Estonia has announced it plans to become the world’s first country to launch an ICO despite warnings from the European Central Bank (ECB).
Estonia’s Path To ICO ‘Haven’
The small Baltic nation, which has already made strides in digital identity and Blockchain leverage, is now looking to fully incorporate aspects of digital tokens at state level.
The potential for an ‘Estcoin’ is tied up with the successful e-Residency program launched by government several years ago. This allows foreign citizens to become quasi-residents of Estonia, while benefiting from business and other opportunities remotely.
If the scheme is successful, Estonia would be the first country ever to hold a state-sanctioned ICO, with officials expressing a desire to turn the country into an ICO “haven.”
“In fact, a number of companies are in the process of launching ICOs in Estonia through e-Residency, while various others are planning theirs and are already exploring how to integrate the e-Residency card into their KYC procedure,” e-Residency managing director Kaspar Korjus reports in a blog post Tuesday.
European Central Bank Sounds Alarm
The exact nature of Estcoin is yet to be determined, with ease of purchase, tradeability and use cases all a topic of continuing debate.
The scheme has already faced opposition since lawmakers first suggested it, notably from the ECB, which flatly said that Estcoin could not exist as an homegrown alternative to the euro.
“Much of the criticism of estcoin was based on the fact that Estonia simply can’t start its own cryptocurrency even if it wanted to. Estonia’s only currency is the euro and this is an essential feature of our EU membership, which we are proud to have,” Korjus continues.
No one here is interested in changing that. That’s why we have always referred to estcoin as a proposed ‘crypto token.’
The situation is made more complex by the fact that Estonia’s government has itself kept the country as what Korjus describes as “not… a particularly friendly jurisdiction towards crypto” for “understandably cautious reasons.”
Nonetheless, despite setbacks to e-Residency which included unearthing of a vulnerability in IDs this year, the scheme is surging ahead, both in terms of business interest and usability.
Three variations of Estcoin are currently on the table, focussing on community, identity and currency respectively.
What do you think about Estonia’s Estcoin plans? Let us know in the comments below!
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