- January 4, 2022
- Karolin Koestler, Senior Marketing Manager EMEA
The Beginning of Signature Use
The history of electronic signatures goes back several centuries. The first known written signatures were created by the Sumerians and Egyptians. They were used to communicate ideas and information.
Here are 3 interesting facts about the History of electronic signatures:
- First, the earliest known written signatures date from 3000 BC and are on a clay tablet in Japan.
- Second, the writings are dated back to the time when the scribe Gar Ama was living. The use of a handwritten sign in the past has been controversial.
- Third, the first electronic signatures were created in the Wild West.
Today, the use of electronic signatures is common, and the legal definition is evolving. This technology is increasingly used in businesses and organizations to sign contracts, but the need for a legal definition of an electronic signature is still largely unknown.
The United States is a pioneer in the field, with the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act of 1999 setting the standards for electronic signatures.
How did the concept come about?
The concept of a substitute signature dates to the 1800s. Telegraphed messages and signed autographs were common. By the twentieth century, telegraphed messages took over the place of a handwritten signature.
However, by the twentieth century, the use of electronic signatures was legal. The ESIGN act was passed by President Bill Clinton and recognized the technology as legitimate.
By law, e-signature laws were made clearer.
While electronic signatures have only been recognized in the US since the mid-1990s, it was already very popular way before that. The technology became widely available and legal in the US in 2000.
It was not until Lotus Notes 1.0 came on the market that the US Congress adopted the first laws governing the use of electronic signatures in commerce. And now, electronic signatures are as common as paper-based signatures.
This means that the future of digital transactions will make traditional signatures obsolete.
How has electronic signatures change businesses?
Electronic signatures have changed the face of business. The Patriot Act extension was signed with an autopen.
The legislation now requires electronic documents to be signed electronically. In addition, a paper-based contract may be a more secure option than an email. Although the government has made it easier to implement electronic documents, the history of electronic signatures is quite interesting.
For example, the technology has evolved from an autopen to a computerized document.
Until the present, electronic signatures have been used to create legal documents. In the past, the signature was the only way to establish a binding contract.
In the 1670s, the State of Frauds Act mandated that all contracts must be signed. It was a good measure against fraud. It still has.
But the technology of electronic signatures has come a long way. Its development and use have transformed commerce.
Electronic signatures are a quick, easy, and secure way to sign documents. They are legally binding in most countries and are recognized by major organizations such as the European Union, the United Nations, and the International Chamber of Commerce.
In addition, electronic signatures can be easily verified and authenticated, making them perfect for use in sensitive contracts and transactions.
Foxit offers a free electronic signature software that is simple to use and compatible with all major document formats.