A question we’ve been getting a lot recently is, “Why is my Bitcoin taking so long to confirm?” Not just on some of the bitcoins that we send out to sellers but also on bitcoins we’re receiving from buyers. Let’s go into detail on this, but first let me clarify on what a confirmation is.
What is a Bitcoin confirmation?
When Bitcoin is sent, it is initially “unconfirmed”. The transaction is broadcast to the network, but the miners haven’t placed it into the block chain yet; it is still in their “mempool”. Miners add transactions to blocks (to be added to the block chain) by completing proof of work. Usually they select transactions with higher fees included first. That means if you’re sending bitcoins to somebody and you want the transaction to be confirmed more quickly, you just need to pay higher fees. Confirmations are just blocks that have been mined after the block containing your transaction.
Currently the maximum block size is only 1MB. This worked fine for awhile, but with Bitcoin’s recent surge in popularity, it’s no longer viable. The average size of a transaction is 500 bytes. Since blocks also contain a little more data than just the transactions, this means that on average each block has a maximum of 1,999 transactions. The mempool is now consistently full.
What we’re doing about it
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot that we at Rocketr can necessarily do about it. Our Bitcoin nodes are all running Bitcoin Unlimited to help signal to miners that the network is ready for larger blocks. We regularly modify the fees we pay when sending bitcoins so that they reach our sellers within a reasonable time frame, but we can’t control how quickly we receive bitcoins from buyers because that’s ultimately related to the fees they paid for their transaction. Users can submit transactions to ViaBTC’s Transaction Accelerator manually to help speed up confirmation time.