Bitcoin Confirmations 

 July 18, 2021

By  Brian Forester

Do you receive Bitcoins from someone or send them? You have probably seen that after a transaction is completed, it receives a confirmation. You might wonder what this means.

In this article, we will cover the issue with confirmations. Read on to know more!

Table of contents

  • Bitcoin Confirmations Basics;
  • Bitcoin Mining;
  • Bitcoin Transaction Blocks;
  • Orphan Blocks;
  • Reversing a Transaction;
  • Q&A.

Bitcoin Confirmations Basics

To understand how Bitcoin confirmations work, you should make yourself familiar with the system. All transactions are united into blocks. After this, blocks are placed into one ledger of crypto transactions by other miners. This ledger is also called a blockchain. The main thing is to wait for your transaction to get some confirmations. When it goes to one successfully mined block, it will get one confirmation. Then it will come to another one and get one confirmation more. It is better to get at least six confirmations or more before considering a transaction irreversible. To find more details about the process and find answers to your questions, we highly recommend you to read the whole article: helpful information is presented below.

Bitcoin Mining

Let’s start by looking at the mining process. Have you ever wondered why it takes some time for a transaction to be confirmed? The reason for this is that every transaction comes to mempool, where it waits for further confirmation. All new transactions are picked up by Bitcoin miners and replaced into assembled blocks of yet unconfirmed transactions. Confirmation times might differ depending on the fee attached. For instance, a transaction with a higher fee will get confirmed before one with a lower fee. Then the next block will be confirmed. You might also ask how many Bitcoin confirmations are usually needed. For most transactions, it is enough to get at least six confirmations.

Bitcoin miners are computers taking part in a competition to be given a right to choose and insert each next block to the blockchain. To do this, a random number should be guessed by the competitors. This certain number must be suitable for solving a mathematical equation or the so-called proof of work. When the number is found, a chosen block can become valid and be added to the ledger. As it has been already mentioned, at the moment when the whole block is added to the blockchain, each transaction in it gets one confirmation. After this action is completed, new blocks can be added and receive their first confirmation.

Now you know what operations the Bitcoin mining process consists of. It is some kind of competition in which a winner gets an opportunity to receive an award and add the sum of all transaction fees to the block’s transactions.

Bitcoin Transaction Blocks

Are you still confused about the notion of a transaction block? Let’s make it clear in a few sentences. All transactions in the Bitcoin network are put on a ledger or a blockchain. They are not put there separately but as parts of blocks. As a piece of digital information, a transaction is presented in a format of a file with its particular size since that one block of many transactions can be up to 1 MB in a whole.

Orphan Blocks

However, there is also a special type of block that is not added to the blockchain. These blocks are called Orphan blocks. Orphan blocks appear in the situation when two miners mine blocks at the same time. Bitcoin network confirmations cannot be gained by two blocks at the same moment. Therefore one of these two blocks of transactions gets confirmed, while another one becomes an orphan block.

This is so because two blocks are propagating in the network. For example, two users (or their computers) mine Bitcoins at the same time. They both mine blocks. A fork appears in the network because one part receives block number one, while another half receives block number two. After this situation occurred, someone mines a brand new block (number three). If the last block is mined by the same computer that received block number two, only blocks number two and three will be available to confirm. Block number one will be orphaned.

Reversing a Transaction

At the same time, after a previous couple of transactions are confirmed, a new block is seen as a candidate to be added to the blockchain. However, miners continue to check and confirm all already accepted transactions again and again.

Why are these continuous services connected to confirming transactions needed? The more confirmations are added, the more secure become transactions of Bitcoins. Security depends on how hard it is to remove an already accepted block of many transactions from the ledger. If a bunch of transactions has a lot of confirmations, it will be extremely complicated to hack them. The only way to attack this block is to make another one from a different account, wait until it is accepted in the blockchain, and receive even more confirmations in the network. For instance, if a transaction has three confirmations, at least four will be needed to hack it.

However, to attack a block of transactions, a computer must have outstanding hashing power. You can go to this page to find more data on how this can happen. In general, to prevent an attack, just be patient and wait until a transaction is confirmed six times at least. It is a recommended minimum to achieve to make your network transaction secure. You can use your account to buy Bitcoin, receive and send small funds and payments on your wallet. If it is your case, it will be alright for each transaction to be confirmed only once. However, you always have a choice and may wait for more to be absolutely sure about a positive result of all completed payments.

The danger of a hacker attack on a transaction is that it can be canceled. It is quite a big risk that does not bring anything good to every trader. That is why we highly recommend you to spend time waiting for some confirmations to be gained not to lose digital coins from your wallet. Moreover, it takes only around one hour for a transaction to be confirmed six times.

To sum up, a transaction needs to be reversed. But prepare yourself that this process needs time and patience. In addition, a great hashing power of the computer, some knowledge, and willingness to try for a few times are compulsory. The majority of traders might skip all the process because they feel like trading small amounts of money does not require so much effort. But we are sure that it is better to protect even one Bitcoin. 


How long do Bitcoin confirmations take?

Another question that may occur is how many confirmations you should get for one transaction. Six confirmations are usually enough. But if you usually work with small payments, even from 1 confirmation is absolutely normal to get. Talking about six confirmations they will take approximately one hour to be gained. Therefore, a confirmation can be received in less than ten minutes.

Will my Bitcoin transaction ever be confirmed?

First, you buy Bitcoin. After that, when payment is completed, you might want it to be confirmed. However, it may seem that confirmations take too long. In most cases, the reason for it is that the mempool is overloaded with too many transactions being received at the same time. Do not worry. This situation might occur sometimes. Anyway, your transaction will receive its confirmation or a few of them. Maybe gaining six of them will take more time than usual, but the result will be positive.

How do I check my Bitcoin confirmations?

Another important question that appears after your payment is completed, and it seems that a transaction must have been confirmed in the network, is how do you check the status of confirmations. To do this, you will need a transaction ID. It is rather long (more than sixty signs) and consists of both letters and numbers. You can find it on the history page, where all your transactions are presented. If you complete payment using an ATM, the number will be seen on the screen and printed on a receipt. When you find an ID, you will have to go to one of the websites like Blockchain to enter this number here and see the result of the search.

How to trace Bitcoin address?

As you already might know, all Bitcoin transactions are actually pseudo-anonymous. It means that usually, Bitcoin addresses connected to transactions can be traced even though it might seem that crypto trading is absolutely anonymous. This happens because all transactions are saved in the blockchain and available for everyone to see. However, just to see an address is not enough to trace a user. The situation will change if a user shares their address with someone else in the chat or on the forum. Then you can look for the transaction made by this user and trace them.

How to find out if you own Bitcoin?

There are two ways to buy Bitcoin and keep it in the network. It depends on which option you have chosen. You might have bought Bitcoins and stored them on any web wallet. Usually, users register there using their email addresses. Do you have a chance to try logging in again. You will see if you have any cryptocurrency on your account. It may be more complicated to find out information about Bitcoins kept in your own wallet. If now you don’t have access to it, you will at least have an opportunity to go through your email box to search for some confirmations from companies that you have probably bought Bitcoins from.

Brian Forester

Brian is an experienced journalist and crypto enthusiast. Founder of CryptoCurry - famed for his insightful input on the future of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies.

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