There is a borderless, digital nation you may have never heard of, and anyone can join it. It’s called Estonia, and it is situated in Europe between Russia and Latvia. The country has over 1 million physical residents and a steadily growing population of over 20,000 e-residents.
The government of Estonia has officially announced the release of its “smart-cards”, digital IDs that can link to Ethereum wallets. The new smart-cards are being used for the government of Estonia’s e-residency program as a solution for online and offline identity verification.
Estonia’s e-residency program was first introduced in December of 2014 but its recent developments with FinTech company, Oraclize, has taken the program to a whole new level. For the project, Oraclize helped create the infrastructure that allows the cards to communicate with the smart contract-based Ethereum wallets.
Estonia is much farther ahead in FinTech than the rest of the world. It was the first country to conduct elections via the Internet, back in 2005, the first to have an e-residency program, which it introduced in 2014, and now it is the first to issue a government ID connected to digital currency.
You can not only link the smart IDs to an Ethereum wallet but also to an e-residency business account with Holvi.
Here is how the smart IDs work: Everyone has a serial number assigned to them that links to their personal data. This serial number is tied to the smart-card, which can then be linked to any number of Ethereum wallet addresses. With nothing more than the ID card itself, you can transfer Ether or any ERC-20 tokens between other smart ID holders.
Oraclize’s mission is to make it so anyone from any country can launch a startup and do business with the rest of the world. But not only do the smart IDs help more people start a business, they also make it easier, eliminating some of the hurdles, like finding a payment processor to work with.
Oraclize stated, “too many people are currently being held back from their entrepreneurial potential — often just because of their location.” So the company wants to change this by “democratising entrepreneurship”.
“The problem is not a shortage of business ideas or the talent to implement them. The problem is that the financial and bureaucratic barriers are often too high to establish and managed a trusted global company.”
Currently, Finland, Russia, Ukraine, the United States, and the UK are the top 5 countries with the highest number of applicants to the e-residency program.
Anyone from any country in the world can get their own smart ID card and become an e-resident of Estonia. However, the United States and a few other countries are not yet eligible to apply for an e-residency business account.