President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid said Wednesday its e-Residency program has the potential to expedite Korean business entry into the European Union by encouraging applications for the nation’s program that offers foreigners a digitally encrypted and protected identification system.
E-Residency refers to a digital identification system that involves blockchain technology without the use of cryptocurrency, so people in and out of Estonia can apply for it regardless of citizenship or location. E-residents can use their digital ID cards to establish and manage a company in the European Union nations.
While tech companies here have experienced synergy in information technology software and hardware development, its advancing e-Residency tool has provided an ecosystem where citizens and foreigners can foster technological innovation free of constraint while their digital identity is conveniently protected regardless of physical boundaries.
“(Issuing e-Residency) has been taken to a more developed level, which makes it more accessible and quicker for Korean people to get e-Residency cards,” Kaljulaid told press during a conference held at Shilla Hotel in Seoul.
“For more digital identity experience, we have learned without difficulties of development of technology of private companies trying to change the world and create new things. ... We want to make sure we offer safe, permissive legal space for all kind of technologies, so that people are protected but also companies, and the societies, are always protected by the legal space.”
The 48-year-old president was on a three-day state visit to Korea that ended Wednesday.
Taking a memorandum of understanding signed in February with the Gyeonggi provincial government as an example, Kaljulaid underscored the achievement in terms of bilateral cooperation. Korea is also the only nation that houses an e-Residency Collection Center.
“Here in Korea, we have best projects so far in cooperation between Estonia and authorities in Gyeonggi Province, where private corporations in Gyeonggi Province are also issuing an Estonian e-residency cards,” Kaljulaid said.
As of Wednesday, Estonia collected 1,302 applications from Korea, accounting for 2.6 percent of all collections from the 161 countries it applies to. The number of applications from Korea was 13th highest.
Formerly a state official, Kaljulaid took office as the youngest president and first female president of the nation in October 2016.
By Son Ji-hyoung