Electronic signatures have been transforming the way we do business for over two decades. While they may be taken for granted today, there was a time when they lacked legal recognition as a valid form of signature. However, the landscape changed on June 30, 2000, when the ESIGN Act was signed into law, granting electronic signatures the same legal status as traditional ones. Since then, eSignatures have become an integral part of modern business, saving companies time and money while making the process of signing documents easier. In this blog, we’ll talk about the role of eSignatures in modern business transactions and explore the visual history of signature from its inception to this day.
The integral role of electronic signatures in modern business
Electronic signatures, commonly known as eSignatures, provide a secure and legally binding method of signing contracts, agreements, or other important documents. Their applicability spans across diverse industries, including real estate, finance, healthcare, and government. The ESIGN Act made eSignatures legally valid for nearly every type of transaction in the United States. However, it’s crucial to note that not all countries have implemented similar laws, necessitating research to ensure the legal recognition of electronic signatures when dealing with international entities.
In addition to granting legal validity, the ESIGN Act established crucial guidelines for utilizing electronic records and signatures. It mandates that both parties involved agree to the use of electronic signatures and possess the necessary hardware and software capabilities to execute them. Furthermore, the Act ensures that electronic signatures cannot be denied legal validity solely because they are in electronic form. This facilitation has significantly aided businesses in adopting eSignatures, expediting processes like contract approvals and document signing.
One of the most notable advantages of eSignatures lies in enhanced document security. While traditional signatures are susceptible to forgery and replication, eSignatures employ advanced encryption technologies that fortify the integrity of the signature and the associated document, preventing tampering. This becomes particularly vital when handling sensitive or confidential information.
For businesses and individuals seeking to implement electronic signatures, numerous options are available. Many online document signing platforms offer eSignature functionalities, including popular eSignature alternatives such as signNow, DocuSign, AdobeSign, and others. These platforms provide a wide array of features, including document tracking, multi-party signing, and enterprise-level security. They also offer the convenience of cloud storage, enabling access to documents from any location at any time.
Tracing the timeline: A visual expedition through the history of signature
Electronic signatures have revolutionized the way we conduct business for over two decades, bringing convenience, efficiency, and enhanced security to document signing. To commemorate National ESIGN Day, we invite you to explore our infographic, which takes you on a visual journey through the captivating history of signature.
From their humble beginnings to their current widespread adoption, this infographic highlights key milestones, legal developments, and the transformative impact of eSignatures on various industries. Join us in celebrating the ESIGN Act and the remarkable progress it has spurred, shaping the future of business transactions worldwide.
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Originally published June 2020, updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in June 2023