A Brazilian finds business freedom in Estonia

OriginalMy CEO Edilson Osorio on starting over with e-Residency

E-Residency helps Brazilian entrepreneur do business in Europe
Photo courtesy of Edilson Osorio

“I’ve always liked buttons,” says Edilson Osorio, CEO of OriginalMy Blockchain and an Estonian e-resident since 2018. “When I was a child, my parents would leave me in the computer section of the shopping mall,” he says. “While they were busy buying things I was learning how to program in BASIC.”

Osorio — full name Edilson Osorio Junior — hails from São Paulo, Brazil, South America’s largest city with a population of over 12 million. His childhood interest in computers and programming led him to study computer science and then branch out into the information security field, where he has worked for the past two plus decades. 

In 2015, he founded OriginalMy, a regulatory technology company that provides decentralized authenticity, and relies on blockchain technology for notarizing and signing documents. While Osorio’s innovative mindset and novel offering quickly assured him a reputation for being in the know about all things digital in Brazil, it also drew the ire of some established traditional institutions in the country, like notaries, for whom a secure digital identity platform could mean a significant loss in revenue.

“They were worried about people changing their mindset and discovering that they were obsolete,” said Osorio. “Corruption and bureaucracy is a very good revenue source for some in Brazil, and when you come up with something that brings transparency, is easier to use, cheaper, they see that as a threat to their business model. I had no other option other than to move.”

Estonia on top

But where to go? Though Osorio was in a rush to get out of Brazil, he did his homework. 

“I was very pragmatic,” says Osorio. “We made a matrix with the regulatory environment, costs, taxes, and the future strategy for OriginalMy,” he says. Countries in consideration included Estonia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, and Portugal.” This last country would have made some sense, considering the common language, but Osorio says a move to Portugal wouldn’t have helped. “In Portugal, the amount of bureaucracy is the same,” he says. “The south of Europe has massive bureaucracy,” he adds. “Everything is harder there.”

After some assessment, Estonia topped the list, and in February 2018, Osorio visited Estonia en route to visiting a South Korean client, where he picked up his e-Residency kit and thus became a member of Estonia’s growing digital nation of e-residents. Osorio knew of the program because of his work in digital identity. “In 2016, I started to write a protocol for digital identity and so was aware of Estonia and its digital services,” he says.

His experience with e-Residency has been positive.

“Everything is easy with e-Residency,” says Osorio. “You can sign documents and contracts and it serves as your identity outside of your home country”.

This ability to quickly set up his company in Estonia solved the issues he was facing in Brazil. In 2018, Osorio relocated to Tallinn, and after two years his wife joined him.

A good place to be

By relocating to Estonia, Osorio has found himself in a hub of e-governance and digital identity companies. The roster is lengthy: Levercode, Guardtime, and Cybernetica to name a few, many of which also work hand in hand with the government. “Estonia probably has the best cybersecurity in Europe,” acknowledges Osorio. “They have to deal with cyber threats from Russia, and they understand certification, authentication, and how to protect systems,” he says.

Being a part of such a community was also a factor when Osorio decided to move OriginalMy to Estonia:

“This is a place where e-governance is very evolved, and where I can learn and apply that knowledge to improve my products.”

At the moment, companies and lawyers are OriginalMy’s main users, but Osorio would like to branch out and help governments in Europe make the transition to digital identity. “The next step is to be a trusted service provider and to be able to issue digital identities, so that we can help them transition from legacy systems to new technologies,” he says.

Learn more about Osorio’s business at the OriginalMy website.

And as for the future, there are no plans for a return to Brazil. “Who knows what will happen tomorrow,” says Osorio. “But right now, living in Brazil is not in my plans.” Besides, Osorio finds Estonia’s cooler climate more suitable for innovation.

“I’ve always worked better in the winter,” he says. “I prefer the cold to the hot weather. The Estonian winters have never been a problem for me.”

Sick of bureaucracy in your home country? Learn how to cut red tape and minimise paperwork by starting your company in Estonia with e-Residency.

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