Will Estonian E-Residencies Usher The Era of Digital Citizenship?
In the ever maturing arena of institutions poised to be disrupted by Cryptocurrency, citizenship is likely not the first thing that comes to mind. However, the very notion of what it means to be a citizen becomes blurred when we consider that cryptocurrency is inherently without borders. We are now entering a future in which we all may be economically united by new digital wallets and economic networks.
Estonia, long a tech forward and progressive nation, has announced the creation of a new government backed digital currency, perhaps bringing us one step closer towards a Star Trek like future in which we’re all simply citizens of earth, united under one identity. Creating a cryptofiat government currency implies a built in mechanism of security and tax compliance that would broadly facilitate transference from global digital into local fiat currency.
Estonia already offers an E citizenship, which allows anyone to open up a business, get a bank account, and otherwise act, as far as business interests are concerned, as if one is an Estonian citizen. Free of corporate income tax, there have already been thousands of takers, as this arrangement is especially unusual for an otherwise developed, first world nation.
The idea of e-residency connected to a cryptocurrency could herald in a new trend in which our global finances are interconnected in a way that relegates citizenship to the domain of local affairs, whereas financially, we may all be speaking the same language. The opportunities incumbent on breaking our financial boarders is huge. Inflation, current governmental currency manipulation, the barrier of foreign conversions and the associated fees, trade regulations and more could be radically altered if not altogether obviated.
An international E citizenship may even herald in a new era of peace, as war might become far less attractive to governments if everyone were using the same currencies and thusly wouldn’t want to devalue or destabilize any part of the world that will affect their own wallet. Current economic interests have certainly been at the forefront of military strategy, whether it be securing natural resources or altercations that stem from trade of border disputes. If every government had a significant amount of vested interest in a few universal global currencies, any one power may be less apt to act militaristically, so as not to risk affecting their own pockets, at least to an extent not currently seen.
On a societal level, the transition from geographically restricted economic networks to a purely digital, decentralized system holds many implications. The ability for any country — like relatively tiny Estonia — to become an economic powerhouse by taking on citizens globally for whom their currency has the most appeal is a breathtaking departure from today’s economic reality. Physical borders could become largely irrelevant, with people participating in the currency of whatever country has the most benefit for their needs. In actuality we could all be digital citizens of many nations, just as now we might use a particular credit card for a particular use.
Surely, if this new Estonian formula proves to be a success we can expect other countries to follow — indeed, therehave already been reports of China considering a government backed digital currency. Inclusionary monetary policies like these are bound to be good for the countries innovative enough to open up their borders and their minds — at least in a virtual capacity.