The number of transactions on the bitcoin network has rapidly increased over the past couple of years. As more blocks are filling up, all the transactions cannot be included in the blockchain at once.
Transactions that pay the highest fees are usually included in the blocks first and transactions with comparatively lower fees are made to wait until they find a new block. These transactions remain in the mempool of miners until their turn is up.
This gets the user quite irritated as some low fees transactions may take around days or weeks to confirm. But here’s what you can do to prevent your own transactions from getting stuck:
Before you send the request
Most wallets had a fixed fee of 0.1 mBTC during the early years of Bitcoin. Back then miners had spare space in their blocks due to which they were able to accommodate more transactions in the first block itself that they mined.
Although, because of the increased competition for block space right now, the 0.1 mBTC fee is insufficient to have a transaction included in the next block. So, transactions with higher fees are taken up.
If you want to have your transaction confirmed faster, the obvious advice is to increase your amount. You may be able to adjust your fees manually when you send your transaction.
Check to see if your wallet includes dynamic fees
Recently, most wallets are said to support dynamic fees. According to bitcoin network, these wallets automatically include a fee that is estimated to have a transaction included in the next block or maybe in the upcoming blocks.
Several wallets let you decide your fee priority, again, a higher fee lets your transaction confirm faster.
After you’ve sent it
After you’ve sent your transaction and it happens to be stuck, that transaction can be made to skip the queue. This can be made possible using an option called Opt-In Reference-by-Fee (Opt-In RBF). Using this method you can re-send the same transaction, but with a higher fee. Usually, when you re-send the same transaction, Bitcoin nodes detect this new transaction a double spend and therefore reject it. Although, by sending it using Opt-In RBF, you are explaining to the network that you may re-send that same transaction later on but with a higher fee. As a result, most Bitcoin nodes now accept the new transaction; allowing the new transaction to jump or skip the queue.
But, do remember, not all miners support Opt-In RBF, so your new transaction does depend on the hands of the new miner that mines that next block.
Electrum and GreenAddress are two wallets currently supporting the Opt-In RBF option. You will need to enable Opt-In RBF in the settings menu of your wallet, before you proceed any further with the transaction.
If Opt-In RBF doesn’t do the trick, then another solution would be Child Pay for Parent, CPFP. By applying this method, miners don’t pick a transaction with a high fee, but a set of transactions that include most combined fees.
As a Receiver
A transaction can also get stuck on the receiving end of it. If your wallet allows you to spend unconfirmed transactions, this can be solved with CPFP as well. If the new fee is sufficient, the transaction is supposed to complete within a couple of blocks.