How Estonia Brought Blockchain Closer to Citizens: GovTech Case Studies

States without limits, banking without bank accounts and deals based on smart contracts. On March 9, Tallinn will host the first large-scale conference dedicated to Blockchain and cryptocurrencies Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Tallinn.

Key focus areas will include open and private Blockchains in Govtech and Fintech segments, which Estonia focuses on. Participants will share experiences concerning the establishment and the promotion of Blockchain-based products and discuss the impact of technologies on business processes.

Why Estonia?

In 2015, Estonia announced itself as a leading country in the development of Blockchain-based services. It is remarkable that not only the commercial sector but also the government, giving the go-ahead for Govtech developments, has become interested in this technology: Public Notary (based on the already operating electronic residency system) and the project on transferring medical records of Estonian citizens into the Blockchain.

Public Notary is an “electronic version” of a notary with remote access from anywhere globally. It was designed by developers of the e-Residency project, allowing foreign citizens to establish a business within Estonian jurisdiction.

E-Residency creation was preceded by several years of digitalization and IT sector development. The country’s whole territory provides access to high-speed Internet and its socio-economic environment is quite attractive for highly experienced programmers from Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and even Finland. Specialists from the EU and US countries are also frequent guests because of low taxes.

As to further Blockchain implementation in the e-Residency project, it is Kaspar Korjus who focuses on this issue. He is a young engineer qualified by Megan Smith, ex-vice-president of Google, as one of 20 global digital technology leaders.

“There is no better place for Blockchain discussions than here in Tallinn the home of digital society. Blockchain itself is nothing, it needs to be considered together with digital identity, legal environment and efficient e-governance. Only then we will start to understand its real impact,” says Korjus.

Concurrently, the eHealth Foundation of Estonia along with Guardtime, a developer of keyless signature infrastructure (KSI) technology, has focused on transferring medical records into the Blockchain. The system will secure citizen health data storage and allow to monitor patient conditions in real-time.

LHV Pank, which has developed the Cuber Wallet mobile application, focuses on Blockchain implementation in the banking sector. In 2015, LHV customers got an opportunity to transfer money safely for free using the Blockchain.

Besides, in January 2017, the Estonian subdivision of Nasdaq has successfully completed testing of the e-voting system designed for voting among shareholders of a company and is going to continue developments in the customer service segment.

Main topics and speakers

Blockchain implementation in the Govtech sector will be revealed in presentations by Kaspar Korjus (e-Residency CEO), Franky Hu (WageCan CEO) and Lasha Antadze (developer of e-Auction 3.0 Blockchain platform).

Besides the above-mentioned e-Residency, participants will also discuss the e-Auction 3.0 platform developed by Ukrainian IT specialists for conducting Blockchain auctions. The main task of this service is to provide free access to public property lease and sale auctions. Despite the fact that Ukrainian authorities are not in a hurry to use the e-Auction system, the platform has been successfully tested across a range of regions.

Karolina Marzantowicz (IBM distinguished engineer), Kaidi Ruusalepp (founder of Funderbeam) and Jüri Laur (head of payment services at LHV Pank) will discuss Blockchain implementation in the banking sector.

Special attention should be given to the project on creating a Blockchain-based stock exchange led by Kaidi Ruusalepp, the head of Funderbeam investment platform and the ex-CEO of Estonian Nasdaq. As envisioned by developers, Blockchain implementation will solve the trading transparency issue and become a “financial engine” of participating companies.

More than 2.5 mln dollars have been already invested in the project by several companies and private investors, including Jaan Tallinn, a founder of Skype.

“Blockchain can entirely change the exchange industry,” Ruusalepp believes. At the conference, she will dedicate her presentation to new challenges faced by banks and exchanges (based on her Nasdaq experience) and share her experience in organizing crowdsourcing campaigns. Her topic will be interesting for startup founders, investors, exchange trading participants and crypto entrepreneurs.

Ronny Boesing, CEO at OpenLedger, will dedicate his presentation to the related topic Blockchain-based crowdfunding 3.0 issues.

One of key conference speakers will be Jon Matonis an independent cryptocurrency analyst, author of Fintech reviews for Forbes, American Banker, CoinDesk and founder of Bitcoin Foundation. He will talk about Blockchain consortiums tasks.

“I hope that the Tallinn conference will improve the level of cryptocurrency understanding, including among government officials,” Matonis said.

A lack of public knowledge surrounding Bitcoin is a persistent problem, according to Marc Kenigsberg, СЕО at Jamworx and permanent participant of industry conferences. He will reveal the cryptocurrency acceptance issue from the perspective of marketing and offer solutions.

“Even the wrong choice of problem solution could be less damaging than none,” Kenigsberg states.

One more person deserving attention is Dmitriy Starodubcev, founder of cyber∙Fund and one of the most well-known Blockchain enthusiasts of the Russian-speaking community. Developed with his involvement, Golos social platform has become a breakthrough project in the media, presenting a new model of content monetization. Due to Golos, benefits from publications are given to an author instead of the social platform.

Besides the conference, there will be a demo zone where crypto industry software and hardware manufacturers will present their products.

The conference is organized by Smile-Expo, the company that has already held eight successful crypto conferences in Moscow, Prague and Kiev.

Detailed information and registration are available on the website of Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Tallinn.


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