Bitcoin Transactions: How Long Do They Take


What is Bitcoin Transaction Confirmation Time

It’s no secret that the creation time of a block in the Bitcoin network is 10 minutes.

But have you ever thought about how much a bitcoin transaction is going on and why you have to wait for confirmation for more than 10 minutes?

We are sure not!
It’s clear that you are a busy person, but recipients of bitcoins have been victims of fraud many times due to a lack of knowledge on this simple topic.
Therefore, we consider it our duty to tell you everything and make sure that you no longer make such stupid mistakes.
So, in this article we are going to find out what is the ideal Bitcoin transaction / confirmation time and what should I do if the transaction gets stuck for several hours?

So let’s get down to business:

Transactions in the Bitcoin network are not confirmed and do not end instantly.

These transactions first go to the pool of unconfirmed transactions called Bitcoin mempool, and from there the miners pick up these transactions.
Therefore, you have to wait at least 10 minutes to get the first confirmation of the transaction.
In any case, the average time it takes to confirm a Bitcoin transaction is 10 minutes, and this is due to the fact that a block in the Bitcoin network is created in 10 minutes.
But this does not always happen, because a transaction can take up to several hours, and sometimes days, from the moment of sending.

What determines the transaction speed or bitcoin transfer time

The Bitcoin network transaction speed depends on many factors, and among them the most important are

  • Bitcoin network load.
  • A commission is charged for each transaction in the BTC network.

The load level on the Bitcoin blockchain can be seen in real time through mempool. At the time of writing, there are many unconfirmed transactions online:

But there is no need to say that the greater the number of unconfirmed transactions, the more time it will take for the blockchain to confirm them.
After all, space and bandwidth in the chain are limited, as it can only include 1 MB of transactions every 10 minutes.
And according to the design of Bitcoin, a miner can only add a block every 10 minutes, regardless of how much mining power he has.
In addition, miners act in such a way as to get the most profit, so they prefer to take transactions for which a higher transaction fee is set.
If you did not know:
For their work, miners receive a commission of 12.5 BTC plus the amount of “X“. A reward of 12.5 BTC is fixed for all miners, but the amount of “X” varies.
Thus, the higher the amount of “X“, the more money the miner will receive for creating the block.

Do not understand how the commission for block mining is related to the fact that your transaction is not withdrawn from mempool?

First you need to figure out what constitutes a block mining fee.
A block is just a set of transactions, and a transaction fee is paid for each transaction.
And the amount of transaction fees from all individual transactions that the miner placed in his block is called the “block mining commission”.
Suppose for a moment that you are a miner.

What would you do?

Any miner will try to maximize the amount of “X“, always taking transactions from mempool for which higher transaction fees are paid in order to get more money for block mining as a reward.
Consequently, miners have an economic incentive to first take transactions from mempool, to which higher fees are attached.
And the miners are quite active in this, since all of them mempool are sorted in descending order of transaction fees.

This is one of the main reasons why confirming your transactions can take hours, remaining in mempool, because the fee is too small to interest miners.

How many confirmations are enough for a transaction in the Bitcoin network

Generally speaking, “6 confirmations” is recommended, and many consider it sufficient to guarantee the successful completion of a bitcoin transaction.

This limit of “6 confirmations” is even recommended by Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin, because after six confirmations, the recipient can be sure that the bitcoins he received were not spent twice.
But we know that one confirmation on the Bitcoin network takes at least 10 minutes, which means that for six confirmations you need to wait at least 60 minutes (provided that the transaction is immediately added to the new block)
But this is an ideal scenario, which often differs from reality, since there is a high probability that your transaction will not be immediately included in a new block.
The median time to accept a transaction in a block and add it to the public registry (note: includes only transactions with miner fees).

In addition, these confirmations are nothing more than the number of blocks created after adding your transaction to the chain, and the very first confirmation means that your transaction is included in a new block. And as new blocks are added after this block, the number of confirmations of your transaction will continue to increase to the standard “6 confirmations” or more.

 Is there any transaction confirmation time calculator / evaluator

Yes, of course, you can use some Bitcoin transaction time estimation tools, but they all use the Bitcoin transaction fees that you set for a particular transaction.

So, let’s say you attached a commission of the size “Satoshi X / bytes to the transaction, after which you can calculate how much time (or how many blocks) you will need to wait before you receive the first confirmation.

As this tool shows, if you set a commission of 14 Satoshi / bytes or more, you will be included in the next block and receive confirmation in less than 30 minutes.
If you use a commission of 3 Satoshi / bytes, then you can be included in the second block, and if the fees are even lower, you may have to wait another 3-4 blocks.
Thus, you can easily calculate the approximate transaction confirmation time and determine exactly how long it will take to transfer bitcoins?

In fact, if your transaction is stuck, you can perform several actions, for example

  • Use the Bitcoin transaction accelerator to push fees out of the chain.
  • Replace a stuck transaction with a transaction with a higher commission using the Replace-By-Fees method.
  • Make a “child” transaction with a higher commission using the Child Pays For Parent technique.

Of course, these methods are specific to Bitcoin, and should be used if your transaction is stuck for several hours.

On the other hand, if you do not have the technical knowledge to do all this, then you can leave your transaction for 72 hours, after which the network will automatically reject it and return the coins to your Bitcoin wallet.

Conclusion: how long is the Bitcoin transaction

Now you probably think: if transactions with bitcoins take how long, then how can it be used as a currency at all?

Bitcoin developers also think about this, which is why they are working on technologies such as Segwit, Schnorr Signatures and Lightning, which are designed to make transactions on the Bitcoin network almost instant.
But wait a long time since the Lightning Network recently began to receive community support, and Segwit’s distribution also began to increase.
And we believe that when these technologies develop in full force, issues such as “how long does it take to confirm bitcoin transactions” or “how long does it take to transfer bitcoins” will remain in the past.
But at the moment, if you want to conduct a transaction along the main Bitcoin chain, you need to wait at least 60 minutes, and only after that you can say that your transaction is 100% successful.

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