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“What's an e-resident?” you may ask. Well, in a ceremony in Estonia, one of the world's most wired countries according to Freedom House, Edward Lucas – a senior editor at The Economist – was given the world's first "e-resident" card by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves last week.
E-residency is not the same as citizenship or legal residency, it is digital residency that gives you special powers. We caught up with Ed Lucas, the new E-Estonian, in his London office so he could show us what he could do with his new e-identity.
You can launch a company in Estonia without having to be there, and utilize the country's financial services. Insert your E-resident card into the smartcard reader attached to your computer, and you can access these services anywhere in the world as if you were physically present, replacing the need to sign things on paper. And, Lucas says, this is just the beginning.
“Just as we have competition between Visa and MasterCard and American Express, we're going to have competition between providers of digital identities. And the one that offers the best combination of security and convenience will come out on top.”
The only downside? At the moment, to get the card you do have to go to Estonia. And winter is not the most delightful season in E-stonia.