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Evolution of Electronic Signature: How It All Began

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UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce, published by United Nations in 1996, was one of the most influential pieces of legislation that triggered the wave of development of electronic signature laws around the world including the United States. Most countries based their electronic signature laws on the UN model code. It was for the first time that UN model code equated an electronic signature to manuscript signature and evolved all the functional dynamics for equivalence towards cross-border trade enablement. We grew from telegram to fax machines to email to e-signatures now.

Enforceability of Electronic Signature

We evolved from Telegram as an electronic communication even though it did not explicitly have the instructor’s signature. However, a telegram was accepted as enforceable communication. We then moved to send manually signed documents through fax to recipients. Even though the original document was signed manually, only the signature image got transmitted through fax machines and such fax was accepted as an enforceable document. When we changed over from signing charge slips manually to entering a PIN in credit card swipe machines, the entry of PIN was taken equivalent to signing manual charge slips. In electronic banking, entering OTP and authorizing a payment electronically is equated with signing a cheque to authorize payment to the payee.

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Further, several banking mobile apps allow authorizing using facial recognition which is taken as equivalent to a physical manuscript signature. Thus, electronic authentication has evolved into many forms and by default, all of the above methods have become enforceable methods of electronically signing and authorizing. Like how manual frauds existed through forgery of signatures, electronic scams also exist through various sophisticated methods. However, electronic signature has provided more traceability and authenticity than a manuscript signature.

The evolution of Electronic Signature

While the evolution of the Electronic Signature is itself a fascinating journey, we wanted to chronicle its journey and understand how it played a significant role in enabling Business to Business transactions. Today e-contracts are executed on the fly and trade propels with the help of electronic signature. The proliferation of e-commerce could not have taken place but for electronic signature enablement and being accepted as authentic by both the supplier and customer. With digital transformation being the core agenda of many business organizations, electronic signature plays a pivotal role in enabling digital business transformation. As digital identity and authentication solutions have expanded the online commerce business and that consumers have become accustomed to them, they have the potential to provide a better customer experience and create brand loyalty. It is time to adopt e-signature as the norm in your business to reap the above benefits.

electronic signature

Conclusion

The evolution of electronic signatures is a tale of online commerce and cross-border commerce enablement. But for electronic signature being accepted as a safe medium equivalent to the manuscript signature, global trade could not have grown this far. CryptoESIGN is built with all ingredients to enable online commerce, be it domestic or international, and has more utility features that can not only have the e-signature of the signer but also create a positive and pleasant signing experience. It is time for businesses to adopt electronic signature as their primary way of signing without any further loss of time to provide a better customer experience.

Written by
(Ragu)nathan Kannan

raguk@sathguru.com

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