Nasdaq (Nasdaq:NDAQ) and the Republic of Estonia have announced that Estonia's e-Residency platform will be facilitating a blockchain-based e-voting service to allow shareholders of companies listed on Nasdaq's Tallinn Stock Exchange, Estonia's only regulated securities market, to vote in shareholder meetings. The country's e-Residency platform is an electronic identity system used by both Estonian residents and those with business interests in the country to access government services through e-Residency digital authentication. The program marks the second official blockchain project Nasdaq is executing on after successfully delivering the first private securities issuance between an investor and company via Nasdaq Linq, its blockchain-enabled platform.
As part of the program's pilot, shareholders who are Estonian or Estonian e-residents will be able to participate in the corporate governance of companies more conveniently and securely than ever before. The e-Residency platform vastly improves the ability to authenticate shareholders for the e-voting service, while blockchain technology will allow votes to be quickly and securely recorded, streamlining a proxy voting process that has historically been labor-intensive and fragmented. The pilot is aimed to launch in 2016.
"I'm delighted Nasdaq will be using the e-Residency platform to offer shareholders a new e-voting system," said Kaspar Korjus, Program Director, e-Residency. "When we started the e-Residency project a year ago we knew we would change the way people think about nations and citizenship. Now, via our e-voting collaboration with Nasdaq, we will be revolutionizing corporate governance."
Making it easier and safer for shareholders to participate in company meetings and votes is not just a matter of convenience or security; these interactions are the primary ways that a company's shareholders interact with corporate management and shape the future of the company they own. By making e-voting more efficient and secure, the blockchain-based system has the potential to empower shareholders and improve their engagement.
"On the heels of the successful execution of a Blockchain transaction in the US private market, we are pleased to further advance this technology in Estonia," said Hans-Ole Jochumsen, President, Nasdaq. "Estonia's robust information society and forward thinking coupled with the agility its size affords, creates a unique opportunity to premiere the e-voting pilot in Estonia. We're excited to see the development of this project over the coming months, and look forward to working closely with the government of Estonia to set a transformative example of the future of governance."
The Estonian e-Residency program allows anyone in the world to become a digital resident of Estonia. Not only can Estonian e-residents easily found and manage Estonian companies online, they can also digitally authenticate themselves. Applicants for e-Residency are fingerprinted and background checked by the Estonian state. Once approved, they are issued an electronic ID card which, in combination with a 4-digit pin, can be used for secure digital identification.
Estonia, an EU member state, is the first country to offer e-Residency - a transnational digital identity available to everyone in the world. Through its e-Residency program, Estonia is building a borderless digital society and unleashing the world's entrepreneurial potential. After becoming an e-resident entrepreneurs and freelancers can open and run location independent businesses online, apply for a bank account* and conduct e-banking, get access to international payment service providers, declare taxes, sign all relevant documents and contracts remotely, and get easier access to EU markets. This means a Singaporean entrepreneur can, for example, run a company from the Philippines while serving clients in Germany. The same e-Residency platform allows financial and web service providers, start-ups and developers to avoid country specific solutions and have quick access to international markets by letting clients from anywhere in the world use their services via the clients' secure and government-verified digital identities. E-residency does not give citizenship or tax residency and does not confer the right to live in or visit Estonia or the European Union. *E-Residency does not guarantee a bank account, account opening is at the sole discretion of the banks.