It has occurred to me that no one has thought about this issue, so I thought I would pose the question. Why, in the modern electronic age are we still using paper? Just to give you an idea, at my company they have some things in electronic form, until they have to hand that off to someone else, at which point it gets physically printed, handed off, and then re-entered on the other parties electronic system. The reasons for this are numerous. Sometimes it's a way to give superficial authority status to the document. Other times someone's signature needs to be put on the document, and then it gets scanned back in in order to be emailed. Why not electronically sign the document instead? It's far more secure than a hand written signature. Sometimes the government regulations say that we have to have a "paper trail". Why does it have to be a paper trail? Why is it not an electronic trail? I see it as a simple two step process:
- Encrypt the information, to ensure that no one can access it unless you want them to.
- Use a hashing-based network like bitcoin to ensure that the information, though encrypted, is public record. If there was a court order, the authorities could then demand that the documents be decrypted.
To say nothing about the wasted man hours that are used in printing only to have data re-entered electronically, clearly the wasted time/energy/money in labor, fighting the printer to print the way you want, the ink, the paper itself, transporting documents in paper across the world when email and file compression would have done just as well at a fraction of the price, must be in the hundreds of billions of dollars per year.
Is this not an issue that everyone could agree upon?