Here Is Why Bitcoin Transactions Take So Long

Salomon Kisters

Salomon Kisters

Apr 29, 2022

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Bitcoin’s popularity continues to rise, even amidst massive global tensions. More people are interested in learning about Bitcoin and the complex advantages of digital assets.

The decentralized digital asset runs transactions without dealing with any involvement of central banks or administrators. This is one of the best features that Bitcoin flaunts and that boosts the digital asset’s popularity.

It also promotes financial freedom, which is vital for people, especially in the present times.

Bitcoin transactions are confirmed by entities called network nodes. This is done via cryptography and recorded in the blockchain. The transactions are not taking place instantly, and below, we’ll address why they might take some time.

How Bitcoin transactions work

Network nodes verify Bitcoin transactions with the help of cryptography.

The transaction is recorded on the blockchain. Even though Bitcoin transactions look simple, the process is complex, but it’s worth understanding it.

A few steps have to be checked for the transaction to be complete and successful. The required steps, once completed, will confirm the receiver receives the amount.

These steps are made using the Bitcoin wallet and network. Here are the elements that transactions follow:

  • Registration as a transaction that has an input – the Bitcoin address of the sender
  • The transaction output – the Bitcoin address of the receiver
  • The amount of Bitcoin that is sent

Transactions are collected into blocks. A Bitcoin transaction usually references the prior transaction output as a new transaction input.

The transactions are not encrypted, which means that it’s possible to search and view the transactions collected into blocks.

Bitcoin transaction times

In most cases, a Bitcoin transaction is confirmed within one hour.

Most people call a transaction successful with a minimum of six confirmations. Another five blocks must be mined on top of the block that contains the transaction.

On average, a new block is mined every ten minutes. That’s why in most cases, you’ll have to wait for about one hour.

However, this is not always the case.

It is only applicable when the miner who mined the block has prioritized the transaction and added it to the block. If not, the transactions will be delayed and remain unconfirmed.

Factors that influence Bitcoin transactions

The main factors that influence the period of a Bitcoin transaction are:

  • Transaction fees
  • Network activity
  • Hash rate
  • Network attacks

Transaction fees

Bitcoin transactions involve the process called mining. This process requires payback due to the efforts that miners are making.

In other words, Bitcoin transactions charge an extra fee called the transaction fee. Paying more fees can help you get the transaction confirmed quicker.

There’s no official transaction fee required, but miners prioritize transactions with a fee. It increases their reward per block.

All in all, Bitcoin transactions are subject to charges and additional fees.

These fees exist mainly because the mining process needs significant effort and tech. Fees encourage miners for faster validation of the transaction process.

Network activity

Bitcoin transactions are sent into a large queue called a mempool – a memory pool. In the mempool, transactions reside until the miners mine them.

From time to time, many transactions are sent to the mempool simultaneously. Some transactions have to wait for a longer time to be included in the next block.

Sometimes, transfers can be rejected by the mempool, and this usually happens due to low fees.

Bitcoin can only handle a maximum of seven transactions per second.

Hash rate

Another factor that can lead to the delay of the transaction confirmation is the lack of miners. Miners are not willing to mine new blocks when they are not getting enough rewards for their efforts.

When the hash rate decreases abruptly, there are not enough miners to quickly mine new blocks and confirm every transaction.

Spam attacks

Bitcoin has been the center of interest for hackers for a long time. Spam and dusting attacks are other factors that can affect network transactions.

During a spam attack, the bad actor will continuously try to put loads on the mempool. The hacker will use the help of transactions with low fees to pull down the network.

Bitcoin Transaction Confirmation FAQ

How long does a Bitcoin transaction usually take?

All Bitcoin transactions need six confirmations in the blockchain from miners before being processed. In most cases, Bitcoin transactions need 1 to 1.5 hours to complete.

What’s the longest time that a BTC transaction can take?

The minimum time for a Bitcoin transaction is 2 minutes, according to the recorded timestamps, and the maximum is 6:02 hours.

Official data notes that the confirmation time with a 99.98% probability is somewhere between 7 minutes and 3:44 hours.

Why is my transaction still pending on the blockchain?

If a Bitcoin transaction is pending on the blockchain, these are possible reasons:

  • The transaction could be still in the process
  • The transaction failed
  • You sent the transaction to an incorrect address
  • The transaction involves another Blockchain

Does SegWit decrease confirmation times?

The answer to this question is technically no; it does not change the amount of time that is needed for blocks to confirm. But, it’s still important to note the fact that the transactions using SegWit are cheaper due to their smaller size. Segregated Witness (SegWit) refers to a change in the transaction format that Bitcoin has.

This means that the fees that you would pay for an old Bitcoin transaction sending the same amount of coins are higher compared to SegWit.

You can put the money that you save into paying more fees in order to increase the chance that the transaction ends up in the next block.

How do I get a stuck transaction unstuck?

There are more ways to fix a stuck transaction. One of them involves doing a replace by fee transaction. The other way is to do a Child-Pays-for-Parent (CPFP) transaction.

You could also use a Bitcoin accelerator service, but these are very expensive. People who own a Ledger hardware wallet and use the Ledger Live app can prepare their transactions so that replacement by fee is possible.

How to speed Bitcoin transactions up

You can speed up confirmation times for transactions on the Bitcoin network. Here are some ways to do this.

But keep in mind that for six confirmations, you still have to wait for about an hour.

Replace-by-Fee (RBF)

You can speed up the likelihood that your transaction is included in the next block by increasing the fees that you pay for the transaction.

The easiest way to speed up transactions is to be proactive and include a high miner fee. This way, the transaction will be prioritized by the miners.

RBF is currently one of the most effective ways to clear your transaction from the mempool.

Use a transaction accelerator

Another way to speed up Bitcoin transactions is to use a transaction accelerator for Bitcoin. Various such platforms allow you to accelerate BTC transactions.

Most Bitcoin accelerators work similarly. Every time you make a transaction (send or receive Bitcoin from or to a wallet), this transaction is broadcasted onto the blockchain.

This is telling the miners that the transaction is ready and waiting for processing. After it has been processed, it’s marked as confirmed.

These confirmations are what you’re waiting for when you spend your Bitcoin. They prove that your Bitcoins were sent and received.

Bitcoin accelerators will rebroadcast your transactions across many global digital nodes. This will place the transaction back in the queue and remind miners that it’s ready for processing. Some services shortcut this because they automatically add it to the next block.

Child-Pays-for-Parent (CPFP)

Unlike the Replace-By-Fee method that works for delayed sent payments, this option clears received transactions. Child-Pays-for-Parent entails creating a new transaction called Child using the funds of the delayed transaction called Parent.

Afterward, the transaction will be resent with a higher fee. Both transactions must be mined for the option to work. Miners usually include them into the block if the miner’s fee is high enough. This option requires a wallet that supports this functionality.

Final Thoughts

Bitcoin is not a physical entity. It’s not a solid coin, token, or paper slip. Instead, Bitcoin is a virtual asset involving a chain of transactions that have been confirmed on the blockchain.

In the end, several factors determine the speed with which your transaction will be mined. The good thing is, if you add a large enough fee, miners will prioritize your transaction.

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Please note that the Content may have been generated with the Help of AI. The editorial content of OriginStamp AG does not constitute a recommendation for investment or purchase advice. In principle, an investment can also lead to a total loss. Therefore, please seek advice before making an investment decision.


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