Category Archives: Estonia

Estonia Is One Step Closer to Creating a Digital Nation

Estonia is well on its way to realizing its dream of building a global nation supported by its e-Residency program and its own cryptocurrency.


Digital currencies have definitely taken 2017 by storm. Massive price increases, mainstream adoption and just an overall interest in the benefits of blockchain technology have been some of the key highlights of this year.

It’s not just investors hoping to capitalize on these benefits though, governments can also see the advantages to having a cashless financial system.

Bragging Rights for the First State-Run ICO

Bragging Rights for the First State-Run ICO

Estonia had previously announced its plan to develop its own cryptocurrency, the Estcoin. In addition, the country has plans to launch an ICO for its crypto. If successful, it will be the world’s first state-approved and supported ICO.

According to Futurism, the Estcoin would support the country’s e-Residency initiative, which is a project aimed at creating and fostering a global digital nation. Kaspar Korjus, who is the program’s managing director, explained that essentially, anyone in the world who has Internet access can become a “digital citizen” of Estonia. In addition, these citizens can set up and run their business in the country.

Since its launch, the e-Residency initiative has received over 27,000 applicants from more than 140 countries. In addition, 4,272 companies have been registered.

A Multi-Faceted Token

According to Korjus, the state-operated Estcoin token would have varied uses. He explained:

The community Estcoin would be structured to support the objective of growing our new digital nation by incentivizing more people around the world to apply for and make greater use of e-Residency. This includes encouraging investors and entrepreneurs to use e-Residency as their platform for trusted ICO activity.

These tokens, which cannot be traded, can also be used to facilitate electronic signatures, and for log-in purposes. Even though its value will be connected to that of the euro, it is by no means a substitute for the country’s fiat currency.

Vitalik Buterin, who is the co-founder of Ethereum, gave his opinion on the matter:

[I]f these estcoins are issued on top of a blockchain (they could possibly be issued in multiple formats at the same time, nothing wrong with this) then it would become easy and convenient to use them inside of smart contracts and other applications.

Estcoin Is Part of the Bigger Picture

Estcoin Is Part of the Bigger Picture

Even though countries such as Russia, Israel, and Dubai have plans to launch their own state-controlled digital currencies, Estonia seems to have a clear picture in mind, not just in creating a useful crypto, but incorporating it into a new era in the digital revolution.

Do you think Estonia will succeed in creating a digital nation? Will the Estcoin help with this vision? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, e-resident.gov.ee

The post Estonia Is One Step Closer to Creating a Digital Nation appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

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The post Estonia Is One Step Closer to Creating a Digital Nation appeared first on Digital Money Times.

Estonia Is One Step Closer to Creating a Digital Nation

Estonia is well on its way to realizing its dream of building a global nation supported by its e-Residency program and its own cryptocurrency.


Digital currencies have definitely taken 2017 by storm. Massive price increases, mainstream adoption and just an overall interest in the benefits of blockchain technology have been some of the key highlights of this year.

It’s not just investors hoping to capitalize on these benefits though, governments can also see the advantages to having a cashless financial system.

Bragging Rights for the First State-Run ICO

Bragging Rights for the First State-Run ICO

Estonia had previously announced its plan to develop its own cryptocurrency, the Estcoin. In addition, the country has plans to launch an ICO for its crypto. If successful, it will be the world’s first state-approved and supported ICO.

According to Futurism, the Estcoin would support the country’s e-Residency initiative, which is a project aimed at creating and fostering a global digital nation. Kaspar Korjus, who is the program’s managing director, explained that essentially, anyone in the world who has Internet access can become a “digital citizen” of Estonia. In addition, these citizens can set up and run their business in the country.

Since its launch, the e-Residency initiative has received over 27,000 applicants from more than 140 countries. In addition, 4,272 companies have been registered.

A Multi-Faceted Token

According to Korjus, the state-operated Estcoin token would have varied uses. He explained:

The community Estcoin would be structured to support the objective of growing our new digital nation by incentivizing more people around the world to apply for and make greater use of e-Residency. This includes encouraging investors and entrepreneurs to use e-Residency as their platform for trusted ICO activity.

These tokens, which cannot be traded, can also be used to facilitate electronic signatures, and for log-in purposes. Even though its value will be connected to that of the euro, it is by no means a substitute for the country’s fiat currency.

Vitalik Buterin, who is the co-founder of Ethereum, gave his opinion on the matter:

[I]f these estcoins are issued on top of a blockchain (they could possibly be issued in multiple formats at the same time, nothing wrong with this) then it would become easy and convenient to use them inside of smart contracts and other applications.

Estcoin Is Part of the Bigger Picture

Estcoin Is Part of the Bigger Picture

Even though countries such as Russia, Israel, and Dubai have plans to launch their own state-controlled digital currencies, Estonia seems to have a clear picture in mind, not just in creating a useful crypto, but incorporating it into a new era in the digital revolution.

Do you think Estonia will succeed in creating a digital nation? Will the Estcoin help with this vision? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, e-resident.gov.ee

The post Estonia Is One Step Closer to Creating a Digital Nation appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Build a website using Single-Level Memory

Has Silicon Valley has lost its touch?

Summary

In this installment, we shall apply Single-Level Memory (SLM), a concept that originated from the grander vision behind UNIX. SLM has been gathering dust for decades — indeed we find the lack of innovation from the US west coast lately a bit strange. We suspect that unconstrained tech monopolies have seriously damaged the underlying ecosystems in Seattle and San Francisco. Key players will soon find themselves in the awkward position of being followers despite commanding sky-high valuations.

Even the Accountants are Getting Concerned

Meanwhile NYC quietly decided to move on, forcing Google’s Hightower to recently admit that hipster Silicon Valley somehow managed to fall behind those stuffy bankers:

One industry that has adapted — perhaps surprisingly — to new technology driven realities is the banking sector, he continued. “Everybody said financial institutions would be the last to adopt technology because they have to play it safe. If you look around, all the banks have the most innovative technology

— Kelsey Hightower, Google

Led by the “billion dollar secret” behind Goldman Sachs after the 2008 crash, NYC spawned a technology boom in E Europe. This is why you might find yourself increasingly flying to conferences near the Danube Valley.

Hello World Revisited

The internet has been around for 20 years and yet the ability to display a web page still requires additional programming. In Estonia, we no longer find this acceptable. When I create a text file, I don’t write code to allocate blocks on a hard disk. Isn’t that the sort of thing we pay computers to do?

Continuing from our previous installments on Multics, let’s create a website folder:

Thanks to the 1960’s hipster magic of Single-Level Memory, we can see our folder in the browser:

Now let’s go into the website and create a string variable called index (what else right?) and set the value to “hello world”.

We also set the DSL to html, which tells SLM to map the string variable to a URL in our browser:

Just for curiosity sake, let’s click the link:

Those silly bankers! Why aren’t they using the latest framework of the month? Maybe they don’t want to keep wasting time and money. Or maybe once you get away from Silicon Valley groupthink, there’s a whole big world out there.


The future of programming

Announcing moonrise 2017!

We are happy to announce moonrise 2017 — the key blockchain startup competition in Northern Europe.

This year, it’s hosted in Tallinn, where leading blockchain experts are gathering for the annual Moontec conference to discuss the hottest questions around cryptocurrencies, DLT, blockchain and their implementation in various industries.

Moonrise aims to find the most innovative early stage blockchain startups and connect them with a global network of investors to provide them with both financial and business support.

Applicants are required to prepare a 1–2 page pitch, which would help the selection team to better understand the business idea and its application in real world business practice. There are no strict rules on the layout, but we strongly advise everyone to keep a clear structure and try to provide answers to the questions below:

Business Opportunity

• Which problem does your startup solve?
• Market overview. Who are your users?
• How is blockchain technology implemented in your solution?

Research & Development

• Are there any competitors on the market?
• What risks did your team identify?
• Is there a development plan / roadmap?

Marketing & Partners

• How do you plan to market your product/service?
• Who are your key partners?
• Can you define your value proposition?

Team & Location

• Who is your team? How was it formed?
• How many people do you expect in your team after 1 year?
• Where do you plan to locate your headquarters?

We welcome all startup teams to send their application to compete for the Moonriser title. A team of industry professionals will individually assess every application and top ten teams will be invited to pitch their startups on Moontec stage in Tallinn.

Please send your applications to moonrise@moontec.io before 17th of November, 2017. Top 10 startups will be announced on 20th of November and will receive an invitation to pitch on stage in front of investors and advisors at Moontec 2017.

After pitching on stage, teams will be invited to a Moonrise networking reception to cool off the heat and enjoy an hour of networking and fun. Once juries decide, top 3 startups will be invited on the main stage for the awards ceremony.

Information on prize fund and other details coming soon.

Organised by


Moontec 2017 logo.

Moontec 17 is the largest conference in Northern Europe, devoted to blockchain technology and its implementation in various industries, which will be hosted in Tallinn this winter.

1000+ attendees from all around the world and 50 speakers, including IBM, Microsoft, Bitcoin Foundation, Hyperledger, Consensys, Lykke, Reply, Accenture, DFJ, Republic of Estonia and many others!

We offer startups a discount of 20%. Simply use the promocode MOONSTART on checkout and the discount will be applied to the final amount.

Learn more about the conference: http://moontec.io

Make sure you follow our Twitter and Facebook for fast updates.



Announcing moonrise 2017! was originally published in Moontec on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Review of Mothership (MSP)

By Bronson Tang and Pink Panther

August 3, 2017

Overview:

Question:

What is Mothership MSP?

Answer: Mothership MSP is a new digital asset exchange, EU token marketplace and a gateway to cryptocurrency markets for Estonian businesses.

In this Analysis, I will address the following:

  1. What is Mothership (MSP) in depth?
  2. Advantages
  3. Disadvantages
  4. Road Map
  5. Team
  6. Challenges
  7. Conclusion

What is Mothership MSP?

Answer: Mothership MSP is a new digital asset exchange, EU token marketplace and a gateway to cryptocurrency markets for Estonian businesses.

In this Analysis, I will address the following:

WHAT IS MSP?

The ultimate goal of the Mothership is to fund the development of blockchain financial services, built around the Estonian e-Residence digital identity. Mothership services will be available for anyone, but e-Residents will enjoy additional security measures, easy identity verification and powerful e-Residency integrations.1

The core of these services are:
A token market for the EU, democratizing funding for new blockchain projects
Acting as a gateway to cryptocurrency markets for Estonian companies and a go-to place for launching new ones, Mothership will help prospective startups build a legal framework for digital assets and execute successful funding campaigns.

A secure, stable cryptocurrency exchange for EU residents and businesses
A state-of-the-art digital asset exchange with focus on security, great customer service and reliability. Mothership will run on world’s best infrastructure and provide 24/7 uninterrupted access to markets. When integrated with e-Residency, verification for individuals and companies becomes an easy process, allowing you to switch from ETH to EUR in moments.

A blockchain and exchange connected hosting platform for your own applications
Mothership will provide a PaaS solution for hosting applications in the same datacenter with our exchange. Users will be able to build high frequency trading bots, payment gateways or any other apps using any programming language. Direct connection to the exchange will guarantee minimal latency, while automatic scaling and managed runtime will allow developers to focus on what really matters — building apps.

A new wallet, connected to your e-Resident digital identity
Your Mothership wallet combines the best of software and hardware wallets. It can be connected to your eResident digital identity and protect your funds with digital signatures.

WHAT IS E-RESIDENT

E-residency of Estonia (also called virtual residency or e-Residency) is a program launched by Estonia on 1 December 2014. The program allows non-Estonians access to Estonian services such as company formation, banking, payment processing, and taxation. The program gives the e-resident a smart card which they can use to sign documents. The program is aimed towards location-independent entrepreneurs such as software developers and writers.2

What Is E-Residency Not?3

E-Residency does not mean actual residency. It’s not a visa, a right to remain, an identification card or citizenship, nor does it come with any of the social rights that Estonians locals have.

What Are the Benefits of Becoming An Estonian E-Resident?

Here’s a clearer, more concise list of benefits:

  • Very low administrative burden
  • 0% corporation tax (but 20% income tax)
  • A euro-currency or multi-currency bank account
  • More trust due to incorporating in a EU state
  • Access to more online services such as PayPal
  • Modern banking that can be managed remotely
  • You specifically want a business in Estonia
  • Save time and money by using government software

Application

An application for e-residency can be made online by filling in a form, supplying a scan of a national passport and a photograph, and giving the reason for applying (which does not strongly affect the outcome of the application). Kaspar Korjus, managing director of the e-residency programme, said that applicants who had been involved in financial misbehavior such as money laundering would be rejected. Successful applicants would be invited to an interview in Tallinn or an Estonian embassy about three months after applying, and would then, if successful, be issued with their card.[5] The certificates of the document are valid for three years. After that period, if a person wishes to continue using e-services, they have to apply for a new document. The application process will be the same as when they first applied. A state fee needs to be paid again when they submit a new application.

Further Benefits and limitations of e-residency

E-residents will have their financial footprint monitored digitally, in a manner stated to be transparent; the reaction to the widespread financial misbehavior at high level revealed by the Panama Papers leak was suggested to be a factor helping the more transparent Estonian initiative according to Korjus. Residents pay tax in their home countries — which provide them with the everyday services they use — and not Estonia.[5]

E-residency allows company registration, document signing, encrypted document exchange, online banking, tax declaration, and fulfilment of medical prescriptions. Other services become available as the scheme is expanded.[6] A smart card issued by the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board in Estonia or at an embassy is used for access to services.

Korjus said that registering an Estonian business was “useful for internet entrepreneurs in emerging markets who don’t have access to an online payment provider”, and for startups from countries such as Ukraine or Belarus which suffer financial limitations from their governments.[5]

E-residency is not related to citizenship and does not give the right to physically enter or reside in Estonia.4

To learn more about Estonia and the e-resident program: https://e-estonia.com/solutions/e-identity/e-residency/

Additional Information

Estonia has indeed confirmed that they are working with Mothership via their blog post

https://medium.com/e-residency-blog/welcome-to-the-blockchain-nation-5d9b46c06fd4

ADVANTAGES

  1. Experienced management and advisors
  2. Clear plan and detailed whitepaper
  3. Great potential and real-life application of the project
  4. First to market, first to assist a country become fully decentralized whereby the country already has e-residents
  5. Partner with Estonia to leverage mass user adoption

DISADVANTAGES

  1. No alpha version/Product/Project launch
  2. Unchartered territory, as this is a new endeavor one can only expect to be some challenges along the way.

ROAD MAP

The MSP team has published a page detailing their road map for 2017–18 which can be found at the following link: https://trello.com/b/icEYDrpu/mothership-transparent-roadmap

TEAM

Arseniy Zarechnev, co-founder and CEO
Prior to founding Mothership, Arseny co-founded Sabaka, a DevOps, mobile and web consultancy. He is a full stack developer, entrepreneur and solution architect and has worked at leading technology companies including Atlassian, Enki, and Ostrovok. He is a digital nomad, Estonian e-Resident and remote advocate. Arseny studied Business Administration at the Russian University of Economics.

Anton Egorov, co-founder and CTO
Prior to founding Mothership, Anton co-founded Sabaka as CTO with Arseny. He is a software engineer, systems architect and team lead with over 10 years of experience at leading technology companies including Ostrovok, where he was a highly available systems engineer. Anton has a degree in Nuclear Power Engineering from Obninsk State Technical University.

We are proud to be working with an amazing team:
Oleg Gutsol — e-Residence partner, Head of Global Growth at e-Residence
Keonne Rodriguez — Product Advisor, ex-blockchain.info
Dmitri Akatov, PhD — Technology Advisor, co-founder at Tallarium
Bruno Marnette, PhD — Technology Advisor, CEO and co-founder at Prodo.ai
George Mills — Mentor and Business Advisor, BGF Ventures
Jon Taylor — Product and Technology Advisor
Stefan Jespers — Crypto, Trading and Marketing Advisor, @WhalePanda
Jason Yates — Product and Technology Advisor, ex-Mintpal
Marshall Stokes — Infrastructure and Security

CHALLENGES

There are one major challenges one immediate and another medium/long term:

  1. The real serious challenge I see is that Mothership is literally going to unchartered territories and as such we don’t really know what to expect, so execution will be the biggest challenge I foresee with this project. How well they meet their milestones and how well their project is received from the masses.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the Mothership MSP project is certainly groundbreaking in working with the first e-resident country, Estonia.

The e-residence program is the first of its kind, and makes the move toward a decentralized government and or country.

Mothership is embracing this e-resident program and by integrating blockchain technology takes the already innovative e-resident program to a whole other level.

As someone, who has not participated in the crowdfund but a follower of the e-resident program I am super excited about this project because it breaks all new ground. In addition, the team is solid, and their only major challenge, as in all new endeavors, is execution.

How well will the MSP team execute on their deliverables?

Only time will tell.

1 https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1981131.0

2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-residency_of_Estonia

3 https://www.sitepoint.com/all-you-need-to-know-about-estonias-e-residency-program/

4 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-residency_of_Estonia

Review of Mothership (MSP)

By Bronson Tang and Pink Panther

August 3, 2017

Overview:

Question:

What is Mothership MSP?

Answer: Mothership MSP is a new digital asset exchange, EU token marketplace and a gateway to cryptocurrency markets for Estonian businesses.

In this Analysis, I will address the following:

  1. What is Mothership (MSP) in depth?
  2. Advantages
  3. Disadvantages
  4. Road Map
  5. Team
  6. Challenges
  7. Conclusion

What is Mothership MSP?

Answer: Mothership MSP is a new digital asset exchange, EU token marketplace and a gateway to cryptocurrency markets for Estonian businesses.

In this Analysis, I will address the following:

WHAT IS MSP?

The ultimate goal of the Mothership is to fund the development of blockchain financial services, built around the Estonian e-Residence digital identity. Mothership services will be available for anyone, but e-Residents will enjoy additional security measures, easy identity verification and powerful e-Residency integrations.1

The core of these services are:
A token market for the EU, democratizing funding for new blockchain projects
Acting as a gateway to cryptocurrency markets for Estonian companies and a go-to place for launching new ones, Mothership will help prospective startups build a legal framework for digital assets and execute successful funding campaigns.

A secure, stable cryptocurrency exchange for EU residents and businesses
A state-of-the-art digital asset exchange with focus on security, great customer service and reliability. Mothership will run on world’s best infrastructure and provide 24/7 uninterrupted access to markets. When integrated with e-Residency, verification for individuals and companies becomes an easy process, allowing you to switch from ETH to EUR in moments.

A blockchain and exchange connected hosting platform for your own applications
Mothership will provide a PaaS solution for hosting applications in the same datacenter with our exchange. Users will be able to build high frequency trading bots, payment gateways or any other apps using any programming language. Direct connection to the exchange will guarantee minimal latency, while automatic scaling and managed runtime will allow developers to focus on what really matters — building apps.

A new wallet, connected to your e-Resident digital identity
Your Mothership wallet combines the best of software and hardware wallets. It can be connected to your eResident digital identity and protect your funds with digital signatures.

WHAT IS E-RESIDENT

E-residency of Estonia (also called virtual residency or e-Residency) is a program launched by Estonia on 1 December 2014. The program allows non-Estonians access to Estonian services such as company formation, banking, payment processing, and taxation. The program gives the e-resident a smart card which they can use to sign documents. The program is aimed towards location-independent entrepreneurs such as software developers and writers.2

What Is E-Residency Not?3

E-Residency does not mean actual residency. It’s not a visa, a right to remain, an identification card or citizenship, nor does it come with any of the social rights that Estonians locals have.

What Are the Benefits of Becoming An Estonian E-Resident?

Here’s a clearer, more concise list of benefits:

  • Very low administrative burden
  • 0% corporation tax (but 20% income tax)
  • A euro-currency or multi-currency bank account
  • More trust due to incorporating in a EU state
  • Access to more online services such as PayPal
  • Modern banking that can be managed remotely
  • You specifically want a business in Estonia
  • Save time and money by using government software

Application

An application for e-residency can be made online by filling in a form, supplying a scan of a national passport and a photograph, and giving the reason for applying (which does not strongly affect the outcome of the application). Kaspar Korjus, managing director of the e-residency programme, said that applicants who had been involved in financial misbehavior such as money laundering would be rejected. Successful applicants would be invited to an interview in Tallinn or an Estonian embassy about three months after applying, and would then, if successful, be issued with their card.[5] The certificates of the document are valid for three years. After that period, if a person wishes to continue using e-services, they have to apply for a new document. The application process will be the same as when they first applied. A state fee needs to be paid again when they submit a new application.

Further Benefits and limitations of e-residency

E-residents will have their financial footprint monitored digitally, in a manner stated to be transparent; the reaction to the widespread financial misbehavior at high level revealed by the Panama Papers leak was suggested to be a factor helping the more transparent Estonian initiative according to Korjus. Residents pay tax in their home countries — which provide them with the everyday services they use — and not Estonia.[5]

E-residency allows company registration, document signing, encrypted document exchange, online banking, tax declaration, and fulfilment of medical prescriptions. Other services become available as the scheme is expanded.[6] A smart card issued by the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board in Estonia or at an embassy is used for access to services.

Korjus said that registering an Estonian business was “useful for internet entrepreneurs in emerging markets who don’t have access to an online payment provider”, and for startups from countries such as Ukraine or Belarus which suffer financial limitations from their governments.[5]

E-residency is not related to citizenship and does not give the right to physically enter or reside in Estonia.4

To learn more about Estonia and the e-resident program: https://e-estonia.com/solutions/e-identity/e-residency/

Additional Information

Estonia has indeed confirmed that they are working with Mothership via their blog post

https://medium.com/e-residency-blog/welcome-to-the-blockchain-nation-5d9b46c06fd4

ADVANTAGES

  1. Experienced management and advisors
  2. Clear plan and detailed whitepaper
  3. Great potential and real-life application of the project
  4. First to market, first to assist a country become fully decentralized whereby the country already has e-residents
  5. Partner with Estonia to leverage mass user adoption

DISADVANTAGES

  1. No alpha version/Product/Project launch
  2. Unchartered territory, as this is a new endeavor one can only expect to be some challenges along the way.

ROAD MAP

The MSP team has published a page detailing their road map for 2017–18 which can be found at the following link: https://trello.com/b/icEYDrpu/mothership-transparent-roadmap

TEAM

Arseniy Zarechnev, co-founder and CEO
Prior to founding Mothership, Arseny co-founded Sabaka, a DevOps, mobile and web consultancy. He is a full stack developer, entrepreneur and solution architect and has worked at leading technology companies including Atlassian, Enki, and Ostrovok. He is a digital nomad, Estonian e-Resident and remote advocate. Arseny studied Business Administration at the Russian University of Economics.

Anton Egorov, co-founder and CTO
Prior to founding Mothership, Anton co-founded Sabaka as CTO with Arseny. He is a software engineer, systems architect and team lead with over 10 years of experience at leading technology companies including Ostrovok, where he was a highly available systems engineer. Anton has a degree in Nuclear Power Engineering from Obninsk State Technical University.

We are proud to be working with an amazing team:
Oleg Gutsol — e-Residence partner, Head of Global Growth at e-Residence
Keonne Rodriguez — Product Advisor, ex-blockchain.info
Dmitri Akatov, PhD — Technology Advisor, co-founder at Tallarium
Bruno Marnette, PhD — Technology Advisor, CEO and co-founder at Prodo.ai
George Mills — Mentor and Business Advisor, BGF Ventures
Jon Taylor — Product and Technology Advisor
Stefan Jespers — Crypto, Trading and Marketing Advisor, @WhalePanda
Jason Yates — Product and Technology Advisor, ex-Mintpal
Marshall Stokes — Infrastructure and Security

CHALLENGES

There are one major challenges one immediate and another medium/long term:

  1. The real serious challenge I see is that Mothership is literally going to unchartered territories and as such we don’t really know what to expect, so execution will be the biggest challenge I foresee with this project. How well they meet their milestones and how well their project is received from the masses.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the Mothership MSP project is certainly groundbreaking in working with the first e-resident country, Estonia.

The e-residence program is the first of its kind, and makes the move toward a decentralized government and or country.

Mothership is embracing this e-resident program and by integrating blockchain technology takes the already innovative e-resident program to a whole other level.

As someone, who has not participated in the crowdfund but a follower of the e-resident program I am super excited about this project because it breaks all new ground. In addition, the team is solid, and their only major challenge, as in all new endeavors, is execution.

How well will the MSP team execute on their deliverables?

Only time will tell.

1 https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1981131.0

2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-residency_of_Estonia

3 https://www.sitepoint.com/all-you-need-to-know-about-estonias-e-residency-program/

4 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-residency_of_Estonia

Master’s Thesis Retro — How to get the most out of your endeavor to finish

I arrived in Estonia 🇪🇪 on March 25th, 2011 on my Fulbright Scholarship to study E-Estonia and begin the joint Master’s program in Cybersecurity of the Tallinn University of Technology and Tartu University in Estonia. After spending only four insane years earning my two bachelors degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics from my beloved University of Washington in Seattle, six (!) academic years later, I can proudly say I’m the owner of a Master’s of Science in Cybersecurity. :)

What happened?!?! In this post I will express my learnings of three topics:

  • (1) Why the hell did it take me 6 years to finish a relatively easy Master’s degree?
  • (2) Advice on how can you the most out of writing your thesis: how to start, not stress, and actually finish?
  • (3) How did my master’s thesis help me in life

1.) Six Years to Finish

So why did a studyholic American take 6 years to finish a Master’s degree in Europe? In summary, we can say life happened.

(1) I didn’t come to Estonia to study — Surprise!!! My main motivation was to experience life outside the USA. That cold night in Püssirohukelder in Tartu on the UW Choirs tour in March 2010 was one seed that brought me here. A hint of excitement of what life might be Round 2 abroad after Budapest. Master’s degree is literally a piece of paper, I could have went back and worked in the USA as a developer at any point of time.

(2) It turned out Cybersecurity was not really my thing — This was a huge factor. I didn’t have much experience at all with web development when I started. I came to code from pure and applied mathematics. I weakest areas were computer networking and system administrating, which are by the most important for cybersecurity specialists securing internal networks and conducting penetration tests. These got better and better with years in industry. Even then, I never quite caught the bug here. The management part was just risk management and a bit fluffy. The program had only a few really software engineering oriented courses (at least 4–6 years ago). It was interesting, but I never got the bug of inspiration. I knew early this is not exactly my career path.

(3) I discovered startup companies and started working — Work is a huge factor to my delays. I started at Fits.me in the second year of the program, 2012, failed some courses, and finished them in the third academic year, 2013. I was just more interested in working then studying, tired in the evenings, and wanted to enjoy the weekends. I went to Tartu to work for Ubit/Shazam in the spring 2014, then failed to get steam in starting a thesis, but at least completed the course work. When I moved back to Tallinn in TransferWise in autumn 2014, I missed starting my thesis two years in a row. It takes enormous discipline, motivation, and life stability to balance study and work full time, all qualities I lacked.

(4) Distractions and time wasting lifestyle — Oh boy. This is king of my Estonian life. Some good and some bad. I was 4 years in about 6 choirs taking a bunch of evenings and weekends. I became a super distance runner and still just ecstatic over my 3:18:09 marathon. Traveling became my life force. I went to a few more startup events then for my own good. I became a social butterfly and met way too many acquaintances that pop up in the most random places. Oh the summer festivals and white nights. And finally, way too many parties and nights out, especially in the first 3 years…

(5) Never feeling settled — really the root cause of (4). My FOMA (Fear Of Missing Out) had been quite high at times. It took me years to finally appreciate the productive time by myself. I never reached that “settled” feeling, here if you know what I mean. Focus on quality over quantity of relationships has always been a struggle for me, even in Seattle. I only recently started ruthless life prioritisation cutting out anything not with my goals (but still can’t say I’m 100% there).

2.) Writing a Master’s Thesis

So now the important part! How can I help you? Whether you are a fresh master’s student (23 year old me) or an old timer working full time for years as a developer who’s been mocking the unfinished degree for years, I’ll try to help you out.

(0) Start early — If you’re thesis defense is June 2017, start June 2016… No F’ing joke. The earlier you start the more happy you’re gonna be with the result. The real work can begin in September, but you really should start with step (1) as early as you are sure you are doing a Thesis. (of course I did not start this early…)

(1) Find inspiration in an area of your field — this is absolutely the number one aspect of starting your thesis. If you’re not inspired you’re gonna be miserable for months! Thesis seminar courses help in these regards. But better are conferences, meetup groups, blogposts, or papers, especially from leaders in your field. I hope you actually slightly like what you study… Inspiration will drive your motivation and curiosity. Use your thesis as a chance to contribute to your field! Or at least explore some really interesting question and actually do science. For me this was the Euro 2.0 project and the recent rise of Ethereum Distributed Applications Platform.

(2) Understand how research, knowledge, and academia works — I can’t thank my advisor Alex Norta enough for his help getting started. The guy really knows his stuff. I had no idea how Academia worked until I went through this watched his lectures on How to Conduct Research (with slides). You’ll definitely need to catch up on the thesis outline template in xmind mind mapping software is extremely useful in organizing your thoughts and outlining the manuscript.

(4) Read other theses like crazy —Oh why oh why didn’t I start doing this until March(!!!). THESES ARE THE GREATEST SOURCE OF CONCENTRATED KNOWLEDGE TO GUIDE YOU ON YOUR JOURNEY!!! Read theses inside and outside your field. Read theses of your friends and colleagues. Spend an afternoon in your university library and grab a few off the shelf. They help you understand what is a good scope of a Master’s thesis. You’ll start to figure out the difference between a good thesis and bad thesis. You can pick up a PhD Dissertation and look what the highest level of quality entails. The theses very closely related to your topic will be a great source of sources to get you started.

(5) Literature review, research questions and methods — Now the most important work begins, the search for what the hell you are actually doing. You’re looking for a gap of knowledge to explore in your thesis. This did not go well for me… This is a scavenger hunt in a massive exploration of literature review. I went down quite a few dead ends and was quite biased by my interesting topic. I can’t really advise how to make this go any better. You’re looking for a main thesis research question starting in How and three supporting How or What supporting questions (see the mindmap linked in (3)). These should guide your research methods. I thought I knew what I was doing in December, January, and February but really didn’t nail it until March (absolute crunch time in thesis land). Even then I cut out scalability and privacy from my thesis and just focused on security of a blockchain based digital currency prototype. Again I started way too late here and didn’t have my research questions grounded in a solid literature review. The more focused, the better. Too broad and you’ll have too much to write about, which is the worst problem ever.

(6) Start writing as soon as you have research questions — “Knowledge is worthless unless it is applied” is my favorite quote from Why Learning Is A New Procrastination. You are not accomplishing anything until you apply knowledge. You can’t learn software development until you have a goal you actually want to accomplish with the code you learn. Same with a thesis. From research questions you can start writing an introduction to really nail down a logical sequence of academic research and open questions that lead to your gap and research questions. From there it’s clear what research you actually need to do to fill in your main chapters. While your writing the main chapters the bridge of knowledge should get filled in as you go. I didn’t start writing until ~March 9th. After that my thesis pivoted one week later. Then I added the original part back in my pivoted thesis to fill in some missing gaps. It was a total mess for starting so ridiculously late…

(7) Let the research guide you —This is general advice going for (5) and (6). You might have your biases, intuition, or advisor stray you off course. It’s very easy to get distracted down a deep research path that never actually gets used in your manuscript (hello Colored Petri Nets). A thorough literature review but still staying on topic by writing early will be a huge win.

(8) Hopefully you are done before you know it — Easier said then done. I said nothing about the actual research and evaluation since I never really found enough time to get to mine… Hopefully you can get to this early and get help from your advisor or research laboratory. I was basically on my own here but did enough to pass. 💥

3.) What did I learn?

(1) Explosion of interest in Blockchain and Ethereum — I was asked once a year ago, “when is the last time you really learned deeply about something?” I had no answer… Now I can go on and on with my Blockchain, Ethereum, Decentralization vs. Centralization, we’re just getting started in a new era of computing rant to last for hours. I have a massive backlog of papers and reading that I need to do a better job getting into. Every hour spent outside of work is asked: “couldn’t I be spending this time better on reading?”. At some point I need to figure out how to apply this knowledge. :) If you want to get your feet wet in this space, go pick up Blockchain Revolution or go read Satoshi’s infamous Bitcoin paper. Doing a master’s thesis may spark a whole new direction of your personal growth.

(2) What’s really important? The ultimate lesson of time prioritization —Get ready for the greatest guilt trip filled 6–12 months of your life. Every hour you don’t spend supporting yourself (work) or working on your thesis will feel guilty. I had a few more of those than I should have… But in the end you will realize what’s really important, where does time get wasted, and how you can find your peak hours and places of productivity (morning libraries for the win). All of the distractions mentioned in Part 1 contributing to the six years had to be thrown out the window. Despite this I still traveled and went to the gym, it’s all about life balance. In the end you will have a clear life schedule, don’t let it get polluted again!

(3) Disconnect from work life can work wonders—This was ridiculously tough but enormously beneficial. See my honesty of One Year and Two Years at TransferWise on how easy it is to get sucked in. Only in that time in March and April did I realize how not productive I am in evenings after work. Weekends are sacred, don’t let them go to waste. I would have never finished without that very generous 1.5 months of Estonian study leave. It actually made me a more productive Wiser afterwards. I felt cured of gloominess with so much motivation to get back to the revolution. :)

(4) Life’s a game of hard choices — In late March it was pivot or die. I was not very proud of my final work, but it passed 3 out of 5. This is a miracle… It’s a 112 page complicated messy technical report with a smattering of insightful ideas. More or less it was my attempt to get everything on the page before the deadline I miscalculated by 4 days. If I would have started a year in advance, spent a consistent amount of time every week working on it every week, and really dived early in the literature review and research questions, then I wouldn’t have had this insanity of a March and April to get this thing done…

(5) “You run so you can do anything” —someone said to me these few little words of inspiration back in March. It was so simple and strait forward, but yet so true. 23km Saturday morning runs and master’s thesis should be no different. Don’t be scared. Take it easy, maybe you’ll speed up, or maybe you’ll hit a wall, but if you keep at it you’ll get to the finish line.

Onwards!

If you got this far you can check out my thesis LaTeX document on github and download the final draft here for your reading pleasure. :)

Estonia’s Polybius Foundation Is Building The World’s First Digital Bank For Blockchain, Crypto Startups

Polybius Foundation, a financial services company established this year and registered in Estonia, is building a fully digital bank for businesses and individuals and the “first bank in the world to specialize in financial services for cryptocurrency startups and blockchain projects.” Polybius Bank, which intends to apply for a EU financial institution license, aims to […]

The post Estonia’s Polybius Foundation Is Building The World’s First Digital Bank For Blockchain, Crypto Startups appeared first on Coinjournal.

Estonia’s Polybius Foundation Is Building The World’s First Digital Bank For Blockchain, Crypto Startups

Polybius Foundation, a financial services company established this year and registered in Estonia, is building a fully digital bank for businesses and individuals and the “first bank in the world to specialize in financial services for cryptocurrency startups and blockchain projects.” Polybius Bank, which intends to apply for a EU financial institution license, aims to […]

The post Estonia’s Polybius Foundation Is Building The World’s First Digital Bank For Blockchain, Crypto Startups appeared first on Coinjournal.

Over 500k Early Adopters to Participate in Upcoming Polybius Project ICO

Estonia-based blockchain startup, Polybius Foundation has projected the participation of over 500,000 of its HashFlare cloud mining service users to take part in the upcoming crowdsale. These early adopters of Polybius Project are expected to help the platform achieve its funding targets during the ICO.

[Note: This is a press release.]


The Polybius ecosystem connects a ‘Digital Pass remote’ ID service, protected personal data storage, and financial services through Polybius Bank. Digital Pass is touted to replace the current standard of all-European electronic identity cards with a universal eID.

The multi-regional Digital Pass will aim to offer a single digital database system for numerous sectors, including both health and education. The Polybius database could allow people with pre-existing conditions to have an option to make their details available to overseas practitioners, thus making the validation of medicine prescriptions much more achievable when abroad.

This system could also prove crucial when a patient needs to receive vital medical services overseas. In such a scenario, doctors will be able to gain access to the person’s complete medical history and insurance information, with patient’s consent. The Polybius digital database would also relieve the need for students to prove their course attendance and enrolment details with physical paperwork.

Polybius Milestones

The Polybius Digital pass system is designed to empower the user to choose whether to allow or refuse access to their personal data as they see fit. The repository’s security level keeps personal information secure.

Users of Polybius project will receive access to a universal digital repository containing their personal data over blockchain. Their respective database entries will be equivalent to standard identification document, acceptable by both state and commercial organizations.

Polybius Foundation’s touted Polybius Bank will soon launch Digital Pass, which will be offered as an alternative electronic identity system to countries which don’t have a similar setup at the moment. The Polybius eID initiative is waiting to be officially recognized by all European Union nations under the eIDAS directive on or before July 23, 2017.

Polybius ICO

Polybius’ crowdfunding campaign, in the format of an ICO, will begin this quarter with a target to raise over $25 million to fund the initiative and other connected products. All campaign participants will be among the first to get a bank account with Polybius Bank, and they will be the first ones to receive their Digital Pass digital IDs.

Polybius Token

After the project’s launch, the service will be open to the public, and any questions regarding the project can be directed to the official Polybius Foundation Spokesperson, Edgar Bers at edgar.bers@polybius.io.

The post Over 500k Early Adopters to Participate in Upcoming Polybius Project ICO appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Blockchain and Bitcoin in Estonia: How the Industry Is Shaping the Country’s Future

Tallinn

At the start of the 21st century, Estonia, a country with 1.3 million population, and with its labor pool having one foot out of the door, has launched a major project for general digitalization. Fifteen years later, the country’s infrastructure was ready to take the world’s first govtech blockchain-based projects out for a spin, and to implement the technology in existing e-projects.

However, the Estonian government treats two incarnations of blockchain, i.e. the general one and the one as basis for bitcoin, quite differently.

Estonian Blockchain Projects

The Estonians started implementing blockchain solutions in Government Technology back in 2015 and attempted to kill two birds with one stone:

a) to embrace advantages of blockchain (transparency of storage and data transmission, cutting expenses for intermediaries and document flow, etc.);
b) and to find an unconventional solution for the country’s demographic problem by relying not on birth of someone for some reason, but on attracting those young and economically active without requirement to physically stay in Estonia.

The e- Residency project, sometimes referred to as e-citizenship by a mistake or for the sake of simplicity, was launched in 2015, before blockchain became mainstream. Later on, e-Residency and BitNation teams launched Public Notary project, which is a remote electronic notary enabling foreigners to notarize papers while being anywhere in the world.

e-Residency

E-Residency allows foreigners to run a business in Estonia, open accounts in local banks, and use digital signature to sign contracts. E-residents get ID-card similar to the ones the Estonians have but without a photo. The government gets revenue from taxation, and there’s also a possibility that e-residents will expand their business, create new jobs, or even move to Estonia.

Now, the creators of e-Residency are up to implement blockchain in the project’s infrastructure under the supervision of Kaspar Korjus, a young manager whose name ranks first in the Forbes’ Technology and Finance Under 30 list. Former Google VP Megan Smith deems him one of twenty global leaders in digital technologies.

Public Notary

Last year, data security startup Guardtime announced a partnership with the Estonian eHealth Foundation that will see it deploy a blockchain-based system to secure over 1 million patient healthcare records. Under the deal, the foundation will integrate Guardtime’s keyless signature infrastructure (KSI) blockchain into the foundation’s Oracle database engine to provide “real-time visibility” into the state of patient records.

In practical sense, it enables doctors to promptly react to emergencies and have full medical records, including the undergone therapies, contraindications, and all other things often lost in papers.

Nasdaq and e-Voting

Recently Nasdaq announced it successfully completed a test using blockchain technology to run proxy voting on its Estonian exchange and is now assessing whether to implement the new system. Created in cooperation with e-Residency, the e-Voting system is intended for shareholders voting, making the entire process faster and cutting expenses. Building on this, Nasdaq decided to explore other possible application of the technology, both for internal processes and customer services.

Blockchain Exchange by Funderbeam

Last November, Funderbeam, which is a kind of a startups search engine founded by former CEO of Nasdaq Kaidi Ruusalepp, announced plans to establish a blockchain-based stock exchange. The idea is to make the exchange an open platform and a ‘financial engine’ for its customers. There are at least three companies and two private investors who took part in the project’s funding, including Skype founder Jaan Tallinn.

LHV Cuber Wallet

Estonia’s LHV Bank first started to study blockchain four years ago and launched Cuber Wallet in 2015. The app enables users to send and receive euros instantly and free of charge. Apart from the Estonian team, participating in the project’s development were residents of four other nations, including Ukraine. The wallet is available for download at App Store and Google Play. Anyone having an LHV account may use it.

Cryptocurrencies

Estonia deems bitcoin a means of payment, which implies that relevant financial operations are subject to taxation. However, as opposed to blockchain, bitcoin failed to garner much support within the government. Prior to the European Court of Justice’s ruling that bitcoin is a currency back in October 2015, Estonia’s Central Bank recommended its nationals to keep away from cryptocurrencies comparing them to Ponzi schemes.

The community still remembers the 2014 controversy when bitcoin-selling website BTC.ee was shut down under the orders from the police. Back then, its owner Otto de Voogd stated the law enforcement was putting pressure on him demanding that he provides ID’s of all customers. De Voogd filed a lawsuit against the country’s Supreme Court, two ministries, and the Central Bank.

Cloud Mining

There is no profit tax for legal entities in Estonia which attracted HashCoins and its cloud mining service HashFlare to the jurisdiction. According to the project’s manager Vitaly Pavlov, cloud mining is still profitable even considering last year’s reward halving and power expenses. HashFlare claims to have nearly half a million of user contracts.

Bitcoins ATM’s

The first BTM was installed in Estonia back in 2015 and was the first one in the Baltic States. Using the machine, one may buy only bitcoins, and only after presenting a valid ID. The BTM was installed by local company DeCrypto. According to its founders, Denis Kudriashov and Alexei Galkin, there is a demand for bitcoin exchanges, yet it doesn’t mean the country has a well-established crypto community. They also admit that there are very few educational projects on bitcoin in Estonia.

However, things may change this year: March 9, the country’s capital of Tallinn will host Estonia’s first major bitcoin and blockchain conference. At the time of writing, the Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Tallinn list of confirmed attendees includes aforementioned Kaspar Karjus, Kaidi Ruusalepp, and Jon Matonis, the founding director of Bitcoin Foundation. Also, attending the conference will be the lead engineer of IBM Poland Karolina Marzantowicz, developers of Ukraine’s e-Auction 3.0, developers of social platform Golos, representatives for other projects.

Ilya Lopatin

Estonia and South Korea Top Barclays’ Digital Development Index

Estonia and South Korea Top Barclays’ Digital Development Index

Barclays, a British multi-billion dollar banking and financial services company, has named Estonia and South Korea as the top two countries in the international rankings of its Digital Development Index.

The Digital Development Index, a survey-based project conducted by Barclays with an aim toward understanding the state of the U.K.’s digital economy, is a global ranking of countries primarily based on the level of digital skills and confidence of workers.

Estonia and South Korea, which the Barclays research team describes as “Digital Tigers,” have made significant progress in the development of various innovative technologies that are applicable across major industries.

The Barclays research team’s global data suggests that employees in Estonia and South Korea lead the world in digital skills policy, workplace skills, digital skills in compulsory education, and broadband access and policy, which in turn lead to the creation of innovative and futuristic technologies.

Estonia

Estonia is a country that has been advertised as one of the locations for technology startups and entrepreneurs to launch new products and services. Over the past decade, Estonia has produced prominent fintech startups including Transferwise, Fortumo, and Erply, earning the nickname E-Stonia.

There are three key reasons behind startups’ preference for Estonia: ideal economic environment, digitalized economy, and president’s passion for e-solutions.

Since early 2015, Estonian startups and government have shown increasing interest in emerging fintech platforms and the blockchain technology. The country’s politicians and government-supported establishments have particularly been involved in the development of the blockchain technology, due to its ability to store irrefutable and unalterable data at low costs.

On November 26, 2015, the Estonian government entered into a strategic partnership with Bitnation, a blockchain startup that offers governing bodies with blockchain-based systems for transparency and real-time visibility.

“Via the international Bitnation Public Notary, e-residents, regardless of where they live or do business, will be able to notarize their marriages, birth certificates, business contracts, and much more on the blockchain,” stated the Estonian government.

Four months after the involvement of the Estonian government, a government-supported establishment called the eHealth foundation secured a strategic partnership with data security startup Guardtime on March 3, 2016, to store over 1 million patient health records on a custom-built blockchain network.

The eHealth foundation merged its existing Oracle database with Guardtime’s keyless signature infrastructure blockchain, to provide greater transparency and enhanced security for its patients, customers, and employees.

“Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves has repeatedly pointed out the biggest threat in cyberspace is integrity, and in particular the integrity of patient healthcare records. We are proud to announce that Estonia is again leading the world in digital innovation,” Guardtime CEO Mike Gault stated.

The ability of the Estonian government and its foundations to courageously test out emerging technologies rightfully earned the country a top spot at the Barclays rankings.

South Korea

South Korea, a country often perceived as the leader technology in all of Asia, has secured a top position on the Barclay’s Digital Development Index, because of the country’s startups and government agencies’ tolerance of new technologies and their potential.

When Bitcoin and the blockchain technology was first introduced in Korea in early 2014, the majority of the Korean population was skeptical of the technology, primarily because of the concept of a purely digital currency.

Despite the nationwide skepticism, numerous Korean entrepreneurs launched bitcoin and blockchain-focused businesses, to spur the growth of the FinTech and blockchain markets in Asia. Startups like Korbit and Coinplug recognized the large market South Korea offered with its highly advanced financial industry.

Within a year of operations, Korbit and Coinplug successfully demonstrated the potential of the blockchain technology and bitcoin in Korea, securing hundreds of thousands of dollars from Silicon Valley investors.

In early 2014, Korbit CEO stated, “Korbit has already reached profitability in less than a year of operations. In order to grow our lead and global competitiveness, however, we brought in strategic investors who can add critical value in addition to their investment dollars. We’ll be leveraging their expertise in order to realize Bitcoin’s full potential in the years ahead.”

Recognizing the efforts of blockchain and bitcoin-focused startups, the Central Bank of Korea and the Korean government continuously supported emerging fintech and blockchain startups, launching various investigations and campaigns to reduce fraud and scams in the industry.

For instance, the South Korean law enforcement collaborated with the Korean Central Bank in September of 2015 to terminate altcoin pump-and-dump schemes because, according the government, “it harmed the reputation of bitcoin and startups focusing on the developing technology.”

The economically reasonable and fair policies of countries like Estonia and South Korea on digital products and emerging technologies have allowed the two countries to establish themselves as two of the largest technology-driven nations around the world.

The 10 countries the Digital Development Index included in its ranking are Sweden, the U.K., China, the U.S., and Germany, which all have interestingly been recognized as leading financial hubs for fintech and blockchain startups by venture capital research firms including the Outlier Ventures research team.

Bitcoin and Blockchain in Estonia: Between Two Banks

bitcoinScandinav01

ForkLog continues exploring cryptocurrency worlds of different countries. Earlier we took a close look at bitcoin’s stance in Bulgaria and Finland. Today we decided to explore one of the Baltic states, Estonia. There are not too many news concerning blockchain and cryptocurrencies coming from Estonia; however, the country has its own bitcoin community as well as businesses supporting new technologies and banks taking bitcoin seriously.

Recently ForkLog reported that data security startup Guardtime partnered with Estonia’s eHealth foundation to develop a blockchain-based security system for more than a million of medical records.

Moreover, earlier this year Estonia’s LHV Bank became one of the world’s first financial institutions to get interested in bitcoin and its underlying technology. All those events could not pass unnoticed. We contacted founders of Decrypto, a company engaged in installing BTM’s in  Estonia to find out about the country’s community and crypto-business developments. Denis Kudryashov and Alexei Galkin, founders of Decrypto, answered our questions.

FL: What Estonian bitcoin companies do you know?

Decrypto: There are not too many bitcoin companies in Estonia. There’s a bank, LHV Bank, it develops bitcoin-based products. There’s also Hash Flare, a cloud mining provider. Additionally, there are some companies in Estonia that accept bitcoin payments. They are Salatte (fresh salad seller) and Finca mööbel, furniture retailer.

FL: What do Estonian banks and authorities think about Bitcoin?

Decrypto: Estonian authorities have had no pronounced opinion in this regard yet. Process regulation is carried out on order level. There’s no stance written in a law. Banks also lack any pronounced opinion in bitcoin’s regard. For instance, LHV is very interested in bitcoin and actively works on it and blockchain technology, while another bank, SEB Bank, is very negative. SEB Bank recently closed our company’s account without any explanation. As we found out, the bank is very negative about any bitcoin transactions, even though it’s a member of R3, which attempts to connect banking and blockchain technology.

FL: How can you describe Estonian bitcoin community? Is it well-established?

decrypro_imgDecrypto: Estonia’s bitcoin community is only shaping, it’s in the bud. Now it’s mostly enthusiasts and coders. It is caused by lack of information as to the technology, and the fact that it is new and a bit hard to understand. However, there’s Estonian Cryptocurrency Union, which is an umbrella for all those interested in development and popularization of cryptocurrency in Estonia. We are members thereof. The union’s  purpose is to develop cryptocurrencies in Estonia, teach how to use it, and consult authorities in this regard.

FL: Are there any education programs, forums, or conferences in Estonia?

Decrypto: There are very few bitcoin-related education programs and forums in Estonia. Maybe that is why Estonian bitcoin community isn’t as developed as elsewhere. However, a year ago there was big conference CoinFest 2015.

FL: What about cryptocurrency regulation in Estonia?

Decrypto: Estonian laws don’t mention cryptocurrency, so effectively there’s no regulation. A few years ago government institutions determined bitcoin at their own discretion. Currently, there’s a certain unified term for all supervising entities. Bitcoin is considered an alternative means of payment, so some serious requirements are applicable. Thus, you have to identify each seller and buyer, and make a copy of their ID’s. Also you have to store all this information and provide it at Anti-Money Laundering Bureau’s request. As for taxes, neither VAT, nor capital gain taxes, nor revenue taxes (for companies) are applicable.

FL: Global community currently discusses bitcoin’s scalability issues. What is your opinion in this regard?

Decrypto: We like Bitcoin Core’s position. Simple block size increase won’t solve all problems. Segregated Witness, however, is capable of increasing throughput. Additionally, Segregated Witness has additional tools to improve the network.

FL: Ethereum is also in the headlines these days. Do you think, its price upsurge is natural, or the growth was artificially caused?

Decrypto: We think both reasons are there. Ethereum team is doing a great job in developing and promoting their product. Ethereum’s leader Vitalik Buterin is an extraordinary person, which attracts even more people. These are reasons for normal and natural growth. However, as Ethereum’s popularity grows, there are rumors and speculations about it, and it also certainly causes the price to increase.

FL: Do you know of any Ethereum-based services or products?

Decrypto: We never went into details. Unfortunately, we don’t have much time to learn about new services and products. All our efforts are focused on training and popularization of cryptocurrency in general in Estonia. Ethereum is still very hard to understand for a regular user.

FL: So how do you popularize cryptocurrency?

Decrypto: Currently we’re engaged in negotiations with the ministry of education to launch a big campaign providing people with comprehensible information as to what bitcoins are and what they are for. Additionally, we intend to create a series of educative videos.

Estonia Financial Agency Stops Two Year Long Investigation of Bitcoin Trader

bitcoinmagazine.com / Justin O’Connell / 03:46 PM Apr 26, 2016

The Estonian Financial Intelligence Unit on Friday stopped its investigation of a Bitcoin trader in the Northern Baltic European nation. The decision comes after Otto de Voogd had evidently exercised his right to remain silent over the course of two years.

In February 2014, de […]

The post Estonia Financial Agency Stops Two Year Long Investigation of Bitcoin Trader appeared first on The Bitcoin Channel.

Hi-tech Estonia Unfriendly to Bitcoin?

tol.org / Ioana Caloianu / 27 April 2016

Despite being known as one of the most tech-savvy countries in Europe, Estonia now stands accused of hampering Bitcoin trade. The allegations come from Bitcoin trader Otto de Voogd, a Dutch national who was previously under investigation for irregularities for trading the virtual currency in Estonia.

The […]

The post Hi-tech Estonia Unfriendly to Bitcoin? appeared first on The Bitcoin Channel.

Estonian Bitcoin Exchange BTC.ee Moves Operations to The Netherlands

TheMerkle_Estonia BTC.ee

There has been a lot of focus on the Bitcoin situation in Estonia as of late, ever since a court ruling has lead to stricter regulation of digital currency. However, no one had assumed the consequences would be so severe that the Bitcoin exchange BTC.ee had to be shut down as well.

Also read: Shift Bitcoin Debit Card Comes to Florida And Virginia

BTC.ee Bitcoin Exchange Bites The Dust

TheMerkle_Estonia BTC.ee Bitcoin Regulation

Amidst all of the turmoil regarding Bitcoin exchanges as of late, people would tend to forget there are other reasons besides hacking attempts as to why a platform could be shut down. Although the hacking of Bitcoin exchanges is more norm than the exception these days, BTC.ee had to shut down due to regulatory issues.

Given the recent court ruling in Estonia related to one particular Bitcoin trader, the situation has escalated in the country. Not due to violence or anything like that, mind you, but rather because the regulation of digital currency has become a lot more strict in the region all of a sudden. Needless to say, this is not doing innovation in the country any good.

However, it has to be said BTC.ee had a run in with Estonian authorities in the past, and the situation has still not been resolved. But it looks like the Bitcoin exchange is taking an entirely different approach, as owner Otto de Voogd has shut down the platform. Additional regulation for Bitcoin companies would not do anyone any good.

One of the requirements of this new regulation would be to meet customers in person, and keep IDs of every single individual using the platform. These regulations are far more strict compared to any other financial activity in the country, and it appears as if government officials want to make an example out of Bitcoin.

But BTC.ee customers do not have to fear, as De Voogd has shut down the Estonian exchange, and relaunched it in The Netherlands under the CoinEra name. It is unknown if this platform will serve Estonian customers as well, but if not, both HitBTC and SpectroCoin remain active in the region for the time being.

Source:  Reddit

Images credit 1,2

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Owner Moves Bitcoin Exchange Out of Estonia After Landmark Supreme Court Decision

cointelegraph.com / Shivdeep Dhaliwal / 2016-04-15 09:37 AM

BTC.ee owner alleges threats by Estonian police and moves business out of the country as Supreme Court of the country on Monday ruled against Bitcoin in a landmark case.

BTC.ee recently announced closure over threats by the Estonian police. The website had an ominous notice […]

The post Owner Moves Bitcoin Exchange Out of Estonia After Landmark Supreme Court Decision appeared first on The Bitcoin Channel.