Digital Document Signing Reimagined

Carl Niklaus Wallace
5 min readOct 21, 2021


The world’s state of continuous change constantly feeds the forward-thinkers and creators of this era with opportunities to reimagine how almost anything is done. With technology, reimagination occurs regularly. Reimagining one thing can trigger another. What wasn’t possible just the other day, now is.

Our healthy obsession with the future of work fuels our reimagining of the present. This is the first release of our REIMAGINATION series in which we share our thoughts on things we think should change.

Document signing

Why do we place so much trust in the untrustworthy wet scribble we have signed documents with for centuries? It doesn’t prove an identity, it is easily forged & it slows down the process.

In comes digital signing…

Digital Transformation enables us to significantly enhance efficiency and security. For a reason that escapes logic, the “forward leap” in digital signing hasn’t gone much further than simply digitizing the exact same manual process. It missed the transformation opportunity to deliver efficiency, time-saving, guarantees, and assurance — standard expectations of the digital era.

Currently, signing a document digitally, requires :

+ a desktop or online pdf tool with your saved signature, [ which is nothing more than an image copied and pasted into the document ]
+ plotting and filling of text fields for the date and location
+ copy/paste of initials on every page.
+ Not to mention that this could have been by anyone …


Then you need witnesses [ additional e-mailing ]. Alternatively, you have the signature of your go-to witness saved, which begs the question of validity and security.

This timely process is tedious and inefficient. It wastes time in a world where the inability to act fast could make or break a business.


The multiple emails to different stakeholders create the need for version control and a heightened risk of sensitive information ending in the wrong hands. These duplicated files contribute to the mass volumes of digital waste destroying our planet.
Click here to read more about digital waste and how it destroys our planet

Overall, the shift to digital lacked future thinking or consideration for how things could be better.

With today’s advanced technologies of user identification and verification, there is a better way to

+ be secure,
+ trustworthy,
+ efficient,
+ automatically capture personal data,
+ prevent fraud,
+ reduce business risk,
+ improve customer perception and experience

It must be a sure thing.

Reimagining Digital Signing

Reimagination is rethinking or reinventing an existing thing or process with limitless imagination. It extends creative thinking beyond the boundaries of perceived possibilities, improving speed, efficiency, authenticity, safety, and security significantly.

” We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. ” — Albert Einstien

Set the original thinking aside and think freely as though anything is possible.

anything is possible,
this is how we see the
future of digital signing

The primary objective is to minimise human input and maximise efficiency by :

+ getting rid of the signature scribbles, the acceptance of terms can be replaced with a sure way by combining identification and verification.
+ the information required of the signatory should be captured automatically.

This is achieved through a device-agnostic approach, whereby recipients are reached wherever they are for quick and easy access to read and sign.

You only need two elements to successfully and securely agree to the terms digitally. An Identity number linked to you and your unique biometrics (your face).

With an …

1. ID/PASSPORT or relevant foreign national identity number, and
2. a selfie ( a photo taken of yourself from your device )… we can retrieve the identity from the South African Home Affairs Database. With reliable image recognition technology, the selfie is verified against the official photo at Home Affairs to return a match or mismatch. A match will return the person’s Full Name. The signature date and place are captured using the mobile device settings.

Assuming the document is stored in a work tool like ydox, or something similar, reimagined digital signing looks like this:

The owner/author of the document invites the signatories through a secure link to their mobile numbers via WhatsApp or email.

The signatory opens the link to view the document in the internet browser. Once viewed, they have the option to sign. They are only asked for their identification number followed by a selfie.

The identity is verified against the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and Southern African Fraud Prevention Services. A match would initiate the following actions automatically:

+ the information and photo of each signatory is securely embedded into the pdf and to an auth page added to the back/bottom of the pdf [ replacing the current signing section ]

+ Once all signatories have signed, a document ID code is generated and added to the bottom of each page [ replacing the current need for initials. ] This code includes an encrypted link to each signatory.

+ the file is locked and stored securely for future reference or verification.

One more thing …

To transform digital signing to its simplest and most efficient form, we need to automate the signing itself too.

It has already gone from a manual process to a simple 2-step process. Automating the 2 step process will enable signing with one click — its absolute simplest form.

This is achieved with an Android and iOS mobile app for regular users. The link opens the document in the app with the ID number and selfie saved and pre-populated. The app will only ask for an updated selfie every three months.

You might be asking …

Can this really be done?

+ Absolutely, a strategic alliance between Digitial-HQ and SecureCitizen enables our identity verification with South African Department of Home Affairs and Southern African Fraud Prevention Services.

Will this hold up in court?

+ Yes. The law is built on what can or cannot be proven. Both the current wet and digital signature methods are far more difficult to prove or deny.

Is it POPI compliant?

+ Verification includes the active participation and consent of the party in order to execute the process

Who has access to the document?

+ the user access controls and permissions inside ydox prevent this document from ending up in the wrong hands. The user identity verification protocols prevent unauthorized signatures. This reimagination of Digital Signing is the fastest, safest, and most reliable way to sign documents.

What about witnesses?

+ Witnessing is not a sure thing and provides no real guarantee. This process is more reliable and replaces the need for witnessing with a truly digital verification solution — a far greater leap on the journey towards [ work in its simplest and most secure form ].

What I love about this process

+ documents are not being emailed to and from.

+ Documents never leave the safety and security of ydox [ or any other work tool ] during the entire process.

+ saves time and improves efficiency, while

+ leaving behind a cleaner digital footprint.

Please get in touch with me to chat about reimagining how work is done in your organisation.

Carl Wallace | CEO

Original Article



Carl Niklaus Wallace

A forward thinker that solves today's problems with solutions of tomorrow. [ founder of dewly ] -