This is one of the most common doubts that many people have about Bitcoin. But when it comes to transferring Bitcoins, there’s no fixed amount of time within which your transaction can be made. It depends on the quantum of the amount you are trying to transfer and the network load at that time.
Every Bitcoin transaction is done by a certain procedure called mining. An increase in Bitcoin transactions will make mining more difficult. Confirming the transactions and adding blocks over it to secure the transaction, takes time. In the last few years, the overall Bitcoin transactions have been very high. Because of which users had to wait for hours and days to get the Bitcoins into their accounts. On average, transferring bitcoins takes around 5 to 60 minutes.
To understand how long bitcoin transactions may take, it’s important to understand what really happens when we make a bitcoin transaction.
FACTORS AFFECTING A BITCOIN TRANSACTION
The primary factors affecting bitcoin transactions are load on the bitcoin network and transaction fee attached to a BTC transaction.
The load on the bitcoin network is referred to the number of transactions made at a particular time. The higher the number of transactions, the more will the Bitcoin Servers require to process them. This is because the number of miners is limited and the transaction can only be processed in 1MB block size of Bitcoin. Furthermore, the transaction fees decide the priority of the transaction. The higher the transaction fees, the faster your transaction will be. If your transaction fees are very less, then your transaction will be picked at last.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU SEND A BITCOIN?
When you send a bitcoin, the software broadcasts a message to the bitcoin network informing everyone about your transaction. When someone agrees to mine(the transaction network) it, they get 0.0001 bitcoin as a transaction fee. Bitcoin miners receive transactions and add them to their unconfirmed transaction which is also known as BITCOIN mempool.
The miners make a bundle of transactions with a maximum holding of 3000. This limit leads the miners to add transactions with the highest transaction fees. On average, one block is mined every 10 minutes, so if you pay a high enough transaction fee, your transaction should get confirmed (mined) within ten minutes. This is just an average time because blocks can sometimes take under a minute or, over an hour.
BITCOIN TRANSACTION CONFIRMATION
A Bitcoin transaction is validated only when a miner verifies the block. So, if you pay a higher transaction fee, a miner would be more eager to take your block. Ultimately helping your transaction pass through faster. When the transaction is mined into the first block, it changes from unconfirmed to “confirmed with one confirmation”. Each block added after your block gives your transaction another confirmation. Miners keep adding more blocks over you, so there won’t be a chain split that can remove your block.
If you are sending a small amount, then you can take the risk of accepting just one confirmation. For larger transactions, the general rule is to wait for six confirmations. Which takes about one hour, before approving the transaction. For enormous amounts, users wait for around a day or two before finally the approval.
HOW TO TRANSFER BITCOINS FASTER?
Because of the lengthy confirmation process, transferring bitcoins takes time. But there are few ways to make your transaction go through quickly:
- First, the simplest way. The miners tend to make your Bitcoin transactions faster if you pay a higher transaction fee. Hence, if you can afford to pay a higher transaction fee, it’ll allow your transaction to skip the long queue.
- The main objective of programs like Lightning Network is to minimize the Bitcoin transaction time. To achieve that, developers created an extra membrane on top of the Bitcoin blockchain to accelerate things. You can take advantage of this program as well.
- Another method is to use different cryptocurrencies rather than BTC. For example, cryptos such as Litecoin, Ethereum are known for their quick transaction processes.
After reading all of this, did you wonder what the Bitcoin development team is doing to make the process faster? After all, it is the oldest and the biggest cryptocurrency in the world.
Developers know about the problem that users face. That’s why they are working on various solutions such as Segwit, Schnorr signatures, and lightning networks through which Bitcoin transactions can be made instantly.