Dalph, thanks for bringing this up. Lots of new players here that might not have seen what happened in previous months... anyway, let me explain why we DON'T have either of those things.
Chest protection is good, when it works. The issue we had is, people placed chests wide out in the open, expecting them to be protected 100% of the time. We all know how buggy Minecraft and the mods/plugins that go along with it can be, and the chest protection was broken from time to time. Those people who were relying on it to protect their goods lost lots of items.
Moral of the story? The best protection you can have is that you hide your chests deep underground, behind a tunnel with a series of twists and splits, and behind a fake wall of some kind. Also, placing two blocks on top of it (so that it cannot be accessed without breaking the blocks) would ensure that we knew who to ban if someone DID happen to find it, and stole from it.
Regarding the block protection, we take a little bit different point of view. VIP's have access to a "lost city", which is quite far from spawn. Far enough that it would take a good 30 hours of walking to reach it, and that's only if you knew where it was. Several other VIP-only cities have spawned in the general area as well. Basically, it is very safe, all the time, it doesn't have to rely on a plugin, and doesn't require any mod or admin intervention. It also doesn't frustrate players who can't figure out where they can and cannot build. I like a person to be able to enter the server, and start mining resources and building right away, without waiting for any "rights" to be given by an administrator. Yes, this does mean there will be a bit more griefing than on other servers, but I believe that new players also appreciate being able to immediately start building things when they join.