Digital ID potential shown by Estonia’s €41M windfall, U.S. analyst predicts billions in potential savings from adoption

Digital ID potential shown by Estonia’s €41M windfall, U.S. analyst predicts billions in potential savings from adoption

The e-residency program built into Estonia’s digital ID system has earned the country €31 million (approximately US$35 million) in direct tax revenue, plus another €10 million ($11.3 million) in fees since it was launched at the end of 2014. The figure is claimed by the government and reported by Estonian World.

The program’s focus has now shifted from attracting e-residents to encouraging them to establish successful businesses in different sectors to increase tax revenues. The tax base from e-residency now totals over €1.3 million ($1.5 million) per month, according to the program’s director. Companies started by e-residents also employ over 1,800 people in the country.

A poll of Estonians shows support for the program, in recognition of its benefits to local tax revenues and jobs, as well as the online services developed for the program that other Estonians may benefit from.

There are 60,000 e-residents of Estonia, according to the report.

While the total may not seem impressive to some at first glance it is worth keeping in mind that Estonia’s physical population is just over 1.3 million people.

If digital credentialing is widely adopted, it could mean $437.6 billion in annual economic benefits worldwide during economic recovery from the affects of COVID-19, according to a report from economic research firm Laffer Associates.

The hiring process take an average of 42 days and cost over $4,000 per position prior to the pandemic, according to the report. Laffer notes that the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board (AWPAB) included a call for a “digital open skills system for American workers and students” in its guidance on economic recovery.

The firm’s founder is Dr. Arthur B. Laffer, an advisor to Presidents Reagan and Trump.

The pandemic is also making digital ID adoption tougher, however, as Taiwan News reports that the delay in production of its eID card will push its launch into the first half of 2021.

2020 Digital Identity Award launched

Digital ID industry platform and association IDnext has launched the 2020 edition of its Digital Identity Award to recognize and support innovations in the field.

A panel of experts and professionals will judge submissions on how innovative they are, how successful they are and how impactful they are expected to be, whether privacy is increased or sufficiently considered, and the delivery of value to the end-user.

Nominations must be received by the Innovation Identity award committee by September 1, 2020. IDnext will also hold an event to showcase the top entries and bring together stakeholders from among industry, government, innovators and pioneering end-users.

In 2019, the award was won by iovation, which is now part of TransUnion.

New Chinese distributed ID group

The Distributed Digital Identity Industry Alliance (DID Alliance or DIDA) has been founded by 15 organizations based in China.

The alliance is led by China Banknote Blockchain Technology Research Institute and Feitian, and also includes Baidu, Tencent Cloud, WeBank, JD.com and UnionPay Electronic Payment Research Institute.

The DIDA says blockchain is the foundation of trust in digital identity open collaboration, and says digital identity is the technology’s most important application, per Google translation of a Daily Economic News article. The group will research DID applications, build China’s DID network, and engage with the international decentralized identity community to promote the concept.

The group also released a white paper on decentralized digital identity at the launch meeting.

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