Did your Bitcoin transaction ever get stuck and you had to wait for hours for your bitcoins to reach your wallet? Have you ever wondered why it takes more than 10 minutes to receive BTC? Here, we’ll try to solve all your doubts.
In this article, we’ll discover the cause for all of this, that way, you’ll get a better idea of how much time is required to confirm a transfer so it can finally reach the wallet, and why.
How long does it take to transfer BTC to a wallet?
The shortest answer is that a Bitcoin transaction can take between 60 minutes to a full day or two to be confirmed. You may think I’m exaggerating, but you better keep reading.
But before we move on to that, we need to understand the factors that affect the time it takes to make a Bitcoin transaction. There are two main factors, which are:
- Bitcoin network load
- Transaction fee associated with a BTC transfer
The Bitcoin network load refers to the number of transactions that the Bitcoin blockchain is processing in a day. The greater the number of transactions, the longer it’ll take to process them all, that’s a no-brainer. But the reason may not be as obvious for everyone.
This happens because there’s a limited number of miners (or what is called hash power) and only a limited number of transactions can be processed in a 1MB Bitcoin block. (Our guide explains what Bitcoin mining is, and can help explain this a bit better).
Meanwhile, the commission we’ve opted to pay for our transaction sets its priority in the 1 MB block, and miners will prefer transactions with higher commissions. Therefore, in theory, the delay may be indefinite, because if a transaction has a very low commission, it will always be in the last place and never get picked. That’s basically what makes transactions take so long.
The most extreme case happened on December 17th, when Bitcoin transaction commissions reached $40-$50, which left all transactions with lower commissions ‘stuck’…
The current time for Bitcoin transaction get confirmed
In addition to the two aforementioned conditions, there’s a fixed time of 10 minutes, which is what miners take to validate the Bitcoin blocks. But this only happens when your transactions have been selected and included in the block. Otherwise, your transactions will remain unconfirmed in the Bitcoin mempool. To verify the mempool in real time you need to visit this website.
Assuming that your transactions were included in the block and mined, you’ll receive the first confirmation within 10 minutes and the other 5 in the following 50 minutes. To consider a BTC transaction as carried out successfully, you need to wait for at least 6 confirmations.
That’s why transferring bitcoins to a wallet actually takes at least 60 minutes, at best. Otherwise, it can take more time. In the past, people have had to wait up to 7-8 days for a transaction to be completed. We don’t intend to scare you with this, but to help you understand the factors that can affect the confirmation.
In some cases, depending on the network load the commissions, transactions confirmations occurred in less than 60 minutes. You’ll be able to see the average here, so you can get an idea of the current state.
However, the current average time for the first confirmation of a Bitcoin transaction is 20-30 minutes. This can decrease greatly if the wallet used has an activated SegWit.
After knowing this you’re probably wondering what the Bitcoin development team is doing to improve this situation. And it’s understandable, since waiting 30-60 minutes to get a confirmation isn’t something anyone expects.
That’s why they are working on solutions like SegWit , Schnorr and Lightning Network signatures, which could make Bitcoin network transactions virtually instantaneous.