Friday, December 6, 2019

How Long Does It Take To Transfer Bitcoins And Why?

Grace Joseph
Freelance Writer, Blogger, and Crypto Enthusiast. Studied Computer Science in University and Undergoing a Masters Degree Programme in Computer Engineering [email protected] [email protected]

Bitcoin transactions take time to be confirmed and that’s a widely known fact that even the Lightning network seeks to address. It will take 6 confirmations for a transaction to be marked complete on the blockchain. But how long does it take to transfer Bitcoin from one wallet to another and what influences its price? Read on to find out!

Bitcoin can handle 3.8 to 7 transactions per second, which is quite small in comparison with Ripple’s XRP which handles up to 1500 every second. That aside, the speed of a Bitcoin transaction is greatly determined by the transaction fee and the load on the network on a particular day. Let’s take a look at each.

Bitcoin Transaction Fees:

The higher you’re willing to pay as fees to get your Bitcoin delivered, the faster it gets confirmed. Once it is confirmed, such funds cannot be reversed and there cannot be double spending. Also, the more you’re going to spend on fees, the higher the priority miners give to your transfer and as such, it gets added on the blockchain faster.

To determine how fast that will be, these are usually denoted as next block (10 mins), three blocks (30 mins), and six blocks (1 hr.). The higher the number of blocks, the lesser you are going to pay. For instance, to send a transaction using the next block, 3 blocks, and 6 blocks as of today is $2.04, $2.04, and $2.01 respectively.

Load on the Network:

If more transactions are pending to be confirmed in a day, then it can slow down the entire process. The latter is as a result of a limited number of transactions that can be supported in a 1 Mb block size of Bitcoin. The number of miners to add such transactions on the blockchain are also limited.

In such a case, transactions whose fees are higher are prioritized which can cause those with lower fees to take hours even days to be confirmed. As at December 2017 when Bitcoin hit its all-time high of $20,000, one could pay a fee as high as $50 to see their funds delivered on time

Bitcoin’s Lightning Network Speeds up Transactions

The Lightning network (LN) was launched in March 2018 in a bid to combat Bitcoin’s scalability issue and allow more transactions to be processed in a second. LN is a second layer payment protocol on Bitcoin’s blockchain and it makes use of a payment channel.

The channel can be opened between parties that want to transact and left open until transactions are complete. These transactions are only recorded on the blockchain after the channel has been closed which helps to process more transactions and reduce fees.

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