Cryptocurrency Transaction timings - across the network - may vary due to a variety of reasons.
**Before reading on, we recommend visiting this article for an understanding of the flow of Cryptocurrency Transactions.
Factors that determine the transaction timings of Cryptocurrencies are also highly dependent on how the Cryptocurrency is structured. For illustrative purposes, this article will only use conditions specific to Bitcoin that have been known to affect the timing of its transactions.
Here are the topics covered in this article:
- Delays caused by a lack of Hash power
- Delays caused by a lack of scaling
- Delays caused by platform requirements
- Tips to Avoid Transactional delays
Bitcoin transaction timings are highly dependent on the amount of hash power available on the network at the point of transacting.
Hash power is the amount of computational power available to process a transaction and compress the data into a block. Once the data has been processed, the transaction details will be available for public viewing on the blockchain and this would signify that the transaction has been broadcasted through the network.
A smooth flowing Bitcoin network would validate blocks at about a rate of 6 blocks per hour (10 minutes per block).
There have been many occasions whereby transactions were significantly delayed due to a lack of hashing power.
On 12th of November 2017, there was a significant shift of mining power from Bitcoin to other cryptocurrencies. This significantly reduced the mining power available on the Bitcoin Network and blocks took as long as an hour or more to be validated.
During periods of high demand, the number of transactions running through the Bitcoin network could be more than its capacity to handle.
This is highly dependent on Bitcoin's ability to scale and keep up with the demand for transactions.
As of 7th of February 2018, the average capacity of the Bitcoin network is only about 2000 transactions per block. This amounts to approximately 12000 Bitcoin transactions processed every hour and 288000 Bitcoin transactions processed every day.
During high demand periods, the number of Bitcoin transactions running through the network was so high that there were as many as 300,000 unconfirmed transactions for a few weeks. Transactions were taking as long as days to be processed during this period.
Different platforms have varying conditions to fulfill before a transaction can be received.
One common example is that many Service Providers require Bitcoin transactions to be validated more than one block before it is reflected on their platform. This condition varies across platforms and affects time taken to fully process a transaction
Platforms that might require more block confirmations is likely to take a longer amount of time.
At Coinhako, at least 6 block confirmations are required before a Bitcoin transaction is received & reflected on our platform. Do also note this might vary from time to time.
To avoid running into such scenarios we strongly advise:
- Not processing any transactions when faced with such a scenario and/or during times of high network traffic.
- Checking on the network's mining power before processing any transactions. You can view Bitcoin's Hash rate on this page.
- Monitoring the number of unconfirmed transactions on Bitcoin's network before processing any transactions.
- Finding out more about the platform you intend to send your transaction to.
As mentioned, you might face different issues that might cause transactional delays for other Cryptocurrencies. If you wish to find out more, we strongly recommend visiting articles available online for a better understanding of the technology.