Estonia now has a cryptocurrency association. On Wednesday, November 5th, 2014, a group of 33 individuals and legal entities came together to create the Estonian Cryptocurrency Association or the Eesti Krüptoraha Liit in Estonian.
The organization was founded with the main goals of developing cryptocurrency use in Estonia, participating in drawing up legislation, raising awareness about cryptocurrencies, and collaborating with individuals and other organizations both within Estonia and internationally. The Estonian Cryptocurrency Association aims to work in the public interest, so as to further develop the field of cryptocurrencies in the country.
Specifically, the association will support the adoption and understanding of cryptocurrencies in the fields of taxation and law, as well as participating in the formulation of legislation to guide the sector in Estonia. It is in this area that countries around the world have taken diverging routes in treating cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. Some treat bitcoin as a currency while others have opted to tax bitcoin as a commodity. It will be interesting to see which direction Estonia takes.
The management board of the Estonian Cryptocurrency Association includes Asse Sauga, Liina Laas, Priit Lätt, Joonas Trussmann ja Erki Koldits, the Association has 33 founding members, including ten legal entities and 23 individuals. The membership fee is 0.5 Bitcoin. Also, euros are accepted at the current market price at the time of payment.
The Estonian cryptocurrency scene is also known for a castle called Malla Manor. Malla Manor is a 600-year old castle that was bought by bitcoin entrepreneur Risto Pietilä. Risto Pietilä intends to develop it into a conference venue and innovation center for bitcoin. Already one bitcoin startup has moved its offices to the castle, and the entrepreneur hopes that many more crypto developers will want to use the incubation center that he plans to build at the Malla Manor. However it goes, it will be an added feather in the cap for Estonia that has carved a niche for itself in the Baltics as a tech-savvy country. In Estonia, the internet is considered a human right.
It is possible that Estonia may take a much more progressive view on the use of cryptocurrency in the country if other initiatives in the country are anything to go by. Early in October 2014, Estonia became the first country in the world to open up its “digital borders” to just about anyone who would be interested, through its e-citizen program. Though Estonia’s e-citizenship program does not give automatic right of entry or residency, it nonetheless points to what the future in creating digital citizens, who live in one country but have jobs and bank accounts in a different country.
If the Estonian Cryptocurrency Association were to leverage initiatives such as the country’s e-citizenship program, they could create the world’s first complete crypto-financial hub that will also provide e-citizenship to go along with it. If Estonia were able to pull that off, it could become a trendsetter in a future where the locality of someone’s data will matter just as much as someone’s physical location.
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