Bills of Exchange

Digital bills of exchange – the rebirth of negotiable instruments

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trace:original bills of exchange

Enigio’s solution trace:original and the fact that countries around the world are adopting technology neutral legislations like UN’s model law for electronic transferable records (MLETR), has made it possible to digitise the bill of exchange. The list of benefits that becomes available is long but to keep it short, a digital bill of exchange will be faster, safer, more cost-efficient and more sustainable.

Bills of exchange are excellent – but nobody likes to use paper any more.

The bill of exchange is an excellent record of debt – one simple document that is recognised globally and convenient for all parties. However, they tend to be underused and the main reason is that they are predominately paper-based. This means they must be physically managed and signed in wet ink by all parties in the transaction and they have to be physically delivered by mail or courier.

With trace:original digital bills of exchange, this is all a thing of the past. trace:original maintains all the good things of bills of exchange, while dropping all the disadvantages of physical paper.

Accessible and interoperable

Only the creator of a trace:original document needs to be a customer of Enigio. Once created the document is fully portable and can be received and managed by anyone and anywere. It is packaged as a PDF that is both human- and machine readable with STP. The only requirements on anyone is a computer with internet connection.

Safe and secure

Traceability  – Contains full audit trail of events within the document
Data ownership - no business or personal data shared or stored outside of the trace:original dBE document.
Transparency – process visibility throughout the transaction cycle.
Storage – digitally stored by the owner and digital back-ups possible

Protection – only the one in possession has the right to add new content, transfer possession or invalidate, no-one can manipulate what has been written.
Authenticity – Document authenticity can be verified by anyone at any time
Evidence – Current or older version of document verifiable via its evidence stored on the block chain (Public Notary)

Cost and time efficient


The business case for trace:original is very simple:
Processing cost (courier cost only) from EUR 150 to EUR 22, and lead times from 12 days to 0 days


Using trace:original bills of exchange will contribute to fulfilling the following UN sustainable development goals:

Asset 3

SME growth and prosperity since:

  • It will be easier to  set up and execute a transaction
  • Smaller amounts and shorter tenors are possible
  • They can have access to ECA financing and guarantees
Asset 2

Innovation and infrastructure:

  • As easy, affordable and interoperable as using paper
Asset 1

Reduce carbon emissions, fresh water and land use by reducing:

  • Paper documents/production
  • All physical transportation of the documents

Legal framework

MLETR: A law that accepts a digital bill of exchange

An electronic transferable record is defined as information generated, communicated, received, or stored by electronic means, including, where appropriate, all information logically associated with or otherwise linked together so as to become part of the record.

An electronic transferable record ‘shall not be denied legal effect, validity or enforceability on the sole ground that it is in electronic form’.

Therefore, to maintain its legal enforceability, a digital document must replicate the properties of the paper equivalent regarding:

  • its nature as an original
  • its function relative to a holder (i.e., the party that has ‘possession’ of the original document)
  • its transferability

ITFA's DNI Initiative

In addition to the MLETR, the International Trade and Forfaiting Association (ITFA) has launched the ePU (an electronic payment undertaking) which is a valid and binding equivalent to a bill of exchange based on contract law. The ePU can be used in any country not yet with an MLETR based legal framework in place.

Watch Walkthrough

Creating and managing digital original documents is easy with trace:original.

Follow along a guided walkthrough of the process from creation to signing, transfer and invalidation.

Read the whitepaper "Using trace:original for digitzing documents according to MLETR" for a deep dive into the combination of trace:original and MLETR.

Read the whitepaper "The ITFA Digital Negotiable Instruments Initiative – 2nd Edition"

dBE Process

trace:original digital bills of exchange remains digital throughout the lifespan of the document. Follow the link below to see a detailed process for each stage of the bill of exchange process.

Bills of exchange and trace:orignal – a perfect combinaiton

Accessible and interoperable

Computer and internet only requirement

Digitally interoperable between anyone and any system

Readable by man and machine

Can contain a standard and/or a schema

Enables straight through processing (STP)

Safe and

Tamper proof and fraud safe

No sharing of business or personal data outside of document

Full audit trail

Cost and time

Minimal lead times

90% cost reduction


Reduce carbon emissions

Help SMEs growth
and prosperity

Promote infrastructure development 

All the benefits
of bills of exchange

All the features of digital documents

Asset 23

digital bill of exchange

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Get started!

Schedule a one-on-one call to see how trace:original can help you achieve a fully digital end-to-end workflow with digital original documents, without any changes to your existing infrastructure.

In the call we will go through your specific needs and suggest a matching solution. We will also go through a live demo of trace:original, creating your first digital original document.

Schedule individual call

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