Estonia has taken to being at the forefront of the European blockchain revolution swimmingly, offering its e-residency program and now considering a way of offering currency to e-residents.
On a page that about the proposal, Vitalik Buterin is quoted as saying:
An ICO within the e-Residency ecosystem would create a strong incentive alignment between e-residents and this fund, and beyond the economic aspect makes the e-residents feel like more of a community since there are more things they can do together.
The page does not list much in the way of details, but the idea seems simple enough. Further, the idea would incentivize people to become e-residents, so that they could have an international currency at their command as well. It’s important to note that the e-residency program has yet to run into any legal challenges from international governments or organizations. According to a blog on the subject:
The ability to start a location-independent company is now the main ‘product’ that’s driving the growth of e-Residency. If we left it at this then it is likely that we could still achieve a respectable rate of growth (especially among the fast growing ‘digital nomad’ community) while solving a major problem facing our world, which is how to ensure everyone has the opportunity to benefit from entrepreneurship and rising e-commerce.
Now, suppose that anyone in the world can establish residency in Estonia and then establish a business, and then in that business they can transact in a government-issued digital currency. This currency can of course be used to pay the country’s minimal taxes. Local industries will be stimulated as a result, industries which cater to foreign residents who are trying to do such things as create businesses, acquire property, and so forth.
The whole thing begs the question of when other countries will begin to compete with Estonia for real estate in the blockchain kingdom. There are many islands that have sought to enter the 21stcentury in ways that enabled global participants to engage in mutually beneficial behavior with them – the .TK domain comes to mind, wherein people around the globe were able to get free top-level domains as well as purchase domains from a tiny island nation.
Another useful point to make is that global know-your-customer compliance can be easier achieved when digital residents become the norm. In the case of Estonian e-residents, selective information could be shared with agencies who needed it in order to verify the status of someone trying to do business or invest.
The private sector is investing in products and services specifically for e-residents and there is a tremendous amount of excitement in how the secure digital identities offered by e-Residency can enable easier KYC and onboarding, therefore making the e-Residency community an attractive customer market for new online services.
In general, the Estonian program is exciting for blockchain enthusiasts looking to start businesses or simply wondering when the revolution will really begin. If people around the globe can seamlessly become citizens of another country through the magic of technology, then perhaps money can be liberated through technology as well.