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A lot of people are under the false impression that digital signature technology is some new, untested fad. The truth is that digital signatures have been around for decades, and they're gaining popularity in the mainstream.

Here are some of the milestones in the history of digital signature technology: 

  • 1976: Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman first described the idea of a digital signature scheme, but they only theorized that such schemes existed
  • 1977: Ronald Rivest, Adi Shamir and Len Adleman invented the RSA algorithm, which could be used to produce a kind of primitive digital signature
  • 1988: Lotus Notes 1.0, which used the RSA algorithm, became the first widely marketed software package to offer digital signatures
  • 1999: The ability to embed digital signatures into documents is added to PDF format
  • 2000: The ESIGN Act makes digital signatures legally binding
  • 2002: SIGNiX is founded and becomes the most broadly used cloud-based digital signature software
  • 2008: The PDF file format becomes an open standard to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as ISO 32000. Includes digital signatures as integral part of format.

Today, digital signatures are well established as the most trusted way to get documents signed online. Unlike the original digital signature technology, today’s digital signatures are easy to use and can be created using any computer with an Internet connection. To find out how much you could be saving by switching to digital signatures, download our free ROI worksheet

The History of Digital Signatures


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