Estonia has invited people to register as e-residents - a step towards a world where a person’s identity online matters just as much as their identity offline.
Estonia opened its digital borders and is inviting anyone, anywhere, to open a bank account or start a business. Anyone with an internet connection will be able to live their financial life in Estonia, all without being physically present.
Getting e-residency in Estonia will require going there to have your identity verified – and fingerprints and face biometrics taken by border police. The government is working on letting people sign up at Estonian embassies. For Estonia, embassies will no longer just be about extending the country's physical presence into other countries – but about extending their digital reach too. E-residents don't get citizenship in the traditional sense – they can't apply for passports and visas, or vote in elections. But the future plans are that e-Estonians will have a say in any future changes to tax structures.
Estonia already has the world's most advanced internet voting system – votes were cast online by Estonians living in 98 different countries in elections earlier this spring.
There have been already talks that Estonia's move will create a market in which countries compete for digital citizenry. More flexible rules on starting businesses around the world may open the door to more fluid livelihoods – our homes may be in one country while our job and bank accounts are in another.