Estonia is everybody’s country (but eventually no promised land for ICO)
By Jean-Christophe Despres - Sunny Lake president and co-founder
It’s somehow awkward to admit that, even though you want so set up an ICO, you’re just a regular entrepreneur valuing stability. As Almost every week comes with new warnings from national government regulators, it’s more than likely that one of your biggest choices will be about which country you’ll end up launching your operation (as well as finding the right lawyer…).
Anyhow, you must also think about your actual business, your image and the level of trust you need to provide to your ecosystem.
I’ve subscribed to Estonian’s e-residency program almost two years ago, mostly for the beauty of the idea of this borderless residency. Knowing what Estonian government is doing about e-administration, it hasn’t been much of a surprise to hear about their ICO project, Estcoin. What Mario Draghi, the President of the European Central Bank, took for a cryptocurrency was in fact a project to set up an investment hub in Estonia. Quite simply, e-residents are entitled to set up a skype meeting with a dedicated consultant in order to learn more about economic opportunities in Estonia.
This is what I did. It wasn’t obviously a legal consultancy about ICO’s in Estonia. As a matter of fact, they didn’t even vote a dedicated regulation for it. The consultant nevertheless claimed that his government intended to be the friendliest country for ICO’s. It still remains to be concrete and everyone should be aware that, with a 20% tax on profits, Estonia is no tax heaven.
As we run an already existing business, in a highly regulated environment (health), we can’t really locate our headquarters in a P.O box. For that reason, among others, it seems to make sense to consider the estonian option. People from e-residency program are offering to set ip meetings with local suppliers/partners which I think is nice.
Obviously, there will be a lot of more criterias to consider when time to decide comes. But, it’s quite impressive to receive this friendly feedback.
I ended up having a Skype conference call with a very knowledgeable local lawyer. I was pretty impressed by his being straightforward and his ability to provide concrete answers. Anyhow, Estonia is neither a tax heaven nor a regulation free land. When it comes to an ICO, since there’s no specific regulation, it’s about the same mindgame as everywhere else. The option would be to stick to crowdfunding rules which are pretty flexible there. Interesting but don’t fit any business especially ours. Apparently, it’d could const €60K and up to get through incorporation and lawyers fees. As said before, there are other criterias and a country with only 1.3M people ruled in a very pro-business way then proactive and accessible administration has definetly some assets. Anyway, it seems to be necessary to spend time on a proper benchmark.