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Estonia to consider offering crypto coins to e-residents

Matteo Natalucci Published 01 September 2017

Plan to introduce crypto tokens, potentially as payment for both public and private services could see Estonia become a crypto banking force: an ‘E-Switzerland’


Estonia is weighting up a plan to offer crypto tokens or ‘estcoins’ to its virtual residents

The Estonian e-Residency managing director Kaspar Korjus has presented a proposal under which ‘estcoins’ could be accessed by anyone in the world through its e-Residency programme and launched through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO).

It could be accepted as payment for both public and private services and eventually function as a viable currency used globally.  If it took off, the move could see Estonia become a leader in electronic currency and a sort of ‘e-Switzerland’

By using Estonian APIs, users could accept thecrypto tokens as payment. The e-currency would offer a degree of scalability, which would allow the Baltic countryto build more functions on top of the estcoins and use them for more purposes, such as smart contracts and notary services. The virtual residency already allows anyone in the world to start an (online) business under Estonian legislation.

Estcoins could allow Estonia to become the first EU country to issue an e-currency. This could potentially make the small country the European hub for international e-currency transactions.. E-residency has already attracted thousands of business from all over the world to register in Estonia. Estcoins could allow these businesses to make transactions in a simple and secure way.

Korjus said, "Estonia has just 1.3m  residents, but what would happen if our country had 10m digital residents too? At that time, every citizen and resident could already obtain a secure digital identity that enabled them to access Estonia’s public services entirely online. This minimised bureaucracy and made everyday life easier, especially for entrepreneurs. So then we wondered — why stop there? Our digital infrastructure can handle far more ‘users’ than the current population."

To date, there are over 22,000 Estonian e-residents signed up from 138 countries. Estonia aims to create a new borderless digital nation where many opportunities provided by traditional nations can be offered entirely online to anyone, anywhere.

Korjus said, "The secure digital identities used by e-residents (as well as citizens and residents of Estonia) are now the ideal mechanism for securely trading crypto assets in a trusted and transparent digital environment. The tokens cannot be counterfeited and the government oversight means they cannot be used for illegal activities."

Korjus added, "The funds raised through estcoins could be managed through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) and only used as described in the agreement to actually help build the new digital nation. This would enable Estonia to invest in new technologies and innovations for the public sector, from smart contracts to Artificial Intelligence, as well as make it technically scalable to benefit more people around the world. Estonia would then serve a model for how societies of the future can be served in the digital era."

If implemented, Estonia could be the first country with an Initial Coin Offering (ICO).

Estonia, which currently holds  the revolving European presidency, is also planning a ‘data embassy’, which will support its digital infrastructure abroad. This is part of Estonia vision of a digital society, which aims to ensure its state can function entirely independent of its own territory too.

Later this year Estonia will provide a white paper to outlines the value of estcoins and how the investment will be used to develop  itself as a  ‘digital nation’.


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