Mobile payments depend on the availability of internet connectivity, e.g., to enable a centralized service to authenticate a payment. This disclosure describes techniques to enable peer-to-peer mobile payments in the absence of a network. A user has an initial amount, referred to as the balance, that is transferred to their mobile device from a balance provider, e.g., a financial institution. The balance is digitally signed by both the user and the balance provider. To transact in the absence of a network, peer users perform a contactless payment as follows. The receiver of funds verifies the availability of funds by examining the prior, authenticated, transaction records of the sender. A transaction record including the transaction amount is created and made immutable and secure using cryptographic techniques. When either the sender or receiver regains network connectivity, the transaction is settled with the balance provider. Double-spend attempts by a malicious sender are forestalled by enabling secure maintenance of the true balance on a sender’s device (even in the absence of a network), and by enabling the receiver to settle with the sender’s balance provider on the basis of an authenticated transaction record.
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Bera, Abhijit; Samudrala, Arun; Gupta, Pankaj; Padmanabhan, Dilip; Sambrani, Hemanth; Weng, Shuo; and Wong, Wallace, "Secure Mobile Payments Without Network Connectivity", Technical Disclosure Commons, (October 26, 2020)