If you’re new to the world of Bitcoin, you may be wondering: “How long does it take for a Bitcoin transaction to go through?”. In theory, Bitcoin transaction time varies from 20 minutes to one hour. In fact, sometimes the transaction confirmation may take longer — up to 3–5 hours or more. We will analyze in this article what may be the reason for such a long waiting time.
Bitcoin transaction time is an indicator that reflects the speed of a transaction to transfer BTC from one wallet to another. Confirmation of the operation is necessary to avoid double-spending and give the system time to verify the validity of the transactions.
How long does it take to confirm a Bitcoin transaction? How many confirmations are needed for a Bitcoin transaction to go through? Can this process be accelerated? Let’s find out.
What is a Bitcoin transaction?
The virtual currency, Bitcoin, has no physical form. However, this crypto-coin, essentially an electronic message, is fraud-proof and a highly reliable asset thanks to Blockchain — a secure public network.
When a user sends BTC to another user, he essentially creates a new message that is attached to the end of the Bitcoin public ledger — Blockchain. This message contains three pieces of information:
- Input: this is the sender’s address;
- Output: this is the recipient’s address;
- Value: this is the amount of BTC that the sender wants to send.
In order for a transaction to be considered valid, it must be included in a block and verified by Bitcoin miners. Only then will the BTC be transferred from one wallet to another.
Each Bitcoin transaction has previous records and two different keys — public and private.
The public key contains all the basic data about the transaction and can be transferred to others to receive BTC. It is like your bank account number, which you can use to receive funds.
The private key is for the owner only and is used to approve/initiate BTC transactions. It is like your PIN code, which you use to spend these funds.
To ensure maximum security, it is recommended that you keep your private key in a safe place and do not share it with anyone. You should also regularly back up your Bitcoin wallet.
How do payments work in the bitcoin network?
Verification involves multiple steps, and each step takes a certain amount of time. When you make a BTC transaction, your wallet first creates a unique digital signature. This signature is then sent to the network for verification.
First, your transaction must be verified by the network nodes. This process is called “mining.” Miners use special software to solve math problems and are rewarded with BTC for their work. The more miners there are, the faster the transaction is verified.
Once the network has verified your transaction, it is then recorded in a publicly available digital ledger called a “blockchain.” The Blockchain is like a giant database that keeps track of all Bitcoin transactions.
Each block in the Blockchain contains a certain number of transactions. Once your transaction is recorded in a block, it is considered “confirmed.”
How many confirmations are needed for a Bitcoin transaction?
The number of confirmations needed for a BTC transaction varies depending on the amount of money being sent. For example, if you’re sending less than $100, you may only need one confirmation. But if you’re sending more than $1000, you may need six or more confirmations.
The number of confirmations also depends on the network traffic. If there are a lot of BTC transactions happening at the same time, it may take longer to get confirmations.
The number of confirmations was chosen based on mathematical studies that showed that in order to fake a financial transaction, a fraudster would need to control 10% of the network’s capacity. However, the participants in the transaction can agree and reduce the number of confirmations.
Why did the confirmation time begin to increase rapidly?
In the beginning, payments were cheap and went quickly. But soon, the popularity of bitcoin increased sharply, and the block size was limited to 1 MB. There were so many network participants who wanted to send coins that the Blockchain stopped holding them in one block. Therefore, queues began to form.
The real problems started in 2017. Users complained that it takes several days to wait for the confirmation of the transaction. This was easily solved by increasing the commission but made the use of bitcoin very expensive.
How Long Does a Bitcoin Transaction Confirmation Take?
The time it takes to confirm a BTC transaction varies depending on your fee. Your transaction will be verified more quickly if you pay a higher fee. The average time to confirm a BTC transaction is about ten minutes. However, the exact time it takes can vary greatly depending on the network traffic.
How to Check Bitcoin Transaction Time?
If you want to check how long it will take for your transaction to be verified, you can use a block explorer. A block explorer is a website that shows all the BTC transactions that have taken place. There are also some tools that allow you to track the progress of your transaction.
How to Check if Bitcoin Transaction Is Verified?
Once your transaction has been recorded in a block, it is considered verified. You can check the status of your transaction in the block explorer.
How to speed up Bitcoin transaction confirmation?
To speed up the confirmation process, you can:
- Use a faster network. For example, if you’re sending BTC from one wallet to another, you may want to use the Bitcoin Cash network instead of the Bitcoin network. The Bitcoin Cash network is faster and can confirm transactions in a matter of minutes.
- Use a higher fee. When you make a BTC transaction, you include a “mining fee.” This fee goes to the miners who verify your transaction. Your transaction will be verified more quickly if you possess a higher fee.
- Use SegWit (Segregated Witness). SegWit is a technical improvement to the Bitcoin network that allows faster transaction confirmations. You can check to see if your wallet supports SegWit by looking for the “SegWit” logo. If your wallet doesn’t support SegWit, you may want to consider switching to a different wallet.
- Use a Lightning Network. The Lightning Network is a new system that allows for very fast BTC transactions. However, it is still in the early stages of development and may not be available in your wallet yet.
- Wait for a better time. If you can’t do any of the above, you may just have to wait for a better time to make your transaction. Network traffic is constantly changing, so there may be a time when confirmations are much faster.
How do you transfer Bitcoin between wallets?
If you want to send BTC from one wallet to another, you’ll need to know the address of the other wallet. Once you have the address, you can enter it into your own wallet and send the BTC. The process is similar to sending an email — you’ll need to enter the address, specify the amount of BTC you want, and then hit the “send” button.
Most wallets will also allow you to scan a QR code instead of entering the address manually. This can be helpful if you’re sending BTC to someone in person. To do this, you’ll need to open your wallet’s QR code scanner and scan the other person’s QR code.
Will BTC transactions ever be faster?
BTC transaction times will likely get faster in the future. The Lightning Network is a new protocol that allows for instant, confirmed BTC transactions. The Lightning Network is still developing, but some wallets and exchanges are already using it.
It’s also worth noting that the Bitcoin network is constantly being improved. The developers are always working on ways to make the network faster and more efficient. So, while BTC transaction times may not be fast right now, they’re likely to get better in the future.
Along with transaction speed, a big issue for Bitcoin transactions is the cost of transferring BTC. Transaction fees have been rising in recent years as the network has become more congested. Hopefully, as technology changes and transaction fees decrease, Bitcoin payments will become more widespread. Until then, you can only get better transaction speeds by paying more or using several tools such as SegWit or the Lightning Network.
In any case, it’s important to remember that Bitcoin is still an experimental technology. It’s constantly evolving and improving, so the transaction speed issue is likely to be resolved in the future.