On the Bitcoin network, the average confirmation time for a BTC payment is about 10 minutes. However, transaction times can vary wildly, and we’ll explain why here.
Ahhh blockchain. It’s the future of money, you know. But even though cash sent through traditional banks often arrives in accounts instantly, a Bitcoin transaction can take a *little* longer.
How long does Bitcoin take to send?
On the Bitcoin network, the average confirmation time for a BTC payment is about 10 minutes. However, transaction times can vary greatly.
This is because it is affected by factors such as total network activity, hashrate, and transaction fees. If the Bitcoin network is congested, there will be a backlog of transactions in the mempool.
This would result in users paying more in transaction fees so that transactions go through faster. This occurred in April 2021, where the average Bitcoin transaction fees reached $59.
What is a Bitcoin Mempool?
A mempool is a record of all Bitcoin transactions that have not yet been validated by a miner and added to the next block in the blockchain. A mempool is temporarily stored on each individual node on the network.
Mempool transactions are periodically cleared each time a new block is added to the blockchain. Pending transactions waiting in mempools will only be settled (processed) once they reach the minimum transaction fee threshold.
Low fee transactions will often have to “wait” for more than one block in the mempool until they are processed and confirmed.
Did you know that you could end up waiting hours before a transaction on the Bitcoin blockchain is complete?
In some ways, using a cryptocurrency is like driving on a highway. A large number of BTC transactions means that there will be a lot of congestion, which will slow everything down.
Paying higher Bitcoin transaction fees is a surefire way to jump to the front of the queue and reduce wait times. It is the equivalent of going through traffic with a police escort.
When you send Bitcoin, you need to incentivize miners on the blockchain to include your transaction in the next block, especially when the mempool is full. Since block sizes are fixed at 1MB and there are a limited number of miners, you may have to pay a much higher fee to get top-notch treatment.
How many confirmations are needed for the Bitcoin transaction?
Once a new transaction is verified and included in a new block, it will count as a confirmation. After an average of 10 minutes, another block will be created with that transaction, which will count two confirmations. Some services only require one confirmation, while some exchanges require 3 or more BTC confirmations.
For Binance, 1 block confirmation is needed for BTC deposits, while 2 block confirmations are needed for Bitcoin withdrawals.
For Coinbase, it requires 3 block confirmations before considering the BTC transaction final.
How long does it take to confirm a Bitcoin transaction?
A Bitcoin transaction often goes through several confirmations on the blockchain before it is completely cleared. This is because there is a risk that unconfirmed transactions will be reversed or the cryptocurrency will be spent twice. A commit occurs each time a new block is created.
If you are transferring a large amount of cryptocurrency to a business, some will require up to six confirmations. How long would it take to confirm this transaction for the transfer? Around an hour.
How to check Bitcoin transaction time
There are some great tools that can give you an estimate of the average time it will take to complete a BTC transaction or transfer, such as Blockchain.com and Statista. You can also get guidance on what transaction fees you should add, often stated in the form of satoshis (there are 100,000,000 satoshis in one Bitcoin).
If you send a Bitcoin transaction with lower fees, you have a real risk of upsetting Bitcoin miners. They’ll throw a tantrum (or, really, just ignore your lower transaction fees in favor of higher ones), and your payment may end up languishing in a long list of unconfirmed transactions. You shouldn’t worry too much though, as it will be processed whenever there is a massive break in the Bitcoin blockchain and miners have nothing else to do.
How to check if the Bitcoin transaction is verified?
To check if your Bitcoin transaction has been validated by miners, you can do so through a blockchain explorer. For example, by using the CoinMarketCap blockchain explorer and entering the Bitcoin transaction hash, you can see the status of your Bitcoin transaction and whether it is valid.
How to speed up Bitcoin transaction
The long confirmation time associated with a Bitcoin transaction or transfer gives some BTC enthusiasts sleepless nights. They worry that the blockchain will not be able to keep up with the demand in the coming years. (Fun fact: this was one of the main reasons Bitcoin Cash was created.)
In addition to increasing your transaction fee to get ahead of the queue, another way to speed up your Bitcoin transaction is to transfer during off-peak periods to avoid congestion. In the blockchain.com explorer, the mempool size graph shows when the number of unconfirmed transactions is lowest.
Will BTC transactions be faster?
Scaling solutions like the Lightning Network aim to solve this problem by adding another layer on top of the Bitcoin blockchain to speed things up. Its goal is to introduce the ability for micropayments that are cheap and fast, solving a major Bitcoin scalability problem.
Another alternative to Bitcoin fees is to use a different cryptocurrency, such as Ethereum or Litecoin, which are known for faster transactions, also known as faster confirmations after transfers. It is quite easy to transfer Bitcoins to other digital assets on an exchange.