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Founder, Inventor and Best Selling Trade Author: Davide Giovanni Papa 

Website: www.ftnx.net   

Email: ftn_smice@bigpond.com

No phone numbers served online. All initial enquiries by email only.

FTN Exporting was established 1988.

Posting For the Year: 2022


For FTNX USCT Endorsed PCT’s , End Buyers and Supplies  world-wide.

The signing of a commodity contract digitally

These opinions  are served not as it applies to individual circumstances or where local laws within a country or state are contradictory to such opinions; they are served based on actual experience of the author, as enacted upon  over decades. 

A person goes on online applies for a large  loan exceeding lets say $100,000.00. The applicants digitally signs the online document. Approval is secured  in 60 seconds thereafter.  In another scenario; a commodity deal worth millions  of dollars where documents are signed electronically and are sent  electronically online ? Are such documents  legally binding? Again, the usual answer of “Yes” prevails.  If you look up online and ask the question “is a digitally signed document legally binding”  the answer is you’ll often arrive at is ‘Yes.’ If you ask you lawyer, the same answer is served.  Let us  examine the interpretations  of matters found online to the reality of the situation in hand. In our example re: the loan application, what will happen is that while the loan was approved online, in most cases before the funds are actually deposited into your account, the applicant will still need to appear  before the lender and sign hardcopies  of the application already pre approved  online. In many situations  it may  seem that you are entering into a legally binding situation when accepting a deal or  contract using digitally served and signed documents; and yet, eventually hardcopy signatures and original documents  are still required.  

The whole premises of digitally signing a document becomes legally binding, once a dispute is apparent,  if both parties have acknowledged and agreed upon,  in the first instance to the deal being enacted  upon online accordingly. By confirming to the online deal and supporting documents being served  therein, the parties to the contract  become  ‘legally bound ’ to each other. The question whether  or not digitally served and signed documents are legally binding is dismissed once the admissions are made and confirmed in support of the deal being applied.   The ‘admissions’ made  is  legally binding and thus enforceable, to which any pre-approval  or any other document carrying a digital signature  becomes effectively and legally served. The act of digitally signing a document is a lawful one.The act of acknowledging the signing of such a document is legally binding.  But ! is the act of using a digital signature legally binding on the basis of actual presentation,  if one party later reneges on a deal  and  then declares that they did not accept nor apply any signature  to any document. It’s in this light that a plaintiff may engage a lawyer  to sue  the other party for breach of contract.Without  any witness stating otherwise , the defendant denies  applying any signature(s) digitally. Where is the legal force  that actually supports the claims made by the Plaintiff?  To argue that the document was falsely signed  would not readily be dismissed   in the realm where millions of dollars are being scammed online daily,  and in where  digitally  documents  and signatures could (and are) easily be copied. 

All is well when a deal concludes in good stead. But when a deal turns sour; and no admissions are made nor recorded, using digitally signed documents to back your claims that a breach has occurred, is a precarious  legal situation. The chances of winning such a case under such circumstance are remote. A sagacious person looking to protect their interest would ensure that a hardcopy of the contract is in hand in where a hardcopy signature(s) are  apparent. Often  such a person  is always the applicant taking out the loan or is  e.g; buying commodities.  The supplier is only concerned with payments; regardless of   the format used to secure  such payment.  In the case for securing a loan, the lender will require the applicant  to sign a contract, a contract which  is not open to negotiations on a “take it or leave it” basis, no different to a seller offering goods to and  legitimate buyer ( but where some aspects of ‘negotiation’ is allowed). Therefore reviewing  and considering a deal ‘on a tablet or computer ’ then accepting the deal with a digital signature instantly, is simply not the same as obtaining a hardcopy of the deal and contracting basis therein to examine such intently and to seek peer advice,  within a reasonable amount of time.  Furthermore  persuasive  argument  found in the international arena as it applies to the PCT trading in commodities could also find that  a digitally signed document  sent by email may be deemed as not being an ‘original document’  once Meta Tags are added to the document upon its transmission. Documents  marked as ‘original’ are required by banks  and therefore should  also be relied upon for those conducting business internationally. Thus ‘the original’ status of a document being transmitted online  could also  be questioned–as matter of legally; then in the same light a digitally  applied signature could be argued in a court of law as being a copy of the original  signature, and therefore ‘not legally binding’ in the right circumstances where admission have not been made prior.

A PCT may trade on line and may accept an offer  ‘subject to final contract.’ The contract  may also be signed online and served accordingly. Such a contract must give reference to the offer accepted  prior, as there is no contract without an offer under  applicable international trade rules and laws of applications. The contract also  states that every page has been read and that a hardcopy prevails as a matter of legality and that the PDF version is forwarded to ensure that all important  transactional dates applied on the contract remain effective.   The online PDF version of the contract is submitted online  to allow a deal to continue without delays becoming apparent.This  aspect is well prescribed in the FTNX doctrine of trade. However the doctrine also stipulates that the hardcopy of the contract, marked as original and signed accordingly is also posted  by courier  in where a postal  receipt and tracking details are secured. Before the hardcopy contract is posted a witness  signs a statutory declaration that they have sighted the contract  and have witnessed  the courier picking up the document, would also be a prudent move. Tracking details makes it very hard for the other party to deny that the contract never arrived. This one aspect is a far more secure and far more ‘legally binding’ than any online transmitted document or contract  alone. The hardcopy contract is posted once the PDF version has been accepted by ay parties to such. 

Millions of dollars in value apply to large trade contracts and therefore time and proper considerations must be apparent  to ensure the ‘safest’ trading aspect possible has been served as it takes a lot of efforts to close upon one single deal. So many ill informed traders are attempting to trade in commodities  online without any considerations to hardcopy documents and signature. Such ill informed traders have no scope in closing on such ill informed  deals–may be assumed. Finally  a good trade  contract is one which is simply and clearly  prescribed without ambiguity, in support of the offer made prior, and is under 40  A4  pages long.  The larger the contract, the more open to disputes, interpretations and  legal challenges become apparent –may also be assumed.

 All  contracts including those to do with buying and selling commodities internationally  must have within its body  six essential elements.

The essential elements are:

  1. The Intention.
  2. An Offer. 
  3. Valuable Considerations. 
  4. Legal Capacity. 
  5. Genuine Consent. 
  6. Legality of the Contract (objects therein) 

Lets take a look at a simple express written contact applicable in the year 2022

All contracts are agreements but not all agreements  are contracts. 

Date: This agreement  made on the 1 first day  of January 2022.

The reference or transaction number for all matters of this contract is : DPFTNX-00045

Made between parties: FTN Exporting   of  Melbourne City located in the State of Victoria,  Australia, trading commodities   hereby called the ‘seller’ 

enacting  with  Tom Smith  located within another state in Australia defined  herein as  the ‘buyer.’ 


(1)The seller agrees to sell, and the buyer agrees to purchase  one (1)  20 Metric Ton full container load of Copper Cathodes.

  Product offered prior as specified in the accepted offer at the delivery mode of EXW as located in Melbourne Australia, for the total sum of $80,000.00 United States Dollars.

(2) Upon the signing of this contract the buyer will pay the seller  a deposit of  $8,000.00 United States Dollars  dollars. The balance of the payment shall be paid on the day prior to loading taking place.

(3) Goods shall be made ready for delivery  at our factory at EXW  3 weeks for the date of the contract.

As witnessed by parties to this contract.

Signed by  the seller FTN Exporting Ceo D.G.Papa in the presence of:

Signed by Buyer Mr Tom Smith  in the presence of:

Above simple contract on a local deal is legally binding as all 6 elements are apparent. Anything added to the contract basis must adhere to the 6 elements.  Our  formal doctrine; International Trade and the Successful Intermediary (ITSI)  can be purchased online and has a full  FTNX commodity  trading contract model applied. Other matters may be added to the contract under the appropriate heading.

Advice and Disclaimer: 

FTNX (FTN EXPORTING) founder (1988) Davide Giovanni Papa is the best selling Author, Professional Commodity Trader (PCT) and leading internationally recognised trade expert on matters of Agency, Agents, Brokers, Intermediaries, and Principals. We also educate professional traders via the FTNX website. Rules and trading processes we have been promoting, as per our globally respected FTNX Doctrine of Trade “ITSI” (International Trade and the Successful Intermediary ) over three decades, are being used today as standard contract entries by traders, suppliers, importers, exporters and informed intermediaries.The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of FTN Exporting and subsidiaries therein.The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither FTN Exporting  nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. The articles in this website  is strictly for informational  and educational purposes only when personal support is apparent  It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in commodities, securities or other financial instruments. FTN Exporting  and the author of this article do not accept culpability for misuse, abuse, and  losses incurred   arising from the use of this website which is presented in an informal Beta format.   © FTNX 2022. A person  may use this advice  on this page on their website on the condition  that the name of ‘FTN Exporting’ is apparent