Interesting technological events are happening in Estonia right now. Ever since the country started their E-Estonia citizenship program, a lot of interested parties have been keeping a close eye on the proceedings. Just last week, E-Estonia announced blockchain-based notary services thanks to a partnership with BITNATION. But that is not all, as the Estonian government is asked to shed some light on their Bitcoin stance in the near future.
Is Bitcoin Legal in Estonia?
That is the main question of concern for the Estonian Supreme Court, as they want to hear the opinion of the country’s civil ministries, top financial regulator and central bank regarding this matter. Bitcoin is in a grey area in nearly every country in the world and its legality has been a question mark for several years now.
Estonia’s Supreme Court is pondering over this question regarding potential money laundering schemes involving the popular digital currency. But there is also the underlying blockchain technology to take into account, which can have serious ramifications on the current Estonian financial infrastructure and system.
An official response is expected by January 11th, which will be an important date to mark on the calendar for Bitcoin enthusiasts around the world. Estonia has a bit of an odd history with Bitcoin so far, as the country’s Bitcoin trading platform BTC.ee was shut down temporarily in early 2014 by local law enforcement.
As you may have guessed the Estonian law enforcement wanted the BTC.ee owner to hand over customer details, as well as indicate his compliance with the local laws regarding the exchange business. Whether or not anything else happened later on, is unknown at this point. Local authorities refute the allegations about BTC.ee or its owner.
Most countries around the world are keeping a close eye on Bitcoin’s technology, yet they all want to distance themselves from the blockchain for the time being. Trusting a technology that is not created by the state itself is difficult, especially when taking into account how the original creator(s) remain(s) a mystery after nearly seven years.
One thing to keep in mind is how this case may eventually end up at the European Court of Justice. That would not be a bad thing per sé, as this institution determined the Bitcoin ruling in Sweden last year. In fact, that ruling turned out quite favorable, as Bitcoin trades were deemed exempt from VAT in Sweden.
E-Estonia Experiments With Blockchain Technology
While the local government and financial regulator are looking into the Bitcoin matter, blockchain technology has become a part of living in Estonia already. E-Estonia, a service offering virtual residency in the country of Estonia for anyone in the world, recently partnered with BITNATION to offer blockchain-based notary services.
It is important to note that, even though this notary service will create tamper-proof timestamped logs of events – such as the birth of a child, this notary service is not officially recognized anywhere in the world. As such, any of the logs created will not be usable in a court of law or anywhere else, other than on the blockchain itself.
Images courtesy of BITNATION, Estonia, Shutterstock