On December 14, 2017, the government of Estonia announced plans to launch a program focused on the integration of cryptocurrencies into its economic system.
Estonia hopes to raise 30 million euros through the "TokenEST ICO," which is slated for January 2018.
The country is partnering with Ethereum-based recruitment company Chronobank to help facilitate the crowdfunding in 2018. This collaboration raises questions: Why wouldn't Estonia use state-issued funds to raise capital for its program? Why would it choose to crowdfund from the public?
It also brings to light questions regarding how Estonia intends to skirt previously-issued statements from ECB president Mario Draghi, who directly addressed Estonia's August 2017 bid to issue a state-sponsored currency; at the time, Draghi said, "No member state can introduce its own currency. The currency of the eurozone is the euro."
As part of the program, two organizations will be formed: the non-profit TokenEST SA, and a commercial entity, named TokenEST OU. According to the announcement, TokenEST OU will manage agency operations, while TokenEST SA will plan strategies to implement guidelines for government policies. Below is a breakdown of the program's goals:
- Promotion of Estonia jurisdiction at international exhibitions and in press;
- Consulting of ICO start-ups;
- Assistance with launching start-ups on the TokenEST platform;
- Provision of technical solutions and services;
- Promotion of education aimed at the development of Estonia;
- Launch and operate the exchange to facilitate the liquidity of crypto assets;
- Funding of the projects, which successfully passed Due Diligence.
Among those involved in the project is Chronobank CEO Sergey Sergienko, who joins TokenEST OU's board of directors. Sergienko expressed the Chronobank team's excitement and added:
"Our mission is to empower the laborers to take control of their earnings and to be able to sell their work hours in the most efficient manner. We are thrilled that the government of Estonia shares the same philosophy when it comes to monetizing labor relations by using blockchain."
As it seeks to expand financial resources, Estonia is positioning itself to take full advantage of the expanding cryptocurrency market, which has grown to be worth 25 times the country's GDP. Estonia has been a pioneer in e-governance, and more recently participated at the forefront of cooperative initiatives alongside Latvia and Lithuania. However, it remains to be seen how its latest foray into crowdfunding will be received by ECB regulators.