Peer-to-Peer (P2P) refers to a distributed application architecture. Peers are equally privileged, equipotent participants in our fairCASH world. This is the shortest possible way to form a network of communicating node couples. Such a communication is not in the need for central coordination. Each peer supplies and consumes eCoins, in sharp contrast to the traditional central ePayment world.
Payment amounts can be transferred on-line or off-line. We find several meanings in the literature defining different positions about this. Our definition is tied to a strict model of how the transaction is done and not to the technical way of transmission.
In brief, "off-line" means that some given transaction can be performed between two peer devices directly, without requiring a (trusted) third party. An “off-line” transaction of electronic tokens thus manages the whole transaction between two peer devices as true Peer-to-Peer (P2P) relationship process. This means that a user of a peer device can freely pass the electronic tokens to another party (another peer device) without involving a third party. Off-line transfers does not need an external service (e.g. by a (trusted) third party) for executing the transaction protocol and thus the transfer of the electronic tokens between two peer devices occurs directly.
fairCASH implements exactly this P2P and off-line transaction method.
In contrast, the term "on-line" means involvement of a (trusted) third party in a given transaction. An "on-line" transaction hence means that there is the need of a trusted third party as a service institution (which may be an intermediate clearer) in order to be able to conduct the transaction. One of the biggest obstacles of an on-line transfer of electronic tokens is the impossibility to transfer the electronic tokens, if the service is down or unreachable.