Nasdaq, blockchain to transform Estonia e-Residency

Blockchain is coming to Estonia, say Nasdaq and the Republic of Estonia. Estonia’s e-Residency platform will facilitate a blockchain-based e-voting service to allow shareholders of companies listed on Nasdaq’s Tallinn Stock Exchange, the country’s only regulated securities market, to vote in shareholder meetings.

As part of the pilot, aimed to launch in 2016, shareholders who are Estonian or Estonian e-residents will be able to participate in the corporate governance of companies more conveniently and securely than ever before.

“I’m delighted Nasdaq will be using the e-Residency platform to offer shareholders a new e-voting system,” said Kaspar Korjus, programme director, e-Residency. “When we started the e-Residency project a year ago we knew we would change the way people think about nations and citizenship. Now, via our e-voting collaboration with Nasdaq, we will be revolutionising corporate governance.”

By making e-voting more efficient and secure, the blockchain-based system has the potential to empower shareholders and improve their engagement, adds Nasdaq.

Said Hans-Ole Jochumsen, Nasdaq president: “Estonia’s robust information society and forward thinking coupled with the agility its size affords, creates a unique opportunity to premiere the e-voting pilot in Estonia. We…look forward to working closely with the government of Estonia to set a transformative example of the future of governance.”

Estonia, a European Union member state, lays claim to being the first country to offer e-Residency – a transnational digital identity available to everyone in the world. Through the programme, Estonia says it is building a borderless digital society and unleashing the world’s entrepreneurial potential. After becoming an e-resident entrepreneurs and freelancers can open and run location-independent businesses online, apply for a bank account (though it does not guarantee one; that decision remains at the sole discretion of individual banks) and conduct e-banking, get access to international payment service providers, declare taxes, sign all relevant documents and contracts remotely, and get easier access to EU markets.

This means a Singaporean entrepreneur can, for example, run a company from the Philippines while serving clients in Germany. The same e-Residency platform allows financial and web service providers, start-ups and developers to avoid country -pecific solutions and have quick access to international markets by letting clients from anywhere in the world use their services via the clients’ secure and government-verified digital identities. E-residency does not give citizenship or tax residency and does not confer the right to live in or visit Estonia or the European Union.