Its been 3 years since the scheme launched and nearly 30,000 people from 139 countries signed up. I only signed up earlier this year but still love the idea and keeping an eye on what else I can do with a EU state backed identity.
Estonia launched it’s e-Residency programme three years ago tomorrow so that anyone on Earth could apply for a secure government-backed digital identity and gain access to our e-services.
Understandably, no one was entirely sure back then who would actually sign up and why. Many of the first e-residents were simply excited to join our borderless digital nation and had no plans to use their digital ID cards.
What interests me is the classification of the people who signed up.
Entrepreneurs who want EU access
Entrepreneurs within the EU
Entrepreneurs facing Brexit
Freelancers from emerging markets
I’m more a Digital nomad facing Brexit I guess.
Due to rapid advances in digital technology and more flexible working cultures, a rapidly increasing number of people are choosing to live as ‘digital nomads’ because they can work anywhere there’s an internet connection.
There’s been a sharp rise in applications from the UK since the country voted to leave the European Union. Many British entrepreneurs discover e-Residency while searching for a way to ‘stay in the EU’, but soon discover that the benefits of e-Residency are bigger than Brexit as it can often enable them to more easily conduct business globally.
Finally while in London, I got to pick up my e-residency pack.
It was a bit of rush to get to the Embassy of Estonia as they are are only open certain times of the day. But once I got there, answered a few questions with my passport, gave up a few fingerprints and waited a bit; I was presented with my pack which included the digital identity card, USB reader, instructions and secure pin and puk numbers.
It was pretty painless and the lady behind the glass was pleasant enough on a hot sticky day.
Many people have asked what I’ll do with it now I got it?
Digital signing is certainly one of my things I’ll be doing more of. I have other plans to use it for authentication, as its backed by the state of Estonia. I’m still unsure what .ee domain I should buy too. Will I setup a bank account? We shall see… Its a very interesting time to have loose ties to the EU.
One of the biggest issues was having a bank account in another country which you are not formally a part of. I understand the reasons but as the e-residency is a real digital identity and banking (Fintech) goes through changes its self; it makes sense that the two trends will create something new and exciting
Business banking is radically transforming for almost everyone on Earth. Estonia’s e-Residency programme has now partnered with the Finnish fintech company Holvi to provide borderless business banking to the borderless digital nation. This means a complete EU company with complete EU business banking (& a payment card) can be established entirely online.
Although I’m not planning to setup a business in Estonia anytime soon, this is exciting news and I look forward to hearing what comes next.
Generally its mainly setup for businesses and freelancers wanting to work/trade within the EU. For myself theres few reasons to take part in the program but its highly likely after considering everything, I may go ahead and do it, mainly for these reasons.
Being slightly tied to the EU as the UK leaves
A verified digital identy useable to sign legal documents
Beta testing a truly digital redidency/citizenship system (exciting!)
Not having to give up my british citizenship
Freelancing support within the EU if my career takes a turn
There maybe a chance to setup a bank account in the EU in the near future
The Alex Wellman made some good points but ultimately its a bit of a leap into the unknown with the chance of more advantages coming in years to come.
Being in the UK, I can do almost everything online and then do the interview and pick up my new digital identity in the Estonian Embassy in London.
Its seems all worth while for 100 euros, form filling and interviews.
I just hope the photos I sumbmitted were good enough for the process.
Mozfest the festival I have been in involved with for the last 6 years; is a collaborative event and of course there is some overhead to the collaboration. But Mozilla have ways to work through the usual issues with collaboration; be it collaborative tools first or subverting github to manage the open calls. Its quite amazing…
But sometimes you need to bring people together across the many different timezones we inhabit. 2 years ago it was Scotland, last year it was Berlin and this year its Tallinn.
Of course I was wondering like many others. I heard some great things about the place but it wasn’t hot on my list of places to go. But some more research has turned up some great stuff including the e-resident which I first heard about from Alex DS.
Ahead of Brexit, statistics reveal that almost 1,000 Brits have now applied to be e-residents of Estonia. Applications from the UK are being made twice as frequently as before the referendum, following an initial surge from three to 51 applications per week. More than half of all applications from the UK, 534, have arrived since the vote, while 231 arrived in the same period beforehand. Based on current trends, it is likely the 1,000th British application for e-residency will arrive this week, as Article 50 is due to be triggered.
Elsewhere, a website has been set up by the e-residency programme for British entrepreneurs called howtostayin.eu which explains how startups, established businesses and freelancers can use Estonian e-residency to continue their operations in the EU without leaving the UK.
Interestingly I also found the p0rnhub insights for estonia while searching, which was fancinating but slightly #nsfw, so you were warned! I was going to send it around to some of the Mozfest orginaisers but couldn’t find a way to explain why it was interesting or relavent.