Why is My Bitcoin Transaction Still Unconfirmed?

Chances are most of your Bitcoin transactions have been quickly confirmed. It takes two confirmations from the network before your balance is fully available in your Paxful wallet. This is the industry standard for a truly secure wallet. This can take anywhere from five minutes to an hour, depending on the Bitcoin network. However, some Bitcoin transactions can take longer to be confirmed by miners. If you believe your transaction is taking longer than usual to be confirmed it could be due to mempool congestion and fees. 

 

What is Mempool and Mempool Congestion?

Mempool is short for “memory” and “pool”. It is a way for Bitcoin to store unconfirmed transactions before being confirmed in the blockchain. It can be likened to waiting rooms at a doctor's office. 

Mempool congestion is when there are many unconfirmed Bitcoin transactions waiting to be confirmed to the blockchain by miners, and this is similar to when waiting rooms are full of people to see different doctors. Mempool congestion can be caused by two things:

  • Transaction volume is high

This means the number of transactions waiting to be confirmed on the blockchain is high, and the volume of confirmations needed can’t be processed fast enough. This can be likened to when doctors are overwhelmed by the number of patients that are in the waiting room.

  • Trade hash decreased abruptly

When the trade hash decreases abruptly, it means that there are not enough miners to confirm each transaction. This is similar to when there are not enough doctors to see waiting patients. Because of this the patients or in this case, the Bitcoin confirmations must wait longer.

 

How Do My Transaction Fees Relate to My Waiting Time?

It’s a misconception that there is one universal mempool. This is not the case as each transaction is unique and miners have different methods of confirming each transaction to the blockchain. With various fees tied to each unique transaction, miners are likely to process transactions with higher fees faster as they collect some of the fees. If you sent or bought a lower amount of Bitcoin and paid a lower fee, you may have to wait longer.

 

What Should I Do If My Bitcoin Transaction is Unconfirmed?

It’s rare that a transaction never settles on the blockchain, as most transactions will settle within 72 hours. In most cases, Paxful advises you to wait 72 hours before resending the transaction. If the transaction never makes it to the blockchain after 72 hours, your Bitcoin can be found in the wallet it was originally sent from. 

For more information on checking your transaction status, visit our help center article: How to Check Bitcoin Transaction Status

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