How Long Does a Bitcoin Transaction Take?

On average, a transaction takes from 20 minutes to 60 minutes, but at peak times this time can be increased many times over. The number of Bitcoin users and transactions is constantly growing, which, among other factors, creates additional load on the network. As a result, miners do not have time to process all transactions, they accumulate in a queue, and the transfer time increases significantly.

This is Alex, a blockchain guru and cryptocurrency researcher. Is there any hope for improvement shortly because the demand for Bitcoin is growing and will only increase? This article will explain what the transaction time depends on, what it is now and show you how you can speed up Bitcoin hang time.

Factors Affected Bitcoin Transaction Speed

All transfers from one Bitcoin wallet to another occur with some delay, which depends mainly on transaction weight, transaction fee, network load, and additional delays.

Transaction Weight

Each scheduled transaction has a certain weight in bytes, which directly affects the cost, and as a result, the speed of the transaction. The importance of a transaction includes:

  • the number of inputs
  • number of outputs
  • transaction itself

The number of outputs is counted similarly. Adding up all the parameters, the user can determine the number of bytes, that is, the weight of the transaction.

Transaction Fee

The user determines the transaction fee, and the user can specify any amount. However, zero or too little commission can lead to endless delays, i.e., the transaction will not be accepted, and the funds will be returned only after several weeks.

It is essential to understand that the amount of commission is a parameter that does not depend on the size of the transaction. It often happens that a transfer of 50 Bitcoins is more profitable than a trade of 0.1 Bitcoins. The reason is that the size of the recommended premium does not depend on the volume of the transfer but its size (measured in bytes). The transaction volume will be larger the higher the number of linked transactions. View our article about why Bitcoin transaction fee is so high?

Mempool and Transaction Rate

Every Bitcoin transaction must be validated by miners who receive a commission for each validation. To do this, the user must determine the current cost of transferring the amount of data in the network (satoshi/byte), form a transaction, and send it directly to the miners in Bitcoin Mempool.

All transactions in Mempool are ranked according to the amount of commission charged and form a so-called queue. Therefore, the speed of confirmation depends on the total number of transactions and the amount of commission: the higher in the queue it is, the faster it will be included in the block.

Additional Delays

In addition to the standard delays to pay the commission to the miner, there are external delays:

  • The uncertainty and commission of a fiat payment system.
  • Delay and commission of exchange service.

Exchange services are a convenient and straightforward way to exchange cryptocurrencies for fiat money. The service charges an additional fee for this. Also, the exchanger may set a hidden commission to the miner. Non-transparent conditions impose additional costs on the user.

It is possible to determine the miner’s actual fee, established by the exchange service, post factum, based on the speed of the transaction. The exchanger may set a lower fee to save money, thus increasing the time it takes to complete the transaction. Scammers who steal fiat money from unsuspecting users operate on a reduced commission.

Bitcoin Transactions Speed in 2021

And if in the early days of Bitcoin, any transaction was processed within 10 minutes and there was no network fee nowadays, you sometimes have to wait for its confirmation for hours or days. To make a transfer, the transaction must be verified in 6 blocks. If this does not happen, cryptocurrencies will not reach the final recipient. Accordingly, the time of sending finances depends on the speed of confirmations.

It is worth noting that merchants who accept Bitcoin as a means of payment have the right to place individual limits on the number of blocks required to confirm a transaction. As for the “6” parameter, it was chosen to achieve maximum security. The theory is that an attacker would need 10 percent of the network’s total hash rate to forge a transaction. If the confirmation occurs when adding a transaction in six blocks, the risk is minimal.

The site is unstable, and the queue to execute transfers steadily continues to grow. At this rate, even without adding new transactions, it would take more than 8-10 hours to process the existing queue. The waiting time depends on the congestion of the blockchain network. Over the past two years, the number of Bitcoin transactions has increased by more than eight times. In general, Bitcoin holders should expect to wait from 2-3 hours to 2 days.

Transfer processing time may increase in the following cases:

  • excessive network congestion with sharp fluctuations in the Bitcoin exchange rate;
  • low transaction priority (frequent transfers of small amounts);
  • low commission.

There are also spikes in the network when the average number of transactions per block increases and the block size increases to a critical value.

Bitcoin Transaction Acceleration

Let’s look at a few ways to use the blockchain system in high-speed mode:

  • Using centralized services with a separate transaction system. Some resources offer Bitcoin wallet creation and use digital currency transactions between their customers without using the blockchain ecosystem. Such services offer their clients instant transactions, but only if the currency transfer occurs within the system.
  • Using multi-signatures to speed up transaction confirmation in the Bitcoin system. In addition to the standard transaction signature provided by the network, some companies, but their multi-signature, confirm the reliability of the transfer. The blockchain system treats such transactions as reliable, and they are accepted into the generated block faster. Also, the use of multi-signature technology increases the security of cryptocurrency transactions.
  • The use of open transactions and trusted servers. The idea is that a free transaction, when all the information about the sending and receiving parties is present, gets system confirmation faster by accepting the data into the generated block. But few people use open Bitcoin transactions because it contradicts the very idea of using digital currency, namely the anonymity of money transfers.

Final Notes

As you can see from the article, the speed of Bitcoin transactions will only increase over time; you just have to accept that and do some of the preventive manipulations described above to speed up the transaction. We very much hope that you found this helpful article. The Artex Global team publishes articles every week about blockchain, cryptocurrency, and everything related to this changing world, for example, Binarycent cryptocurrency exchange or eToro cryptocurrency exchange. Stay tuned!

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