How Long Does It Take To Transfer Bitcoins Between Wallets?
✍️ 2 December, 2022 - 14:14 👤 Editor: Jakub Motyka
- Transactions in the largest blockchain take up to an hour to clear.
- There is the option of zero-confirmation, which take seconds, although it is less secure. So, how long does it take to transfer Bitcoins (BTC) between wallets?
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Although Bitcoin (BTC) is the largest blockchain –used as a peer-to-peer version of electronic cash– it faces a major challenge of slow transactions. On average, Bitcoin transactions across wallets take between 10 minutes to 1 hour, with one confirmation taking approximately 10 minutes.
A merchant transaction moving from one wallet to the next will require two confirmations, meaning it will take about 20 minutes to complete. Technically, a conformation means transactions being included in a block -a bundle of Bitcoin transactions. On average, the Bitcoin network handles seven transactions per second and up to 4,000 transactions in a single block.
Confirmation time takes even longer on exchanges –which requires up to 6 confirmations. Since one confirmation takes 10 minutes, transactions between Bitcoin wallets from one exchange to another will take approximately an hour.
However, there is a shortcut. Merchants can use zero-confirmation in transactions to accept payments, which takes between 5 to 10 seconds. However, there is a risk of double spending (described as duplicating digital assets in a blockchain) in such transactions.
A High Demand For Bitcoin Transactions Increases Transactions Fees
Of importance to note is that Bitcoin transactions are based on the economic law of demand and supply. When there is surge in transaction orders, users will pay high fees, and the reverse is true. So what happens if a user sends a transaction with lower fees?
The transaction will be held in the Mempool -a queue of unconfirmed transactions waiting to be added to a block- until the fees drop to match the request. That will also depend on the wallet used -it could be manual or automatic. Automatic wallets decide the transaction fees to be paid, while the manual ones allow users to choose the amount of fees they want to pay.
That said, a transaction can remain in the Memepool for months. The solution is that a user can increase fees or initiate another transaction with higher fees. In that case, the transaction with a higher amount will help clear the 'stuck' transaction.
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- bitcoin-speed: Unsplash
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