How Long Does it Take to Transfer or send Crypto?
Why certain blockchains take so long to transfer tokens
The average user is familiar with processing and completing fiat currency transactions in seconds. But do you know if cryptocurrency works in the same way? Are they lightning-fast?
The answer to that question isn't a simple Yes or No; it hinges on several factors, and this article seeks to explain these factors and highlight the expected timeframe.
Bitcoin transfer times can range from as little as 10 minutes to hours, days, or even a week or more. This is mainly because miners need to validate transactions, which can sometimes delay the network.
Transactions are added to blocks that require verification and are added to the public Blockchain. The default time to mine a block is 10 minutes.
A transaction is confirmed when a miner processes a block containing the transaction. If fees are high, miners are more likely to process transactions quickly. Most exchanges charge a small fee to ensure that your trades are processed within a certain amount of time.
If your funds are unpaid after a while, you are at no risk of losing them permanently. They are either confirmed at some point or "forgotten" by the node after a certain amount of time and become accessible again in the wallet.
If you need a Bitcoin transaction urgently, there are two ways to speed it up. Child Pays For Parent (CPFP) and Replace by Fee (RBF) transactions.
How long Does It take for a Transaction To process?
The processing time for a transaction depends on the use case and can differ respectively. Generally speaking, your Bitcoin transactions could get completed in a matter of seconds, but it can also take as long as an hour; however, The average time frame for a transaction to get completed is between 10-20 minutes. In that time frame, however, many things influence when the transaction gets completed.
On The Highway of crypto transactions are a lot of commuters, hence the usual heavy traffic. This traffic is down to many people trying to access the technology, that is, the Blockchain, which frequently causes transactions to take longer than usual.
Another factor that a transaction's speed hinges on are the operators in charge of it. Certain operators take longer to process fees and transactions even before the miners can verify them, thereby increasing the number of steps needed before a transaction can be completed.
Another factor that influences transaction speed/completion is Verification priority. As universal as the crypto market should be, certain operators prioritize their customer's transactions.
Their transactions will be in the "fast lane" of verification through the Blockchain. Operators that do not use this strategy will have much longer transaction times.
For tokens like ETH, you’ll be spending on a Gwei fee which can change the transaction speed. With the alphaday Dashboard, you can keep track of the current Gwei with the Gas Fees widget.
What Happens If My Crypto Transaction Gets Stuck?
Alright, here is a fundamental question, the upside being that it has remedial solutions.
Let's begin with why transactions get stuck in the first place: Your transaction could get stuck if you set a low transaction fee, and setting a fee deemed too low implies miners will have to fill the blocks open to them with transactions that pay way higher fees.
In this case, your transaction will be stuck and left unconfirmed, except the transaction volume decreases, which only sometimes happens.
It Is to be noted, however, that your funds don't stand the risk of getting permanently lost should your transaction be pending. A Pending transaction has two eventualities: It gets confirmed after a while, or it gets "forgotten" by nodes after some time and returned to your wallet.
How To Speed Up A Stuck Transaction?
In the case of a stuck transaction, though, there are two major ways to speed it along.
Child Pays For Parent (CPFP) Transactions: A CPFP transaction allows the potential recipient of the stuck transaction to pay, allowing an incoming stuck transaction more desirable to miners. They achieve this by sending a second child transaction with a high fee.
Since the child transaction can only be confirmed after the original parent, miners must complete both. This, however, doesn't guarantee inclusion in the next block but certainly improves one's chances. For this to work, the overall fee for both transactions has to be significantly above the required fee. There is a simple interface for CPFP on most wallets, but your experience might still differ.
Replace by Fee (RBF) Transactions: A Lot has been said about RBF with many variants, but the basic fact about it is that; RBF will allow you to pay/increase the fee paid on your stuck transaction. Your transaction being stuck due to low fees Can now be sped up; this process can best be explained using these hypothetical examples:
A user pays the lowest transaction fee possible for a transaction – 1sat. The transaction tarries in the mempool for days with no confirmations until it's realized the transaction won't be completed Any time soon.
They choose not to wait for any further and then broadcast a new transaction similar to the previous one, but this time one that incorporates a higher fee.
By mining this new transaction, miners will get fees from the original transaction and that of the new transaction.
Note that RBF must be enabled in your wallet before sending such a transaction. RBF-compatible wallets include Bitnob, Binance, Abra, etc.
Before performing any of these things, ensure you check on your transaction with a block explorer that will give you an estimated time for completion. You can also use the BTC Transaction accelerator to speed up your transaction. This can either be free or paid software that requires the mining pool to include the transaction in its next block despite its low fee.
How To Prevent Bitcoin Transactions From Getting Stuck?
Your transaction has now been completed and is no longer stuck, but you must ensure it doesn't happen again. How do you see to that?
The answer is pretty simple and logical if you have followed the article keenly up until this point: pay an appropriate fee on your transaction, which is in line with the current congestion.
You can visit some Bitcoin fee estimation sites such as mempool and BTC network to get additional guidance. Getting a completely accurate prediction is impossible, but these sites indicate how the transaction may play out.
The metrics these sites use to determine the eventuality of these transactions are things like network congestion and recently confirmed transactions, things you can equally check by yourself.
You can skip paying extra to speed up your transactions. There are smart ways to navigate these transactions, with you paying the same fee but still having them completed faster.
A little tip for you is to have your large volume of Bitcoin transactions done on the weekends because, during this period, the Bitcoin network is typically utilized less.
Ultimately, it all comes down to balancing speed and fees. If you are looking to save as much money as you can, then it's advised you send a conservative fee to begin with, although risky if trying to complete a time-sensitive transaction.
A perfect scenario would be you being able to send a perfectly balanced fee every time, but congestion happens rapidly to deter this. Tools like RBF and CPFP would always come in handy in cases like this, but you can always place priorities depending on how important and time-sensitive the transaction is.
Bitcoin transfers are almost instant for small transactions but can take up to an hour or days, depending on the value of the Bitcoin being sent. A general rule of thumb is to wait for six confirmations, which takes about an hour, before accepting that a Bitcoin transaction is final.
If you want your Bitcoin transactions to be sent as quickly as possible, make sure to include a high enough transaction fee so that enough miners will prioritize your transaction over other low-fee transactions.
Bitcoin transactions cannot be instant, but if you are looking for such a payment experience, you can buy from merchants that accept transactions without verification or try using the Lightning Network.