Estonia Opens its Digital Borders
Estonia flung open its digital borders last week. The eastern European country invited anyone, anywhere, to open a bank account or start a business. By the end of the year, anyone with an internet connection will be able to live their financial life in Estonia, all without being physically present.
Such e-residency, as it is known, is a step towards a world where a person's online identity matters just as much as their offline identity; where the location of data, rather than documents, is more important.
"This is the beginning of the erosion of the classic nation state hegemony," says John Clippinger, a digital identity researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "It's going to get whittled away from the margins."
Getting e-residency in Estonia will require going there to have your identity verified – and fingerprints and face biometrics taken by border police. But Kotka says they are working on letting people sign up at Estonian embassies.