Equity Crowdfunding Going Fully Digital in Estonia

Equity crowdfunding platform Fundwise said it will launch the first service to offer crowdfunding investors ID-card based secure authentication and digital signing in early 2016, using Estonia’s ID card system.

Despite the growing popularity of equity crowdfunding platforms at least until now, investing in startup equity has so far involved actual paperwork and physical signatures.

Fundwise, which was launched earlier this year, is the first equity crowdfunding service in the Baltic countries.

Estonia has been the frontrunner globally in opening its national ID card system to foreigners. The platform can be used for secure identification of users online. So far more than 6,000 people from abroad have received Estonian ID cards.

“The next big step for e-Residency programme is to add new services for e-residents,” said Kaspar Korjus, Estonia’s e-Residency programme director.

The offering has been popular among technology afficionados and it has been covered widely in major technology media, but so far e-residents of Estonia have struggled to find much use for their unique cards.

"e-Residency enables secure and convenient digital services that facilitate credibility and trust online and we are excited to work with such an innovative project ,” said Henri Laupmaa, Fundwise's CEO.

Digital signatures and authentication are legally equivalent to handwritten signatures and face-to-face identification in Estonia and between partners upon agreement anywhere around the world.

“The Estonian government issued digital identity card can solve a number of problems for Crowdfunding and Alternative Finance platforms, such as KYC-regulations, cross-border investments and e-voting for shareholders in Equity crowdfunding projects,” said Ronald Kleverlaan, co-founder of the European Crowdfunding Network and founder of the CrowdfundingHub.

Photo: Guy Kawasaki, former Apple evangelist, received e-Residency card last month from Kaspar Korjus. Courtesy: e-Residency programme