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How to speed up a transaction?

Let's consider the question on the example of Bitcoin, the world's most popular cryptocurrency. As previously noted, each Bitcoin transaction must be validated by miners, who receive a commission for each validation.

Let's look at the transfer algorithm itself:

  • One person sends money to another person;
  • Information about this transaction is sent to a queue;
  • Then miners select a few transactions from the queue and validate them;
  • If the transfer is correct and does not contradict the information contained in the blockchain, the miner performs mathematical operations that form a checksum (a number signature that will change with any, even minor, adjustment of the original data);
  • Then the miner combines several transactions into a single block and distributes the information to all nodes in the network;
  • Each next block is linked to the previous one by mathematical formulas, so it is considered that all blocks following the current one are its confirmations.

The transaction is considered unconfirmed until the transfer information is propagated through the network as part of a data block. All such transactions are on a waiting list; in blockchain terminology, they are called a "Memory Pool" (sometimes, mempool or mempool).

Each large pool of miners has its waiting lists, but in most cases, they regularly exchange information among themselves via nodes (nodes in the network).

Usually, the principle of selecting the next transaction is that the one who pays more fees is the one who is prioritized. Although, it is worth mentioning that more is needed to pay more than others because different transactions have different sizes (the more transfers within a transaction, the more information must be written to the block).

Therefore, the commission is recalculated in the cost per unit of information. After all, it is more profitable for miners to process two transactions with an average commission than one with a high one if they take the same number of bytes in the block.

When do problems occur?

A transaction is often only processed briefly because the set commission is too low. In this case, it can stay on the waiting list for a long time, constantly skipping later transfers in front of it and sometimes even hanging for several weeks.

Even with an average fee level, the payment processing duration can be extended if the network is too busy. We wrote about this in a separate article: Bitcoin network collapse.

However, despite the declared exchange of information between nodes and mining pools, this process sometimes needs improvement. Or, for some reason, the collection chosen by your wallet has rules that throw your transfer to the very end of the list, from where it does not even forward information to neighbours, considering the transaction as "garbage".

What to do?

There are several options when a transaction hangs in the waiting list:

  • Wait for confirmation (it may take days or even weeks);
  • Wait for the transaction to be cancelled, i.e. until the information about the transfer is deleted as "garbage" by all pools (there are no uniform rules for cancelling transactions, but statistically, this process takes at least three days and happens only at meagre fees);
  • Speed up processing using available methods: RBF, CPFP, Double-Spent, etc.
  • Accelerate the transaction with the help of gas pedals, services that help to push through a stuck payment.

Replace-by-Fee (RBF) - selective commission replacement. This mechanism involves increasing fees to make the payment more interesting for miners in a transaction already sent to the waiting list. But not all miners support hot data swapping.

Moreover, to take advantage of the option, you need a wallet that supports it. Before sending the transaction, it should have specified the "Opt-In RBF" parameter, which is not always possible before the user encounters the problem for the first time.

The Child Pays for Parent (CPFP) mechanism - literally "child pays for parent" - looks much more favourable here. Although only supported by some pools, this method is very effective in urgent situations. But an essential condition for this strategy is enough "change" left after sending the transfer to send it with a hefty commission.

The idea behind this method is to send a transfer with an excessive commission after the hovering transaction; then, the miner will have to process the previous transaction to process the profitable one, i.e. the commission for the transfer is added up and divided into two transfers.

And what to do in other cases?

When a transaction is not confirmed for a long time, and there is no possibility to replace the commission, gas pedals come to the rescue. There are three types of such services in the network - the first two belong directly to the mining pools and include any transactions on certain conditions in the following block to be mined by them.

The first ones do this for free. But this is not selfless help, but one of the ways to advertise their mining pool. Currently, there is only one active service of this type, which belongs to ViaBTC.

But due to the massive influx of those wishing to use it and the non-transparent mechanism of transaction selection, the chance to get on the list on favourable terms is close to zero.

The second type of such gas pedals offers to include a transaction in the next block mined by the pool for money. In this case, miners compensate the low commission with a separate payment. The payment can be in different formats, including with a bank card.

However, besides gas pedals owned by miners, there are other services - "Broadcast Transaction Accelerator".

Their work aims to send a copy of your transaction to a maximum of known waiting lists. Thanks to that, you won't have to depend on the decision of one pool to send information, and there is a chance that the transaction will be noticed faster.

We have one such service:

In most services, you must specify data in "raw" format. This information can be found in the wallet from which the transfer was sent.

Unfortunately, there is no single instruction for all wallets, so we cannot tell you in advance where precisely this menu item will be located, but its name must contain the word "raw".

Our gas pedal differs in that you can send only the transaction identifier (TXID) to it, after which the service will try to find the transaction in the mempool and send it again to all known miners.

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© – , updated 08/29/2023
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