Liina Suvi Ristoja, a spokeswoman for the e-residency team, told ERR.ee, an Estonian news website, on May 27 that the number of e-residents in Estonia is likely to surpass 100,000 this year.
At the end of 2014, Estonia became the first nation to start an e-residency program. In the seven and a half years since, Estonia has attracted more than 92 thousand e-residents in different niches, including AdTech, MarTech, digital PR company, FinTech, and many more.
The community of e-residents will soon be the second largest city in Estonia, according to Ristoja, who stated that this number is likely to reach six figures this year.
ERR.ee claimed that e-Residency enables foreigners, regardless of their citizenship, place of residence, or nationality, to apply for a digital ID and access Estonian public and private e-services. However, ERR.ee stated that more from its potential candidates may be required.
Even though Estonian e-residency is mostly a service platform, many e-residents feel a transnational and values-based connection to the Estonian state, according to interviews with e-residents from all over the world done by Estonian social scientists.
Piia Tammpuu, who participated in a research project headed by Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech), says that “How an e-resident views his or her relationship with the Estonian state, or how this relationship may change in the future, is a personal matter,” While some e-residents view the e-state digital platform as any other market-driven platform, where the most important factor is the convenience of access to services, others think more generally about this connection and are interested in the values and concepts that underpin e-residency.
As e-residents communicate with the Estonian government via a specialized digital service platform, the researchers’ work was founded on the notion of platformisation. “Platformisation can be regarded as an increase in the influence (power) of digital platforms,” Piia Tammpuu explained. In other words, the architecture of digital platforms, their data-driven business models, governance frameworks, and operating logistics have a growing impact on various economic sectors and spheres of life.
According to Tammpuu, e-residency is a digital platform created by the Estonian government that connects service providers with e-residents as consumers of these services. “Therefore, we were interested in how the concept of platformisation might be understood and conceived of, i.e., how e-residents interpret this digital service ‘platform’ and, by extension, their relationship with the Estonian state as the developer and owner of this platform,” she explained.