I'm launching an open source document signing tool because trust-based products should be built on openness. The first release will be in 2023. Sign up at documenso.com and get on board.
Let’s build the world’s most trusted document-signing tool.
Today I'm excited to announce my new project Documenso. Documenso is an open source document signing tool you can host yourself and freely build upon because it's, you know, open source. Before I get more into the details of what and when will be launched I want to take a moment and talk about why.
Digital signing is great
Signing Documents digitally has countless benefits: Less struggle with printing, less wasting paper, faster request delivery, easier changes, easier coordination of people far away, verifiable document integrity, and verifiable signer identity (this is a vast topic, will write more on soon), easier storage and search of signed documents, the list goes on. Digital Signatures take something very old and very trusted like personally signing documents into the digital space, adding the benefits listed above. It also introduces a new party to every signing transaction, the signing tool providers. What was peer to peer transaction before, now goes through an intermediary. While this isn't a problem in itself, it should make us think about how we want these providers of trust to work.
How do we build trusted systems?
While doing research for Documenso I came upon a quote that expresses the current state of document signing pretty well:
Document signing is NOT a technical problem. [Editor’s Note: Because it was solved technically a long time ago] It’s a legal acceptance problem — and everyone KNOWS DocuSign and friends and understands how they’re admissible. Anything else would have to compete with that and people would be suspicious of it for a long time.
While this may sound like a hurdle at first, it immediately gave me a sense of validation for a more open approach to signing. People will and should be suspicious of their tools and demand a high bar when it comes to trust. And the way to earn this trust is by being open. Trusted tools should be the result of thoughtful discussion and reviews. They should be the result of the needs and will of its community. They should be transparent, adaptable, and empowering while using. Open Source embodies these values very well for software, which makes it a perfect fit for this space and creating a high-trust tool.
So, what can you expect from here on out? I've started to build Documenso 0.1 which is scheduled to release in “early” 2023. If you're interested in helping make this happen, let me know via email@example.com. Getting working code into the hands of the perspective Documenso community is currently the #1 goal. Other than that I'll be releasing several articles about document signing and what something like Documenso should look like, in my humble opinion. So stay tuned!
If you think Documenso is worthy of support, please share documenso.com with anyone interested, and sign up to be among the first to try out version 0.1 as soon as it launches.
Cheers from Hamburg
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