A large country and a small population – this is what has given Estonia’s government no choice but to go digital. "It was something that we had to do in order to be able to efficiently serve the citizens," says Aet Rahe in the video. 

She now signs everything – from her rent contract to bank transfers – using a digital signature, just like two-thirds of Estonia’s adult population: "The only things I don't sign online are the things that I have to sign with people from other countries who don't have digital signature capablities." Even after Snowden, Rahe says, many governments are still finding it difficult to build up the kind of secure infrastructure which Estonia has been using for 15 years.

"To built trust it's more important to have a sense of control over the data not confidentiality," she continues. The question, then, is what happens to the security of the data itself when all the information is only available digitally? To safeguard this, Estonia has built a network of data stores around the world to maintain backup copies.

"e-Estonia" also aims to counteract the country's declining population: Estonia has been issuing e-residency cards since 2014. These do not grant citizenship or any physical right of residence, but anyone with an e-residency card can access the country's digital ecosystem and, for example, found companies there. Estonia hopes that this will help it become the most populous country in the world – despite only having 1.3 million inhabitants. 

Aet Rahe will speak about e-Estonia at the Blockchain Valley Conference on 13 June 2017.
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