On the Bitcoin network, the average confirmation time for a BTC payment is about 10 minutes. However, transaction times can vary wildly — and here, we're going to explain why.
Ahhh blockchain. It's the future of money, you know. But even though cash sent through old-fashioned banks often hit accounts instantly, a Bitcoin
transaction can take a *little bit* longer.
On the Bitcoin network, the average confirmation time for a BTC payment
is about 10 minutes. However, transaction times can vary wildly.
This is because it is affected by factors such as the 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 users paying more in transaction fees to get transactions to go through faster. This occured in April 2021, where average Bitcoin transaction fees reached $59
A mempool is a record of all Bitcoin transactions that have not yet been validated by a miner and added to the next block on the blockchain. A mempool is temporarily stored on each individual node in 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 cleared (processed) once they meet the minimum transaction fee threshold.
Transactions with low fees will often have to “wait” 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
In some ways, using a cryptocurrency
is like driving down a freeway. A high number of BTC transactions means there's going to be a lot of congestion, slowing everything down.
Paying bigger Bitcoin transaction fees is a surefire way to jump to the front of the queue and cut wait times. It's the equivalent of passing through traffic with a police escort.
When you are sending Bitcoin
, you need to incentivize miners on the blockchain to include your transaction in the next block — especially when the mempool is full. Given how block sizes are fixed at 1MB and there's a limited number of miners, you may end up having to pay a much higher fee to get first-class treatment.
Once a new transaction is verified and included in a new block, it will count as one confirmation. After an average of 10 minutes, another block will be created with that transaction, which will count two confirmation. Some services only require one confirmation, while some exchanges required 3 or more BTC confirmations.
, 1 block confirmation is needed for BTC deposits, while 2 block confirmations is needed for Bitcoin withdrawals.
, it requires 3 block confirmations before considering the BTC transaction final.
A Bitcoin transaction often goes through several confirmations on the blockchain before it is fully cleared. That's because there's a risk that unconfirmed transactions could be reversed, or the cryptocurrency could be spent twice. A confirmation takes place whenever a new block is created.
If you're transferring a big amount of cryptocurrency to a company, some will require as many as six confirmations. How long would this transaction for the transfer take to confirm? About an hour.
Remember, each time you send a transaction, you are making a transfer (or transfers) and you need to wait until the transfer is “confirmed” by the miners.
There are some great tools out there which can give you an estimate of the average time it'll take to complete a BTC transaction or transfer, like Blockchain.com
. You can also get guidance on the transaction fees you should add — often denoted in the form of satoshis (there are 100,000,000 satoshis in one Bitcoin).
If you submit a Bitcoin transaction with lower fees, you have a real risk of upsetting Bitcoin miners. They'll throw a tantrum (or, in reality, will just ignore your lower transaction fees in favor of higher ones) and it's possible your payment will end up languishing in a long list of unconfirmed transactions. However, you shouldn't worry too much, as it will get processed whenever there's a massive lull on the Bitcoin blockchain and miners have nothing else to do.
To check if your Bitcoin transaction has been validated by miners, you can do so through a blockchain explorer
. For instance, by using CoinMarketCap blockchain explorer
and inputting the Bitcoin transaction hash
, you are able to see the status of your Bitcoin transaction and whether it is valid.
The long confirmation time associated with a Bitcoin transaction or transfer gives some BTC enthusiasts sleepless nights. They worry the blockchain won't be able to cope with demand in years to come. (Fun fact: this was one of the main reasons why Bitcoin Cash
Besides 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 for avoid congestion. On blockchain.com explorer
, the mempool size chart shows when the number of unconfirmed transactions is at its lowest.
Scaling solutions such as the Lightning Network
aim to solve this problem by adding another layer on top of the Bitcoin blockchain to speed things up. It aims to introduce the capability of micropayments that are cheap and fast, solving a major scalability issue of Bitcoin.
Another alternative to Bitcoin fees is to use a different cryptocurrency, such as Ethereum
, that are known for faster transactions, aka faster confirmations after transfers. It's fairly easy to transfer Bitcoins to other digital assets on an exchange
We hope you've enjoyed our FAQ about how long a Bitcoin transaction takes to be confirmed. By following our advice, you'll be out of the Bitcoin mempool in no time.