You, Too, Can Get Married on the Blockchain

As an e-resident of Estonia, you can now have your nuptials notarized on the tech that supports bitcoin, just like this couple

Credit: Rodrigo Bessa/flickr

Stunt weddings have always struck me as a funny kind of paradox. A couple takes one of society’s most entrenched traditions, makes some cosmetic changes to it, and uses it to show the world how totally out there and forward thinking they are. It’s like writing a revolutionary pamphlet in iambic pentameter.

But I’ve got a sweet spot in my heart for Edurne and Mayel. On December 1, as part of Estonia’s ever expanding e-residency program, this couple will seal their union not before a priest or a judge, but on the almighty blockchain, a distributed global computing and data storage technology.

As with every marriage, there are a lot of agendas here. With this event, Estonia will be broadening the buffet of services provided by its e-residency status, which was first devised in 2014 to grant non-residents with virtual citizenship in the country. Up to this point, an e-resident of Estonia could found corporations and gain access to national online banking systems. As of tomorrow, the e-residency program will also provide nationally recognized notary services, including marriage licensing. In order to do so, they turned to BitNation, an organization that provides tools for creating governance services over the Bitcoin blockchain.

For BitNation, the goal is more grandiose. Founded by Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof, the group advocates borderless governance and has established itself as the first virtual nation. In order to legitimize that claim, it has been building a set of tools and services that together may one day allow people to replace their national identity with their blockchain identity. Such a feat can only be achieved if other geographically defined nations recognize the blockchain as a secure and legitimate repository for governmental records. This wedding, and Estonia’s participation in the event, could be the first step.

But December 1, 2015, is Edurne and Mayel’s day. And they seem closely aligned with the BitNation agenda. The couple describe themselves as “glomads,” who through constant travel and exploration have ceased to align themselves with any one country or set of laws. They’ve written their own marriage contract, which will only cover a 42-month period and which will remain open to alterations. Such a flexible agreement is without precedent within traditional legal strictures and so they have decided to create a jurisdiction of their own, one that matches the expectations that they share as a couple.

The wedding is at 3pm GMT and every world citizen is invited. I’ll be there (with a date, of course — my editor). We’ll be live-reporting the festivities in the responses, below, and we encourage you to join in. Later in the week I’ll be back to report on what this means for the blockchain and for the future of governance.

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