Innovation

Estonia had more new e-Residents last year than children born

By Oliver Smith 8 November 2017
Image: AGrigorjeva/getty.
Summary

Wait, what?!

Estonia is pretty forward-thinking when it comes to new technology, recently putting forward a new digital currency, the Estcoin, to let anyone invest in the Estonian economy.

But its e-Residency scheme, a way for anyone to apply for digital citizenship and start their own Estonian company, is now more popular than actually being born in Estonia.

Read more: Estonia’s plan to replace boring bonds with crazy cryptocurrencies

Image: Getty/KavalenkavaVolha.

Estonia’s virtual masses

That’s because in 2017 there were more applicants to become an e-Resident than the total number of births in the country.

Kaspar Korjus, the e-Residency programme lead, said 11,096 applications were made last year, compared to just 10,269 new births in Estonia.

“With over 27,000 e-Residency applications to date, we’ve seen the initiative’s popularity grow steadily since launch.”

He said Finland had the most applicants, while the UK came 5th on the list.

And while that might scare some governments, more foreigners applying to join your country (albeit virtually) than natural births, Korjus said the programme is working exactly as they’d hoped.

“The Estonian government aimed to make Estonia bigger – to grow our digital economy and market with new customers, to spark innovation and attract new investments.”

On that front, e-Residency is been a resounding success and is a leading light for our more digital democracies.

Time to become a virtual citizen?