A method of managing reliance in an electronic transaction system includes a certification authority issuing a primary certificate to a subscriber and forwarding to a reliance server, information about the issued primary certificate. The reliance server maintains the forwarded information about issued primary certificate. The subscriber forms a transaction and then provides the transaction to a relying party. The transaction includes the primary certificate or a reference thereto. The relying party sends to the reliance server a request for assurance based on the transaction received from the subscriber. The reliance server determines whether to provide the requested assurance based on the information about the issued primary certificate and on the requested assurance. Based on the determining, the reliance server issues to the relying party a secondary certificate providing the assurance to the relying party.