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at 8 o’clock on a tuesday morning, three people are granted e-Residency in the Republic of Estonia – a consultant named Pierre who in any given year works from five different countries; azumi, a programmer from Japan; and video artist Miguel from Brazil.
By 2 o’clock that afternoon, our brand-new e-residents have already registered companies in the Republic of Estonia. Pierre starts his company through e-Residency because he wants to be based in a transparent and trusted jurisdiction with paperless management, azumi registers his company so he can offer services within the EU market, and Miguel does so because he wants to produce
a VR film and hopes to find partners among the global community of e-residents.
the following week, Pierre hires silvia, an accountant from the southern Estonian town of Võru. azumi teams
up with tõnu, a graphic designer from tartu, and Miguel finds a producer called Paul and recruits him as cEO. all these contacts evolve into mutually beneficial business and cultural ties.
this is a vision of 2030 when stories like these are the norm among the e-Residency community, which is now several million strong. Estonia has created a new international market and a global platform for collaboration. in one way or another, e-residents account for billions
of euros in business activity. the Estonian people reap a noteworthy part of the value generated by the e-Residency programme, in the form of increased business, investment, partnership opportunities, jobs and tax revenues. E-Residency is even a boon for Estonia’s national security and has helped promote Estonian culture around the world.
today, this scenario is already coming true. Estonia has taken the first steps by becoming the first country
to establish a global community of e-residents. close
to 50,000 people have signed up. these location- independent entrepreneurs have founded Estonian companies, invested in Estonia, travelled to Estonia, conducted business with Estonian companies, created new
jobs in Estonia, and generated increased tax revenues for Estonia. Many of them have come to view Estonia as more than a location-independent government service provider and so they have also helped to spread the word about Estonia and disseminate its values worldwide.
however, all this shouldn’t be taken for granted, as e-Residency is still essentially an experimental platform in the beta stage.
to make Estonia greater with increased prosperity and security, we should build a more convenient and secure e-Residency platform. this White Paper recaps the story of e-Residency to this point and sketches a roadmap for the future, based on recommendations developed through the efforts of more than 100 people.
how did e-Residency begin?
Over the last 20 years, Estonia introduced digital versions of most of its public services, using the X-road secure
data layer as the backbone of the system. Using their government-backed digital identity, people who are citizens and/or residents of Estonia can go online from anywhere
to complete almost any interaction with their state, such as voting, filing tax returns, authentication, registering names for their children, and dozens of other functions. in addition, they can use their same digital identity to access an increasing number of private sector services that also benefit from online authentication, such as banking.
Estonia’s digital infrastructure continued to develop, like a startup refining its services, yet the quantity of users who could benefit was always limited to the number of citizens and residents. if the number of users could also be scaled up like a startup then it was theorised that all users would benefit from the improvements brought about by this economy of scale and the startup would also return larger benefits to its shareholders – the people of Estonia.
in 2014, the Estonian state decided to provide digital identities, along with access to Estonia’s digital services,
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