How long does Bitcoin take to send?

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How long does Bitcoin take to send?

Bitcoin is king when it comes to cryptocurrencies. As the pioneer in the industry, it has maintained its position as number one in terms of market cap and daily traded volume. But have you ever wondered, how long does Bitcoin take to send? Or how long does a Bitcoin transaction take? Well, in this article we are going to discuss all the factors that affect the duration of a Bitcoin transaction.      

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What is a Bitcoin sending process?

A Bitcoin sending process is a procedure one has to follow for making a successful Bitcoin transaction. Following the right procedure also reduces the BTC transfer time, although most exchange platforms have simple effective UI which has made the process much easier.

Evolution of Bitcoin transactions

As we all know, Bitcoin doesn’t really exist on a physical level. In his Bitcoin Whitepaper, Satoshi Nakamoto defines it “as a chain of digital signatures. Each owner transfers bitcoin to the next by digitally signing a hash of the previous transaction and the public key of the next owner and adding these to the end of the coin. A payee can verify the signatures to verify the chain of ownership’’.

So, Bitcoins exist as a record of bitcoin transactions on a blockchain. The blockchain records all transactions between different bitcoin addresses and is updated through the Bitcoin Network. The transaction record is then shared with each node on the network as balance.

How Bitcoin transactions work

A Bitcoin transaction is made up of three crucial parts.

  1. First is an input, which is a record of the BTC address from which the sender called John initially received the Bitcoin he wants to send to receiver Grace.
  2. The second part is the amount where John specifies the number of BTC he will send to Grace.
  3. Finally, the third is output, which is Grace’s bitcoin address or public key.

A bitcoin address is a random sequence of letters and numbers that functions the same as your social media username or email address. You can share your public address to receive and send BTC, however private keys which are like passwords should be kept secret and not be shared.

In the transaction above, for John to send Grace some BTC, he uses his private key to sign a message with specific transaction details. Before sending the signed message to the blockchain it should contain an input, the amount to be sent, and finally the output which will be Grace’s bitcoin address.

The transaction will then be broadcasted to the Bitcoin network where miners confirm that John’s keys can access the address from where they previously received the BTC. This verification procedure is famously known as mining because it requires resource-intensive computational labor. Miners are then rewarded in Bitcoin for each block solved creating new Bitcoins in the process.

How long does a Bitcoin transaction take? Following the Bitcoin protocol, each block should take approximately ten minutes and is limited to 1MB size. On top of this, all transactions are verified by miners who confirm blocks that are a collection of transactions and not individual transactions. If your transaction is left out, it will be kept on hold until the next one is assembled.

These issues have a direct impact on transaction confirmation but Satoshi claims that “Although it would be possible to handle coins individually, it would be unwieldy to make a separate transaction for every cent in a transfer. To allow value to be split and combined, transactions contain multiple inputs and outputs. ” This means the transactions will still take long until they find a viable solution.                      

How to confirm a successful transaction

Grace is fidgeting on her laptop wondering, like how long does bitcoin take to send? Is John fooling around? To avoid all this John has to confirm if the transaction was successful or it failed. To verify the transaction, John should visit the Blockchain explorer or the block cipher and paste his transaction ID into the search box.

This shows how many confirmations your specific transaction has and if it shows “no transaction found”, the transaction never left John’s wallet and the service provider must be contacted at this point. There are key elements that should be followed to confirm your transaction and if not met you should contact your service provider.

What affects the transfer time and how to speed up the process?

Receiving and sending Bitcoin within the same platform is usually instant like the Coinbase Bitcoin transfer time is in seconds. But when transacting to an external wallet, the BTC transfer time is affected. For Paxful, it takes two confirmations for the funds to arrive when receiving and it takes up to six confirmations for the funds to arrive when sending. Here are more factors that affect Bitcoin confirmation time.

sending and receiving bitcoin on mobile phones

Speed

The type of blockchain processor service provider that John uses will impact the Bitcoin confirmation time. Providers like BitGo are used by big platforms and are more secure and successful compared to other providers. A good provider will increase BTC transfer time, improving the “how long does bitcoin take to send” query to a few minutes. 

Wallet

If John and Grace share the same provider or platform like BitGo, then sending from his wallet to Grace’s will be instant. But transactions between different wallets will make you wonder, how long does bitcoin take to send really? So for increased transfer time, it is recommended that John and Grace use the same wallet.

Miner Fees

Miner fees are like tips for miners, to increase their speed and also give your transaction top priority. John doesn’t have direct access to miners so this is what he will do. He will ensure that the transaction has exceeded the amount he wishes to send, this extra “change” is included as a fee that goes directly to the miner. So how long does bitcoin take to send? Well, it depends on a tip.      

How to send bitcoin – step by step

For John to send Bitcoin to Grace, he must have a Bitcoin wallet. Many platforms allow the exchange or trading of cryptocurrencies and it all boils down to personal preferences. The steps below show how John was able to send Bitcoin to Grace.

  1. John goes to his preferred exchange platform wallet app and presses the Send button.
  2. If he is physically with Grace, he will use the Scan QR code to get her address, if she’s far away, he will copy and paste her wallet address into his wallet app. 
  3. From there, John will choose which wallet he wants to send the Bitcoin from. If he wants to send Bitcoin Cash he must select a BCH wallet or use a Bitcoin wallet to send some Bitcoin. 
  4. After choosing the wallet, John proceeds to enter the amount of Bitcoin he wishes to send and presses next.
  5. John confirms the details of the transaction and if they are satisfactory, he will slide to send.
  6. If John is transferring between his wallets, he will select transfer between wallets in the Send drop list of his platform or app.   

How to receive bitcoin – step by step

Just like John, Grace needs a Bitcoin wallet so she can receive her Bitcoin and finally stop questioning herself on how long does bitcoin take to send. From her wallet, she will send John her Bitcoin address to initiate the transaction. Here is how Grace will receive her Bitcoin.

  1. Grace will open her preferred exchange platform wallet and press the Receive button.
  2. She will then select which wallet she wants to receive the Bitcoin to. She ensures that a BTC wallet is chosen for BTC transactions.
  3. The wallet she chooses will generate her public address, which lets her receive the funds. If on her phone, she could tap the QR code or click it if on a desktop to copy the address.
  4. Grace will then share this address with John, so he could send the Bitcoin to that specific Bitcoin address, so she has to be careful.
  5. If they are in person, John could simply scan her wallet QR code for a quicker transaction. 

What to note before sending Bitcoin

If you feel the question “how long does bitcoin take to send?” does not entirely cover all that entails sending Bitcoin, well you are probably right. As seen in this piece, many factors go into determining the duration it takes for you to send bitcoin. Here are a few more things you should note before sending bitcoin.

Transaction Limit

The quality and policies of your platform’s blockchain service provider have direct control over the number of transactions you can make in a single day. While only a few platforms have this regulation, most have no limit for selling your Bitcoin or buying more Bitcoins. Platforms like Coinbase and Paxful follow the daily limit policy and can be avoided in favour of other platforms.

Transaction Fees 

Different platforms have different transaction fees for each cryptocurrency. An exchange platform like BlockFi does not have transaction fees while depositing but will require some fee when withdrawing, this is due to its limited cryptocurrency portfolio. For the Binance platform, each crypto has its own fees depending on account type and the volume of daily BNB trades.

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