Unconfirmed Bitcoin Transactions: What Are They And How To Handle Them?
Unconfirmed Bitcoin Transactions….
Are you in this situation? You are sending Bitcoin to a peer. You initiate the transaction. However, as the expert says, the reason for favoring Bitcoin offer other forms of payments is the limited time of completing transactions.
In fact, the best word is to say the transactions are instant. But wait. After initiating your transaction, you get message or display showing its pending and remain so for a couple of days.
Now, you are wondering what is wrong with your account since, upon checking, it shows the transaction is verified. Before getting into the reasons why this happens, it is important to understand what unconfirmed transactions mean.
What is an unconfirmed Bitcoin Transaction?
To understand this concept, you need to know how Bitcoin transaction takes place. When you initiate a transaction, it is taken through various computers across the globe. The aim is to check its validity.
Upon its validations, it is verified and put on the waiting list or the Mempool. A transaction at this stage is the one referred to as unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction. The transaction is so because a Bitcoin miner is yet to pick it and register it on the public ledger – the blockchain. As you know, adding the block of transactions in the blockchain happens at an interval of a minimum of 10 minutes.
Nevertheless, your transaction may take more than 10 minutes to be confirmed. In the real sense, some takes days or weeks. But why does this happen?
Here are the reasons:
a) Overloading on the blockchain
Just like the way you are looking on to buy Bitcoins, millions of people are in the same race. This means there is an increase in the number of transactions that need to be processed. However, the blockchain has a limit on the number of transaction that can be confirmed at a given period. Hence, until a miner picks your transaction, it has to remain as unconfirmed or pending.
b) Low miner fee
Even though transacting with Bitcoin is free, you need to pay a mining fee. If you didn’t know, miners get their payment from the processing/mining fee from the transactions they enter in the blockchain. Like any other person, a priority of confirming the transaction is based on the amount of mining fee you are paying.
If you offer a low mining fee, then the miners will first select the ones with a favorable fee before coming back to yours. Most likely, your transaction can take forever or face cancellation if no miner is willing to take your offer. So, if you want instant transaction confirmation, offering a higher miner fee is not optional.
Maybe you are now asking; how do you determine the miners’ fee to ensure the shortest duration of the unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction state? Worry not.
All Bitcoin wallets suggest the amount of miner fee that will enhance your transaction confirmation. So unless you change it, you already know what to pay for your Bitcoin transaction to go through faster.
What if your transactions are not confirmed?
If no miner picks your transactions, they remain in the mempool. They stay in this state until a good-hearted person feels mercy for you and decide to take your pretty pennies. Otherwise, it is dropped from the system.
Since you cannot reverse a Bitcoin transaction, your transaction expires you can lose the coins unless your Bitcoin wallet can rebroadcast your expired transactions.
In a word, an unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction is one which no miner has picked it to enter it on the blockchain. Your transaction can take long before confirmation due to either overloading in the system, or the mining fee you are offering is too low.