E-residency in Estonia Hits a Milestone
Rahvusvahelised uudised 26 May 2016  EWR
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After 18 months, the country already has 10,000 e-residents.

tol.org 24 May 2016
Manu Sporny, a U.S. citizen and tech entrepreneur, became Estonia’s 10,000th e-resident last week, Motherboard, a Vice publication, reports.

Launched in December 2014, the program is touted by Estonia as the first of its kind in the world and “offers to every world citizen a government-issued digital identity and the opportunity to run a trusted company online, unleashing the world’s entrepreneurial potential.”

The e-residency offers people the possibility to set up a business in Estonia, run it online, and administer it from any country. They can also digitally sign contracts and declare taxes online. An e-resident can thus have a fully functioning business in Estonia without ever having visited the Baltic country.

“The more clients Estonian companies have, the bigger their and the Estonian economy’s growth potential,” said Katre Kasmel, the spokeswoman for the program, which hopes to have 10 million e-residents by 2025.

Applications for e-residency so far have come from 129 countries. The majority
(20 percent) are Finnish, followed by Russia, the United States, and Ukraine, says Estonian World. Since December 2014, e-residents have established 560 new companies and own 1,155 companies in Estonia, Motherboard writes.

According to the director of the program, Kaspar Korjus, the e-residents are a “group of bright individuals who have also invested their time and knowledge to become the pioneers of our service while learning to adapt in our business environment,” Estonian World quoted him as saying.

• The first e-resident of Estonia was Edward Lucas, a British senior editor of The Economist. At the time, he said the main advantage of e-residency for him is "having a digital signature valid anywhere in the EU, or in any other country which uses electronic authentication," The Atlantic reported.

• The e-residency card has a microchip that provides online authentication for services such as online banking or business registration, RFE/RL reports.

• The Estonian government also intends to allow soon e-residents to open bank accounts outside of Estonia. The draft of the legislation has already been submitted to parliament and should be implemented this autumn.
 
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