Estonia considers launching a currency for e-Residency digital nomads

Tallinn skyline

It was only a matter of time.  Having launched a successful e-Residency programme, allowing anyone anywhere in the world to start a location-independent company,  trailblazing Estonia is looking at offering a digital currency to go with it. As expected for easily the most digitally ambitious state in the world, the tiny Baltic republic is inviting feedback on Medium.

The Medium post explains that the success of the e-Residency programme is such that more than 22,000 citizens have signed up from 138 countries. With the weekly application rate presently higher than the country’s weekly birth rate, Estonia’s digital nation could surpass the national population in size. Possibly.

Among those signing up for e-Residency are blockchain-based entrepreneurs and enthusiasts. This interest, and the fact that other countries are looking at cryptocurrencies, has led Estonia to consider the introduction of its own currency, supported by its advanced digital infrastructure: the “Estcoin”.

In theory, this will be made available to anyone in the world through the e-Residency programme and launched through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). While initially allowing e-Residents to invest in a country for the first time, future Estcoin opportunities look limitless:

estcoins could also be accepted as payment for both public and private services and eventually function as a viable currency used globally. By using our APIs, companies and even other countries could accept these same tokens as payment. It will also be possible to build more functions on top of the estcoins and use them for more purposes, such as smart contracts and notary services.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Estcoin, you can sign up for email updates here.

So that’s the citizenship and currency sorted. What else?  Of course, overseas citizens need embassies, so that they can appeal for help when they lose their digital passport while on a digital night out. Accordingly, Estonia will be opening a “data embassy” in Luxembourg (with the latter’s agreement of course), offering the same protection and immunity as traditional embassies.

Estonia’s vision – to create a new global digital nation powered by the Republic of Estonia – is remarkable. Go Est, young man and woman: this is the future!

Berlin is the best city worldwide for digital nomads, shows surprising survey

Berlin

Vancouver took top spot recently in PeoplePerHour’s index of the best cities worldwide to launch a startup. The freelance marketplace also turned their attention to the location independent movement – digital nomads who work remotely, wherever they fancy.

The Nomad Index ranked cities on factors that included co-working spaces, monthly salary, tourist visa requirement, crime rates and cost of living, giving top spot to Berlin.

The German capital, coming second worldwide behind Vancouver for startups (clearly, it can do no wrong), was recognised for its outstanding co-working facilities, relatively low rent and cost of living, and a low crime rate.

Other cities in the top 10 look a little more questionable, with the likes of Istanbul, Bangalore and Bangkok coming ahead of established digital nomad favourites like Ko Lanta, Chiang Mai, Jeju and Bali.

How is it, for example, that Kuala Lumpur ranks 9th, with northern neighbour and more digital nomad friendly Penang nowhere to be seen?:

1. Berlin
2. Istanbul
3. Bangalore
4. Vancouver
5. Lisbon
6. Bangkok
7. San Diego
8. Tel Aviv
9. Kuala Lumpur
10. Athens
11. Manchester
12. Melbourne
13. Miami
14. Moscow
15. Amsterdam
16. Stockholm
17. LA
18. Tokyo
19. Sydney
20. London
21. Rome
22. Singapore
23. NYC
24. Paris
25. San Francisco

Xenios Thrasyvoulou, founder and CEO of PeoplePerHour, meanwhile has done his bit for brand Britain, pointing out the attractiveness of London and Manchester as digital nomad locations (though where Brexit fits into all of this is anyone’s guess):

While British digital nomads may not place visiting London and Manchester high on their bucket list, it’s good to know that the UK is ready to accommodate overseas freelancers with a taste for travel, which has the potential to terrifically boost local economies. And of course, there’s nothing stopping local freelancers benefiting from the perks available to the travelling gigsters