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A Brief History of Electronic Signatures


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This year, June 30th marks the 15th anniversary of The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, a piece of legislation passed to facilitate the use of electronic records and signatures in domestic and foreign commerce.

This infographic gives a brief history of electronic signatures, which have (technically) been used since the mid 1800's!

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A Brief History of Electronic Signatures

  1. 1. eSigning 101: What, Why, When & How • 6 A QUICK HISTORY OF eSIGNATURES Some may think that eSignatures burst into the business world following the passing of ESIGN. But really, the history of eSignatures goes back much farther. Below is a high-level history of eSignatures, as well as groundbreaking laws and mandates that helped accelerate adoption: Mid-1800s Government officials and businesses use Morse code and the telegraph to electronically accept agreements. 1980s Fax machines are the most popular devices to electronically send contracts and other important documents between people and businesses. 1999 The National Conference of Commissioners develops the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA). UETA provides a legal framework for the use of eSignatures and records in government and business transactions. 2000 The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) is signed into federal law. The law states that a document or signature cannot be denied legal effect or enforceability because it is in electronic form. 2007 Apple releases the iPhone, which becomes one of the world’s most popular mobile devices. Widespread adoption of touchscreen devices is increasing demand for allowing eSigning on the go. 2010 Mobile app and payment company Square launches, empowering consumers to sign for products and services directly on mobile screens. eSigning 101: What, Why, When & How • 6