Confidence in identity and security is paramount for regulatory and consumer satisfaction. One way to improve digital security is with eSignatures. Current news trends show that eSignatures will become increasingly important in cryptocurrency as well as for digital banking and smart contracts.
There is much action in the eSignature field. With continued global regulatory attention, the cryptocurrency sector is increasing identity security with the blockchain industry’s first partnership between a token platform and a KYC company. The security token issuance platform called Polymath has partnered with IdentityMind for KYC and AML.
In more eSignatures news, DocuFirst partnered with GlobalSign last month (23rd January) to deliver trusted digital signatures to customers. Also in January, Cryptomathic, an eSignature solution provider from Denmark, received certification for eIDAS compliant Qualified Signature Creation Devices (QSCDs).
The regulatory environment
A major part of identity and security development is eSignatures. In the EU, eSignatures and digital identity is governed by the eIDAS. The directive came into effect on 1st July 2016. It regulates signatures, electronic identification, delivery, archive services and website authentication. Replacing a 1999 Directive, there is still little to no European case law on eSignatures because the 1999 Directive was rarely disputed.
The eIDAS ‘allows for the adoption and standardization of best practices in digital identification and signatures,’ said David Birch, a digital finance commentator, at the 2017 ISSE Conference in Brussels.
The eIDAS defines the same three categories of e-signatures as did the Directive. They are: Electronic signatures, Advanced electronic signatures (AES) and Qualified electronic signatures (QES). Specifically, the eIDAS is technology-neutral.
What constitutes a legal eSignature?
There are two requirements for an electronic signature: 1) that the eSignature is attached to, or logically associated with, the signed document, and 2) that the signer intended to use the electronic signature to sign – that is, identify him or herself and indicate acceptance, approval or merely notice of the contents of the document.
This simple e-signature can be a typed name or PDF copy of a handwritten signature. It is easy to forge. On the other hand, an AES is much more difficult to forge and more tightly associated to the signed document. An AES is under the sole control of the signer. A QES, by Article 25 eIDAS, is equivalent to a handwritten signature.
Read more about the eIDAS here.
By Grace Appleford, Research Analyst.