How Long Does It Take To Transfer Bitcoin?

There are several factors that determines how long it takes to transfer Bitcoin to a wallet, which can vary between 10 minutes to 1 hour. To understand the Bitcoin transaction speed, we will explain what happens when you send Bitcoin, how long it takes to arrive and tips to send Bitcoin faster. 

What Is a Bitcoin Transaction?

Bitcoin transactions are essentially electronic messages which are digitally encoded using cryptography and transmitted over a Bitcoin network. Each Bitcoin transaction is verified by miners which gives a historical digital signature of the BTC address, amount and public key. A record of the transaction is often referred to as the 'Bitcoin ledger' and is available for anyone to see on the blockchain network.

To break it down further, a Bitcoin transaction comprises of three parts:

  1. The Bitcoin address the sender initially received the Bitcoins from
  2. The specific amount of Bitcoin the sender wants to transfer
  3. The recipients public key or 'BTC address' used to receive the Bitcoin

How Does A Bitcoin Transaction Work?

For a Bitcoin to be sent on the blockchain network, the individual must have access to the private and public keys associated with the amount of Bitcoin. The private key corresponds to the rightful owner of the Bitcoin which is unique and authorizes the Bitcoin transaction to be sent to a public key, or simply referred to as a BTC address.  

A Bitcoin owner with access to the private keys can initiate a transaction on the blockchain network. The transaction is digitally encoded with the specific transaction details that include the previous owner of the Bitcoin being sent, the specific amount and the BTC address of the recipient. The details of the specific transaction are broadcast to the blockchain network which tells the miners the transaction is ready for processing.

how bitcoin works

Source: www.pay.g2a.com

The Bitcoin miners work to validate the transaction by solving complex mathematical problems. This process is often referred to as 'Bitcoin mining' to confirm the funds have come from the rightful owner of the Bitcoin wallet. When the math problem is solved, the block which contains the transaction is added to the blockchain network. 

The Bitcoin transaction on the network is considered to be final once a minimum number of network confirmations have occurred which is usually between 3 and 6 confirmations. A new digital signature is then created which prevents the Bitcoin transaction from being altered once confirmed on the blockchain. 

How Long Does It Take To Send Bitcoin?

Bitcoin's transaction speed can vary between 10 minutes up to 1 hour depending on the number of confirmations required to validate every single block on the network. The average time to complete a single Bitcoin confirmation is approximately 11 minutes based on the current median confirmation time. Therefore, a successful Bitcoin transfer to another wallet can take between 30 and 60 minutes to be confirmed on the blockchain network. There are other factors such as network congestion and fees that can increase the Bitcoin transfer speed to several hours.

bitcoin transaction speed

Source: Blockchain.com

What Affects The Bitcoin Transfer Speed?

If you're wondering why a Bitcoin transaction is taking so long, it is important to realize several factors can affect the speed of a Bitcoin transaction. These can include the amount of traffic on the Bitcoin network, the fee offered for the BTC transaction and the block size and time.

Traffic

The amount of congestion or traffic on the Bitcoin network is directly related to the speed of a transaction. For example, if there is a lower amount of transactions occurring at a particular time, the network traffic will be reduced resulting in quicker Bitcoin confirmations. In contrast, if there is a sudden increase in the number of transactions at a particular time, the traffic will be high and can cause delays with confirming the transaction. Sending Bitcoin during a low network usage period such as the weekend can potentially result in a faster Bitcoin transaction speed.

btc transactions per day

Over the last year, the number of Bitcoin transactions per day has reduced slightly, which has resulted in quicker Bitcoin transfer speeds to validate and confirm a transaction. According to data from Blockchain.com, there approximately 270,000 confirmed Bitcoin transaction processed every 24 hours.

Fees

Bitcoin transactions incur fees that are paid to the miners for their effort to validate and confirm the transaction on the blockchain network. The fees sent with a Bitcoin transaction can impact the confirmation speed. Transmitting a Bitcoin transaction with a higher fee can incentive the miners to prioritize the particular transaction within the block. Sending a transaction with a low fee can result in a transaction remaining unconfirmed for a longer period of time and possibly rejected. 

Block Size

The Bitcoin blockchain network has a maximum block size of 1 Megabyte (MB) which is fixed. Each block contains batches of Bitcoin transactions that have been confirmed by the miners and made public on the blockchain. There can only be so many transactions contained in each block. Therefore, an increase in Bitcoin usage through adoption can result in blocks quickly reaching the 1MB capacity.

Block Time

Bitcoin has been designed by its creator 'Satoshi Nakamto' to have a 10 minute time to generate or mine a new block. Based on the fixed block size, block time and average transaction size, this means Bitcoin can only process about 4.6 transactions per second. When there is an increase in network usage, there can be delays in the time required to send and receive Bitcoin transactions.

Can You Speed Up A Bitcoin Transaction?

It is possible to increase the speed of a Bitcoin transaction below the median time of 11 minutes. The two most common methods are to increase the miner's fees or use a Bitcoin accelerator.

Increase The Fee

One of the safest ways to quicken the speed of a Bitcoin transaction is to increase the miners fee using a priority withdrawal. Some Bitcoin wallets allow the user to choose between a "standard" or "priority" fee when making a BTC withdrawal. The cost has ranged between $2 and $62 this year with an median transaction fee of $13.44. By sending a transaction with a fee greater than the median costs, Bitcoin miner's are incentivized to quickly select the transaction within the block which will reduce the overall confirmation times.

average bitcoin transaction fee

Source: Ycharts.com

Use A Mining Pool Accelerator

A popular way to increase the speed of a Bitcoin transaction is to use Bitcoin mining pool accelerators. These are external services usually run by miners that offer a premium service to accelerate the speed of confirmations for a slightly higher fee. A few examples of popular Bitcoin accelerator programs are viaBTC, Bitaccelerate and BTC.com. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Bitcoin Transactions Instant?

Bitcoin transactions are not instant due to how Bitcoin was designed to ensure the validity of each transaction on the public ledger. Most wallets require a minimum of 3 confirmations to consider a Bitcoin transaction as final. Therefore, the transaction speed of Bitcoin can be at least 30 minutes to arrive in another wallet based on the approximate time to complete a single Bitcoin confirmation of 11 minutes. 

How Long Does It Take To Transfer Bitcoin From One Exchange To Another?

Depending on the network congestion at the time of the transaction and the number of Bitcoin confirmations required, it can take between 10 minutes to 1 hour for funds to arrive in a crypto trading exchange. The larger crypto exchanges have been reducing the number of confirmations required from 3 to 2 to increase the Bitcoin deposit speeds.

How Long Does It Take To Transfer Bitcoin From Coinbase To Binance?

Binance has reduced the number of Bitcoin confirmations from 2 to 1 for BTC deposits. Based on the median Bitcoin confirmation time, it will take approximately 11 minutes to transfer BTC to Binance once the blockchain has received the transaction details from the Coinbase wallet.

What Is A Bitcoin Confirmation?

A Bitcoin confirmation represents the number of blocks in the blockchain that have been accepted since the block that included the transaction detail. In other words, a Bitcoin transaction is finalized when it is included in a new block on the network. For example, if Person "A" buys Bitcoin and transfers it to Person "B", the transaction will remain "unconfirmed" until the next block is created. Once this block is created, the transaction is considered to have 1 confirmation. 

Conclusion

It is important to understand the various factors that can influence the speed to transfer Bitcoin to another wallet. All things considered, the average time to successfully transfer Bitcoin is actually between 30 minutes and 1 hour. While there are ways to increase the Bitcoin transaction speed, you should also find out how many Bitcoin confirmations are required by the receiving Bitcoin wallet to give an indication of speed using a standard withdrawal fee.

If you have bought Bitcoin and in a hurry to withdraw it to another wallet, there is the option to use a priority withdrawal request with higher fees to increase the probability of a faster Bitcoin transaction. 

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Kevin Groves
Kevin is the founder of hedgewithcrypto and is passionate about blockchain technology. He has been involved with Bitcoin since 2016 and is a swing trader with over 10 years of experience. He loves trading crypto using various platforms and helping others learn about cryptocurrencies via hedgewithcrypto.