Signatures are an incredibly important part of our daily lives. After all, we sign our names to receive loans, buy homes, and open credit card accounts. There’s no doubt that the way we sign important documents has changed over the course of history, but have you ever sat down to think about how far we’ve come? From the first known civilization to the Middle Ages, signatures have always carried an enormous amount of weight.
The First Signatures
The first recorded signature occurred in the 30th century BCE by a scribe named Gar.Ama. During this time, pens and paper had not been established yet in Ancient Mesopotamia, so contracts were authenticated via cylinder seals, which are small, tube shaped stamps with intricate designs. Many merchants carried their seals on a string, similar to how a person would carry a pen today.
I’ll Remember That Tomorrow
In the 13th century, informal negotiations often ended in a lot of pain. For example, signers would physically hurt one another; in theory, this would prevent either party from forgetting what was arranged. Imagine keeping track of your customers this way!
Sign Here, Please
Due to literacy rates and fraud increasing rapidly, English Parliament passed the Statute of Frauds in 1677. This act required contracts to be in writing if they were to be considered legal. It was a crucial step to pave the way for the written signature.
Turn of the Century
In the 1980s, the fax machine became widely available for both office and home use. More and more people were transferring signed documents from one entity to the next, faster than ever before. But if history has taught us anything, it is that we’re always evolving toward modernity and efficiency.
In 1989, Lotus Notes 1.0 became the first computer software program to include encrypted, digital signatures. However, this achievement raised the question about the legality of this form of authentication.
The Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (UETA) brought that debate to an end. UETA is a state law that weighed electronic and wet signatures the same. From 1999 to 2009, UETA was passed in 47 states. To facilitate transactions even further, former United States President, Bill Clinton, signed the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign Act) in 2000, thus recognizing the validity of electronic signatures—locally and globally.
In approximately 5,000 years, signatures have evolved immensely. Every single moment of innovation throughout history has influenced how we engage with signatures today, and ultimately inspired our team to develop a digital signature process called SecureSign.
With a click of a button, you and your customers can make wet signatures a thing of the past. Eliminate the need for time-consuming closing appointments and let your customers sign important documents from the convenience of their home. SecureSign complies with the standards set by the E-Sign Act, such as requiring consent for a digital signature, informing all signers that their signature is legally binding, access to documentation, and easy-to-read records with clear time-stamps. Additionally, two-factor authentication is necessary before signatures are captured and encrypted.
Who would have thought that by checking a box from the comfort of your own home you would be able to authenticate a contract? At MK Decision, we’re testing the limits of what we can do with our technology so you can give your customers a modern and secure way of signing their documents.Digitize Your Signature Process