Banking Frontiers|June 2020
Forbes magazine described Estonia, the North European country once part of the erstwhile Soviet Union, ‘The most advanced digital society in the world’ and former US President Barack Obama remarked: ‘I should have called the Estonians when we were setting up our health care website.’ These are no exaggerations for Estonia, which includes some 1500 islands, several churches, and castles but a population that is hardly religious has a government that is totally ‘virtual, blockchain and secure’. As much as 99% of services in the country are online and 100% of government data is stored on a blockchain ledger system. Healthcare, property, business, court systems, even official state announcements are digital. The country is years ahead of its time pioneering an e-residency program, believing that countries in the future will compete for e-residents like companies for customers.
Today, Estonians can cast their votes using laptops and counter a traffic ticket from their homes using what is described as a ‘ónce only policy’. Similarly, doctors can access medical data about their patients online and the patients do not have to explain their ailments. The system is based on a chip-ID card that every citizen has, which cuts down repetitive, long-winding, and time-consuming processes and also provides digital access to all of the country’s e-services. Virtually all bureaucratic processes can be done online. The country is saving over 1400 years of working time and 2% of GDP annually through its digitized public services.
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