, all done anonymously. No name, no personal information given to anyone. No bitcoin involved. I saved the Subway gift card so I can do it again when it come times to renew with NordVPN.