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I'd like to sell digital photos through my website using PayPal to help fund my photography hobby. Staying anonymous is important to me, so I don't want my name or address disclosed to buyers.

A business account seems to provide some anonymity, but I am doing this as a hobby and don't want to deal with the legalities of running a business.

How can I accept payment through PayPal but remain anonymous to buyers?

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    Have you consulted a lawyer if this what do you want to do is legal in AU? In EU it would most likely be illicit because of customer protection. – user45830 Feb 12 '18 at 11:35
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this has nothing to do with personal finance – Pete B. Feb 12 '18 at 11:59
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    @PeteB. Small business sole proprietorship finance questions are on-topic, and according to the OP this is more of a hobby than a business anyway. This should remain open, in my opinion. – Ben Miller Feb 12 '18 at 13:01
  • @BenMiller what gets me is the desire to remain anonymous. It just seems very off topic to me. However, I would error on the side of leaving it open! – Pete B. Feb 12 '18 at 13:03
  • @PeteB. Imagine that the question had opened with this: “I’ve got some things around my house that I want to sell on eBay, but I would rather stay anonymous.” Would you have voted to close then? – Ben Miller Feb 12 '18 at 13:06
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Staying anonymous is important to me, so I don't want my name or address disclosed to buyers.

Yes, the first question is always who you are trying to stay anonymous to. Buyers? Thats easy! Tax authorities and state actors? Much harder and don't matter.

A properly formed business entity will hide your name and address, substituting them for a different one as long as it isn't registered to your own home. The business entity can have a human name instead of a business sounding name.

The business entity can often times be foreign as well.

Having a business entity has nothing to do with running a business. It really can just be a vehicle for privacy and also has the perk of sheltering you from liability. There isn't much that is functionally different from selling something as an unincorporated hobby vs incorporated.

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The only possible hope is to simply use something like

https://www.photoshelter.com

where you can possibly use a nom de plume.

Simply google "sell photos online" for innumerable such businesses. These days it's all but impossible an individual can/would actually "set up their own online commerce".

  • "These days it's all but impossible an individual can/would actually "set up their own online commerce"." On the contrary, it has never been easier for individuals to set up an online store. Maybe you don't consider it "their own", but OP can use many, many different service providers for something like this. This doesn't answer the question at all of how to do so while remaining personally unidentified. – Beanluc Feb 14 '18 at 22:54
  • hi @Beanluc, yes that is 100% what I mean - these days you just use a service provider. (Such as the one I linked - which does exactly, precisely, what the OP asked.) It's not realistically possible for an individual to set up online sales "from scratch" - you just use a service. – Fattie Feb 14 '18 at 23:02
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    "This doesn't answer the question at all of how to do so while remaining personally unidentified" FYI using photoshelter.com, with a non de plume, is exactly, precisely, the way to do what the OP exactly asks - "sell photos online, accept paypal, anonymity!" Indeed, I believe it's the only way to get close to what the OP asks. (NB, "non de plume" means: nickname, not your real human name.) – Fattie Feb 14 '18 at 23:03
  • I couldn't find a service that offered what I wanted, so I decided to make my own site. I need something that would work without using another site. – user2248702 Feb 15 '18 at 9:59
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    @Fattie FYI it's nom de plume (French for pen name) – 0xFEE1DEAD Feb 15 '18 at 16:55
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I would personally look into using crypto currency. It's faster than every other solution out there. It's cheaper than every other solution out there. It also has a bright future if you hold it instead of cashing it immediately.

Bitcoin is NOT a privacy coin. It doesn't do anything to hide transactions, it has a public blockchain and does nothing to obfuscate your IP address. That said, if your goal is only to accept payments from people and have those people not be able to identify you, bitcoin and many other currencies are fine.

The way people get caught doing bad things with with bitcoin is

  1. not obfuscating their IP address when transmitting
  2. and linking their wallet address to a public deanonymized profile.

So if you were to create a new bitcoin address and just use that address on your business site, it'd be pretty anonymous from average users. The government would be able to find you though. Also if you ever tie that wallet address to a public profile it's instantly deanonymized.

This is where option 2 comes. There are a few great privacy coins out there. I prefer Verge personally but there are certainly others such as Monero.

Verge obfuscates your IP address by transmitting natively over TOR or I2P. It also has stealth addressing built in natively which means that you never expose your wallet address to the world. Using public private key encryption, a unique anonymous address is generated using public keys from both the sender and receiver. This address is what's put on the blockchain and is untraceable. Only the receiver will ever be able to claim funds posted in this manner and until quantum computing becomes accessible, it is unbreakable with todays computing power.

So in summary:

Cryptocurrency is easy to use, is extremely fast and extremely cheap. It's also appreciating in value at a ridiculous rate over the last few years so it could net you more than you originally asked if you don't cash it out immediately. That said, if you do want to cash it out, there's great solutions for that. Such as Coinbase's new merchant solution and also recently Litecoin announced LitePay. I personally have used Coinpayments in the past and it was a nice option as well.

UPDATE:

To the OP, don't be discouraged by the downvotes. This is a legitimate answer. The people that are downvoting and not commenting why are either not in the crypto market or have a vested interest against it.

Anyone that looks at the technology though and understands that major companies, Wells Fargo, Amazon, Ebay, JP Morgan, Moneygram, Western Union, etc etc etc etc etc, are investing time and money into it, it's not going away.

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    but the target demographic won't use it. – CQM Feb 15 '18 at 14:54
  • @CQM They might. Look at 50 cent. tmz.com/2018/01/23/… – Anthony Russell Feb 15 '18 at 14:55
  • okay. there are plenty of crypto art websites out there. they don't get much business. yes, this becomes untrue as soon as they get business. did I cover all the rebuttals? – CQM Feb 15 '18 at 14:59
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    lol, this must have been how I sounded in 2011. you pivoted to evangelizing cryptocurrency because you decided I needed to be convinced, and gave examples that have to do with consumer to merchant adoption. This thread is a question regarding marketing and funnels and product market fit. Bitcoin is not a viable option for an artist that wants to sell something anonymously simply because it increases their funnel exponentially while simultaneously diluting their purchasing audience to a sliver of a sliver. Coinbase's merchant solution has nothing to do with anonymity, and only to do with crypto – CQM Feb 15 '18 at 16:16
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    Coinbase's prior merchant service did not even allow for business accounts. But yes you would be right that the buyer wouldn't get anything on a statement simply because cards aren't used. – CQM Feb 15 '18 at 17:05

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