With its residency program, Estonia is ahead of other countries in Europe in digital. Initially launched to allow Estonian citizens to do the administrative procedures online, the program was opened to other inhabitants of the planet.
- Today, after applying for Estonian residency (in Estonia or at an embassy), anyone can take advantage of these advantages, such as creating and managing a business remotely via the internet.
22,000 Estonian e-residents from 138 countries are registered and according to the administration, many people who apply for residence already exceed the birth rate of this small country of 1.3 million inhabitants.
Outside the European Union, this program allows entrepreneurs to benefit from financial inclusion: having an EU company and a bank account in the EU, which enables them to work for European clients.
It is also advantageous for digital nomads (entrepreneurs and freelancers who work and travel at the same time)
After the residence, a crypto-national currency?
Today, Estonia, often described as a startup country, decides to push the concept further.
In a blog post posted on Medium, Kaspar Korjus, the e-resident program director, announces a proposal for a national crypto-currency called Estocoin (a Bitcoin misappropriation).
Like the Bitcoin, Estcoin could facilitate transactions. But the advantage, as Korjus writes, is that this currency could not be used for illegal activities since it will be monitored by a government.
Estonia is not the first country to consider a national crypto-currency. But according to the program director, the country has a clear advantage because of its advanced digital infrastructure and its e-resident program.
To develop this project, the Estonian government has even the support of Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, another digital currency similar to Bitcoin which is much talk about it now.
For the latter, "if these Estcoins are issued on a blockchain [...] it will become practical and easy to use them in intelligent contracts and for other uses".
But by launching the Estcoin, Estonia could also raise funds, via the so-called ICO or Initial Coin Offering. In the private sector, this "allows companies to strengthen their financing and encourage a wide range of people to develop their activities," says Korjus. In essence, the Estcoins will also be a way of investing in the country.
If the proposal has sufficient support, the next step will be to provide a document that "describes the value of the Estcoin and how the investment will be used to develop the digital nation".
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