Dramatic increases in trade delays; the average transaction has been clocking at around 43 minutes to process Some transactions experiencing complete failure (i.e., the transaction remaining unverified indefinitely) Concerns about Bitcoin becoming currency for terrorists and cyber-criminals, which could lead to governments shutting Bitcoin down. The recent issues plaguing the Bitcoin blockchain and delayed transaction confirmations has made its way to mainstream media outlets all over the world once again. Some are even calling this recent issue a sign of how Bitcoin payments are failing. View All Transactions Buy, Swap and Store Crypto Buying crypto like Bitcoin and Ether is as easy as verifying your identity, adding a payment method and clicking "Buy".
Bitcoin transaction delaysHow to Fix Pending Bitcoin Transactions ( Updated)
No innovation is without growing pains, and people tend to forget Bitcoin has only been around for just over seven years. Comparing this to traditional finance, where payment issues are a monthly occurrence despite services existing for several decades, there is no reason to put Bitcoin in an extra negative spotlight.
That being said, it is not the first time issues arise in the Bitcoin world either. Various community members have been advocating changes to the core protocol, without much success so far. Scalability was always an issue for the future, yet this network hiccup proved to be quite the reality check for all developers. There was only one way to ensure Bitcoin transactions would get through on time, and that was by paying a higher transaction fee.
Unlike traditional finance, where consumers and businesses are at the mercy of banks and central authorities, Bitcoin users can take matters into their own hands to move money around the world. Granted, paying a higher fee is not an appropriate solution, but at least, the option is there. What the media seems to be focusing on is the ongoing political debate that has been haunting Bitcoin for several months now.
On the one hand, Bitcoin Core developers are looking to take the slower and steady approach to addressing the issue. Bitcoin Classic, on the other hand, wants to deal with key problems right now, although their solution is far more risky.
It is of the utmost importance developers come to an agreement as to how they will make the Bitcoin network scalable. Instead of bickering with each other, they should join forces to come up with solutions. The network can become congested at times, which means that transactions can take a little longer than usual to be confirmed.
It goes into the Mempool short for memory pool , which is basically a waiting area for unconfirmed transactions. This site shows the current state of the Bitcoin Mempool. The different colors represent different fee-levels. Blue is for transactions with satoshis per byte, green for , and so on as per the legend on the left. As you might expect, the higher the fee, the quicker it will be processed. Every transaction has to be checked and confirmed by the computers that maintain a full copy of the Bitcoin blockchain.
They do this by verifying your transaction against the history of the blockchain. This is a computationally-intensive process, and one of the major features that gives the Bitcoin network its strength.
Nodes - also called miners - are compensated for this work with the fees that every sender must pay to send a transaction. Once the nodes are satisfied that your transaction is legitimate, it is accepted into a block and broadcast on the network.
At this point, your transaction has one confirmation. As other nodes pick up the block and verify it, the number of confirmations will increase. No waiting for checks to clear, no chargebacks, no account freezes, no minimum balance, no maximum balance, worldwide access, always open, no waiting for business hours to make transactions, no waiting for an account to be approved before transacting, open an account in a few seconds, as easy as email, no bank account needed, extremely poor people can use it, extremely wealthy people can use it, no printing press, no hyper-inflation, no debt limit votes, no bank bailouts, completely voluntary.
This sounds like the best payment system in the world! There are a number of reasons your transaction may be unconfirmed. Each transaction takes the same amount of hash power to confirm, regardless of size. This can create a bottleneck at times of high congestion, where not even small transactions can sneak through. Fluctuating network hash power can influence this, too. When a disequilibrium occurs, prices change to rebalance the network.
For example, some recent research uncovered one reason for recurring spikes in network congestion and subsequent spikes in transaction fees. This was an inadvertent effect of BitMex processing all withdrawals at the same time each day. They have since announced that they will begin batching transactions, which spreads them out across the day and reduces congestion. The lower the fee, the less incentive miners have to verify your transaction. While some BitPay merchants may choose to fulfill orders on payments with fewer block confirmations, you will need at least one block confirmation before your order can be considered complete.
If your transaction confirms and the merchant does not fulfill your order, you don't need to reach out to BitPay. Because block sizes are limited, it's important for bitcoin miners to know which transactions they should include in blocks first.
Miners use prices to figure this out. When you broadcast a transaction, your total amount sent usually includes a "miner fee" which goes to pay miners. If you want your transaction to leave the bitcoin mempool and be added to a block quickly, it's important that you include a sufficient miner fee. This is why we strongly suggest using the BitPay wallet or another true bitcoin wallet that can dynamically calculate the miner fee needed for timely block confirmations. For reference, the website bitcoinfees.
Transactions are being added to the bitcoin mempool's full queue constantly. Some may have been sent with higher miner fees than the one sent with your payment. This means that with current network traffic, miners may deprioritize your unconfirmed transaction even if it was sent with an appropriate fee at the time.
Your transaction will likely confirm, but if the Bitcoin network does not confirm it, it be spendable again in your wallet. Funds are spendable again in the BitPay wallet after transactions fail to confirm for up to 72 hours, but other wallets may behave differently. If you are not using the BitPay wallet, you should contact your wallet provider for help if your unconfirmed funds do not show up as spendable again after a few days.