an interview Laurie Half Director general Electronic residence by Oscar Dominguez
On your Twitter profile, you indicate that you are an ex-fintech, e-commerce, and ex-customs program, having experience in these industries, What prompted you to become the CEO of the e-Residency Program?
I was chosen for this position and I gladly accepted it because I saw it as a service to Estonia. The e-residency program is the most recognized global brand promoting Estonia as the first digitally transformed country in the world with 99% of the country’s services online. Even before I became CEO, I had heard a lot about it from my fintech network.
For people who can read this interview, What is the e-residency program in Estonia?
eResidency is a new Estonian government company that has revolutionized the way any country can serve entrepreneurs from outside its borders.
Since 2014, e-Residency has empowered global startup founders and freelancers by providing them with a secure means of digital identification and the ability to register a truly location-independent company in an EU member state and in the wider community.
Any entrepreneur with a resident digital ID can access Estonian e-services, digitally sign documents, launch and operate their business 100% online with minimal red tape, reduced administrative burden and at the same time making it relatively affordable to start and run a business.
Although there is no obligation for an e-resident to be a tax resident in Estonia, Estonia has the most competitive tax regime among OECD countries according to International Tax Competitiveness Index (ICTI) for the ninth consecutive year.
For example, from the beginning of 2023, The minimum capital requirement has been removed. Also, the Estonian government has always focused on growing the company, so there is a 0% tax on reinvested profits.
E-residency is a great success story for Estonia.
We have nearly 100,000 e-residents from 176 countries. but this is not all. One in five new businesses in Estonia is created by e-residents and a third of Estonian startup founders are actually e-residents.
Since Estonia is one of the fastest growing emerging ecosystems in the world with the highest number of rhinos per capita in the European Union, this means that the program brings significant direct and indirect benefits to the country.
According to the data collected, as of September 2022, there were a total of 3,816 e-residents with Spanish nationality and 4,873 e-residents living in Spain. These numbers are growing, as around 90 new applications have been received from Spanish nationals per month over the past six months.
What are the requirements to be met in order to be an e-resident?
E-residency is open to people from all countries, from Germany to Ukraine, from Brazil to Spain. To become a digital resident, one has to fill out a questionnaire with personal information which takes about an hour and wait for the Estonian police and border guard agency to agree that all is well. to become an e-resident You must register here.
What advantages does it bring to the entrepreneur?
Thanks to the e-residency program, foreigners can open and run a 100% online business in the European Union that allows complete freedom of location.
Your business in Estonia will be essentially paperless allowing you to reduce costs and time spent running it because all business services are in English and can be accessed using your digital electronic residence ID.
For example, you can run your business while traveling in Southeast Asia or Latin America. Comparison between company incorporation in Spain and Estonia It’s covered in more depth on our blog.
The way it works is that the Estonian government issues an official secure digital ID to any potential e-resident, giving them access to its ecosystem of e-services.
With this state-issued digital ID, e-residents can sign documents with a digital signature, file their taxes in minutes using Estonia’s e-tax system, and set up and manage businesses online. Moreover, if the company you set up with e-residency belongs to the European Union, it will be able to operate in a stable and transparent business environment with access to the EU single market.
By becoming an e-resident, you gain access to a secure, convenient and flexible digital ecosystem. Estonia has also achieved an unprecedented level of transparency in governance.
What investment must be made to set up a company in Estonia?
The best thing about starting and running a business in Estonia is that everything can be done online. This reduces administrative and bureaucratic fees, making it easy for absolutely everyone.
The costs of starting and running your business will vary depending on the format of the business, the scale of activities, the rates of service providers and the types of services you need.
At the basic level of a LLC (called in Estonia: OÜ), the costs will include:
- State e-residency application fee = €100 – €130, depending on the collection point
- State company registration fee = €265
- Legal address fee + authorized contact in Estonia = €200-400 per year, on average
- Fees for additional services (such as bookkeeping and accounting) start at €50 per month
You can read more about it here: https://www.e-resident.gov.ee/start-a-company/
In our sector (cryptocurrency, blockchain) How is the regulation in Estonia?And the Is it favorable?
Estonia is the only country that has been developing blockchain-based public services for nearly two decades.
We started testing it as early as 2008, before the bitcoin white paper was published. The main Blockchain-based services have been available to Estonian citizens through their digital identity since 2011, and to non-residents through their electronic residence since 2014.
In Estonia, blockchain technology provides an excellent foundation for critical government services, providing traceability, transparency, and ultimately trust.
In terms of companies providing cryptocurrency-related services, Estonia is one of the few countries that has already launched regulation in 2020, according to which players in the industry must apply for a license.
Earlier this year, new amendments were added to the regulation.
The most relevant aspects are highlighted in the resources from us and our merchant service providers in the virtual marketplace. over hereAnd the over here y over here.
User cases of e-residents whose businesses are active and successful in the industry are described over here y over here.
Judicial alert Investing in crypto assets is unregulated, may not be suitable for retail investors and the entire amount invested may be lost.