Electronic Signature vs Digital Signature

Despite its critical importance to today’s businesses, many people are still unaware of what an electronic signature and digital signature is, how it speeds up the business, and secure it is in this digital era.

Although they may seem similar, the phrases “electronic signature” and “digital signature” differ significantly. Understanding the distinction is critical for anyone who operates a business and wants to gather signatures.

Read further to know more about electronic signature and digital signature, how do they differ, and what their main purposes are.

But before we dive into the difference between an electronic signature and a digital signature, let’s start from the top, “what is an electronic signature?”

What is an electronic signature?

An electronic signature is just what it sounds like; a signature that can be done electronically, either by putting a specially formatted signature or by leveraging any third-party electronic signature software like Fresh Proposals that allows you to sign any document from any electronic device.

Instead of physically printing, signing, and scanning the document that requires a signature, an electronic signature allows you to sign anything online from anywhere.

What is a digital signature?

A digital signature is a mathematical technique used to validate the authenticity of a message or document. It is created using a public key cryptography system and is attached to an electronic message or document to verify the sender’s identity and ensure the message has not been tampered with.

Main features of electronic signature

Electronic signatures have been around for over two decades, and their use is growing in both the business and personal worlds. Here are some of the features that make them so appealing:

1. They’re easy to use. Electronic signatures are simple to create and can be used in a variety of ways, including email, text messages, and online forms.

2. They’re secure. Electronic signatures are just as secure as traditional handwritten signatures.

3. They’re legally binding. Electronic signatures are legally binding in the United States and many other countries around the world. They provide a way to quickly and easily sign documents without having to print them out and sign them by hand.

4. An electronic signature can be verified easily.

5. An electronic signature cannot be copied or forged.

Main features of digital signature

A digital signature is a unique digital attribute in a digital form, something like a fingerprint inscribed in a document. To be connected with the document the signer must hold the digital certificate.

Another important feature of a digital signature is that it is used for protecting/securing digital documents. Fraudsters can falsify documents to submit online with an electronic signature, but with a digital signature, it is practically impossible. A digital signature is created with a cryptographic algorithm. This cryptographic algorithm helps to perform the following operations:

  • Proving the document’s legitimacy and source.
  • Assuring that no modifications were made to the document after it was signed.
  • Confirming the signer’s identity.

Electronic Signature vs Digital Signature

An electronic signature is an image or text that is attached to an email or other document, while a digital signature is created by using cryptographic techniques to verify the authenticity of the signer. Although both types of signatures are considered to be legally binding, electronic signatures are generally seen as being less reliable than digital signatures.

The purpose of an electronic signature is to identify the signer and to attest to the fact that the signature was placed intentionally. An electronic signature can be either a typed name or an electronic image of a handwritten signature. 

 A digital signature is a mathematical scheme for verifying the authenticity of a digital message or document. A digital signature, on the other hand, uses cryptography to create a unique, unforgeable message digest that is attached to a document.  A digital signature is created by using a private key to encrypt a message, and the recipient uses the corresponding public key to decrypt the message. This signature can be verified by recalculating the hash value of the document with the user’s public key and comparing it to the original hash value.



In conclusion, an electronic signature is a valid form of signature as long as the requirements are met, while a digital signature is a more secure form of an electronic signature. In order to ensure the validity of an electronic signature, the signer’s identity should be verified and the signature should be linked to the document being signed.


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