TALLINN - The first company founded with the use of the Smart-ID authentication service was registered in Estonia on Tuesday, until now, the electronic establishment of a company was only possible by using an ID-card or Mobile-ID.
Founding a company is now possible for Smart-ID users in the self-service portal of Unicount, which is linked to the Commercial Register with the help of a dedicated application programming interface (API). The Smart-ID account needs to be registered on or after Nov. 8, 2018 to be used for company creation through Unicount as this was the date when new Smart-ID accounts gained Qualified Electronic Signature (QES) status equal to Estonian Mobile-ID and ID-card.
The Estonian Center of Registers and Information Systems, the state agency that operates the Estonian Commercial Register, launched company registration API at the beginning of 2017. It was made to be used by service providers who assist Estonian e-residents with online company formation.
"We developed this API to give service providers an opportunity to develop a better user experience by combining public and private services. Today, we see that around 7 percent of companies are registered via API, which is about the same amount that comes from notaries. Today’s news about Smart-ID shows us that we can move faster in cooperation with the private sector," Ingmar Vali, head of the court registers department at the Center of Registers and Information Systems, said.
"We need to provide great user experience for smartphone and tablet users, too. This means that the ID-card cannot be the signature tool. We had to act knowing that Smart-ID already has twice the number of users compared to Mobile-ID accounts in Estonia. Now, every Estonian resident or e-resident can use any smart device to register a company online," Ivar Veskioja, a member of the board of Unicount, said.
Veskioja stated that registering an Estonian limited company in their self-service portal can potentially be done in three minutes.
Liisa Lukin, head of business development at SK ID Solutions, said that many public services can already be used with Smart-ID, but not company registration. "So, this is good news for everyone using Smart-ID, but most of all our e-residents, who cannot get a Mobile-ID account. It is a good example of private and public sector cooperation in opening up government services to new users," she added.
Unicount started serving e-residents in the fall of 2019, enabling easy Estonian company formation for one-person businesses through a self-service online portal. As of March 9, 2020, this service is accessible to anyone with Estonian personal identification code and capable of signing with Smart-ID, ID-card or Mobile-ID.
SK ID Solutions is the partner of the Estonian state in issuing certificates for national identity documents. The company introduced Smart-ID in the Baltic states in 2017. The first 18 months saw a million Smart-ID user accounts registered, three years later, they have over 2.6 million users carrying out over 50 million transactions every month in more than 200 e-services.