How long Does Bitcoin take to transfer? The Facts!


Have you send a Bitcoin transaction and are now waiting for confirmations? How long does Bitcoin take to transfer entirely depends upon the network congestion. It can be from a few minutes to even hours or days, depending on the fees and size of mempool. There were instances where people have to wait for two weeks to get their transaction to pass through. Well, this is not something to scare you but enhance your understanding regarding Bitcoin transaction confirmation.

Before we move forward. Let’s have some highlights about the Bitcoin network

  • Bitcoin average Block time is 10 Minutes. This means the least it can take Bitcoin transaction for getting the first confirmation is 10 minutes.
  • People mining Bitcoin have a limited amount of hashrate. They can’t process your transaction on their own; instead, the algorithm picks the most profitable transaction to mine, and the profitability depends on fees.
  • At times, the Bitcoin network can have a large number of unconfirmed transactions. The number of such transaction keeps changing by almost every second.  In addition, you can see the number of unconfirmed transactions any here.

As a matter of through, remember that the Bitcoin blockchain is processing numerous transaction on a daily basis. This means that more transaction the more time it will take to have confirmations.  The bitcoin community has set 6 Confirmations as a standard for determining completion of a Bitcoin transaction, and many exchanges or payment processor do not entertain anything below.

Factors affecting the time it takes for Bitcoin transfer

Network Fees

Miners are smart, and so are the machines. Nobody is willing to confirm transaction for a lesser reward if one with higher fees is already waiting in the Bitcoin memepool. Besides, miners only have a limited amount of hashpower, and they wouldn’t be willing to invest in Bitcoin mining if it keeps grabbing some low Satoshi fees transaction to mine. Further, the cost of mining also adds to the Intrinsic value of Bitcoin, and as an investor, you wouldn’t want it to decrease.

In other words, the “Fees” decide as to which transaction will be included in the next block. The block is capped at 1MB so it can not include all of it and thus ends up prioritizing the Bitcoin transactions. Theoretically, if your transaction fee is low, the time it will take for Bitcoin transfer is more.

A good way to reduce this factor from stranding your Bitcoin transfer is by having an insight into prevailing Bitcoin network fees here. Although, if you are using a wallet such as Coins.ph or Coinbase, they will automatically calculate the optimal fees for you.

Fact: More fees might mean a faster transaction. However, there are a significant number of users looking to have quick network confirmations, and this can still cause a delay in your transaction.

Average-Confirmation-Time-Blockchain

Network Congestion

More fees don’t always mean a fast Bitcoin transfer. Instead, network congestion can heavily influence the time it can take for the transaction to confirm. Network congestion refers to the heap of transactions waiting to pass through the network. If you are paying high fees such as $1 but many others are paying $3 then you are again stuck with your transaction.

In fact, back in December 2017 average Bitcoin fee was $40. Despite this, the time it was taking for a successful average Bitcoin transfer was a whopping 30 HOURS! But don’t need to panic as several online tools can give you an insight into the current transaction confirmation time. One of the popular among them is Blockchain.com Average Bitcoin Average Confirmation Time Graph.

So, What is Next?

Already got frustrated how tricky could be at times of popularity to transfer Bitcoin? Don’t worry; you can always use Bitcoin Segwit Activated Wallets that can easily speed up the transaction while reducing the fees. There is also a debate about scaling issues among the Bitcoin community, which lead to the creation of Bitcoin Cash.

To fix the scaling issues, many community members suggest increasing the Bitcoin Block size so it can hold more transactions. While others focus on fixing the scalability issues using Lightning Network, Segwit, and other measures. Though the community is still undecided, only the time and maybe the next Crypto bull run might decide the optimal solution.

Despite the popularity, the actual time transaction time Bitcoin would take looks undecided. In conclusion, how long does Bitcoin take to transfer depends upon the current network fees and congestion and can greatly vary over the period. It can be in some minutes, hours or even days not depending on your luck but the factors above.

Anyhow, you can speed up your Bitcoin transaction confirmation using the tools mentioned at the end of this post.

How long does a bitcoin transaction take 2020?

As of now, the current bitcoin transaction time is 20 minutes if you are spending around $1.5 on the Tx fees. However, the confirmation time and transaction fees change based on Bitcoin’s price making it quite unfeasible to predict Bitcoin transaction time in 2020. Although, with the incoming halving this year and positive market sentiments it is likely that the confirmation time for a transaction in 2020 with a fee of $1.5 will reach up to 1 Hour.

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