How Long Does It Take To Transfer Bitcoins And Why?

How Long Does It Take To Transfer BTC To A Wallet

Have your Bitcoin transactions ever got stuck which has made you wait for hours for your bitcoins to arrive in the wallet? Also, have you wondered why it takes more than 10 minutes in receiving your BTC?

We’ve all been there, but how many of us have tried to find an answer to it?

In this post, I’ll walk you through the whole thing, so you get a better understanding of how long does it take to transfer bitcoins between wallets and why.

How Long Does It Take To Transfer BTC To A Wallet?

Long story short, a Bitcoin transaction can take up to 60 minutes or even a day or two to get confirmed.

You think I’m exaggerating? Read on.

But before knowing that, it is imperative to understand what factors affect the transaction time of Bitcoin. And there are primarily two factors, namely:

  • Load on Bitcoin’s network
  • Transaction fee attached to a BTC transaction

The load on the network refers to the number of transactions that the Bitcoin blockchain processes in a day. Needless to state, higher the number of transactions, more the time to process each of them. This is so because there is only a limited number of miners (hash power) and only a limited number of transactions can be processed in 1 Mb block size of Bitcoin. (Understand more about miners in our exclusive Bitcoin mining guide.)

Bitcoin transaction stats

Furthermore, the fee decides which transaction gets the priority in the 1 Mb block, and miner’s prioritize transactions with higher fees attached to them. This delay can theoretically be indefinite because if your transaction fee is very less then chances are your transaction will be picked at last. And most of the delay happens due to this only.

Fun fact: In December 2017, the Bitcoin transaction fees reached $40-$50, leaving transactions with low fees such as $1-$10 stranded.

Bitcoin: The Actual Transaction Time

Apart from the two constraints mentioned above, there is a fixed computational time of 10 minutes which the miners take to mine a valid Bitcoin block. But this is when your transaction is prioritized and included in the block. If it is not, your transactions remain unconfirmed in the Bitcoin mempool. You can check the real-time state of mempool here.

Bitcoin Mempool
Bitcoin Mempool

Assuming your transaction is included in the block and mined, you will get the first confirmation in 10 minutes and other five confirmations in the next 50 minutes.

Note: It is advised to consider a BTC transaction successful when one has received a minimum of 6 confirmations on it.

In light of this fact, it will take a minimum 60 minutes to transfer Bitcoins to a wallet (assuming your transaction is included in the very next block). If not, it can take longer. In the past, people have waited 7-8 days for the transaction to be complete. One thing to understand here is I am not trying to scare you. Instead, I am trying to tell you all the factors that affect transaction confirmation timings.

But there have been cases, depending upon the fees and network load, where transaction confirmations have happened in less than 60 minutes.

Here is the data and below is the chart for the same:

Bitcoin transaction confirmation

However, currently, the average time for the first Bitcoin transaction confirmation is about 20 minutes. Here is the average timing chart for the last 7 days:

Bitcoin transaction average confirmation time

Moreover, you can reduce the transaction fee and shorten this time even more by using segwit enabled wallets. For this, use the tips shared in this write-up: How Much Bitcoin Transaction Fees Should You Pay For Confirmed Transaction?

Having said all this, have you wondered what the Bitcoin development team is doing to ease out the situation?

Well, of course, they know that using currency for which one needs to wait for 30-60 minutes to get confirmation is simply unacceptable. That’s why they are working on solutions such as Segwit, Schnorr signatures, and lightning networks through which Bitcoin transactions will be almost instantaneous.

Hope you found this article insightful. If you like this article, don’t forget to share it on your social media profiles!

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Howdy, Welcome to the popular cryptocurrency blog CoinSutra. Here at CoinSutra, we write about Bitcoin, wallet management, online security, making money from Bitcoin & various aspects of cryptocurrencies. You can read more about CoinSutra on the “About” page.
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