update 19 August 2021

Bitcoin Confirmation Explained: A Complete Guide

Several things happen before an operation is included in the system when you transact on the Bitcoin network. 

Unconfirmed transactions first accumulate in a pool known as mempool. Then, miners choose a transaction at random (but most miners prefer those with high fees) and add it to a transaction block. They then verify the transaction by solving complex mathematical problems, i.e., Proof of Work

Next, the network confirms the block and adds it to the blockchain. Blocks added to the blockchain amount to Bitcoin confirmations. Bitcoin confirmation is essential in the prevention of double-spending attacks. But, not many people in the crypto community understand the concept. Here is an in-depth explanation.

What are Bitcoin Confirmations? 

Bitcoin confirmations refer to the number of blocks added to the Bitcoin blockchain after validating a particular transaction. Transactions on the Bitcoin network are not handled individually, but instead, they are bundled into a block in the blockchain. A block of Bitcoin transactions holds up to 1 MB of transactions, just like digital files. 

More blocks added to the Bitcoin network lead to increased confirmations, which enhance the transaction’s security. 

How Do Bitcoin Confirmations Work?

Whenever a user makes a transaction on the Bitcoin network by sending bitcoins to another user, they must submit the recipient’s address (public key). They must also sign in with their private key. 

Note The public and the private key form the asymmetric key pair

For the transaction to be processed and confirmed, miners first validate the public key. If the public key signature is authentic, miners then add the operation to the mining block. The transaction is later confirmed when the block is added to the blockchain.

Note that users can add an invalid asymmetric key pair to the block and, consequently, to the blockchain either knowingly or unknowingly. However, when a lousy pairing is added to a blockchain, miners overlook that particular blockchain and don’t add other blocks to it.

If miners reach a consensus that a block is valid, it is added to the blockchain through mining. 

Number of Confirmations

Transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain remain “n/unconfirmed” until the transaction is six blocks deep. Users on the network consider six confirmations safe and secure enough for the transaction to be valid and permanent. 

Six blocks were chosen as the standard number of confirmations as it’s assumed that an attacker of the Bitcoin network is less likely to accumulate more than 10% of the network’s hash rate. Besides, a risk of 0.1% is negligible and acceptable. Six blocks are also quite useful in subduing casual attackers and superb attackers with more than 10% hashrate.

Therefore, users should wait until five additional blocks are added to the first block, which usually represents the first Bitcoin confirmation. This way, the chances of a transaction being invalidated is less than 0.1%. 

The set number of confirmations on the Bitcoin blockchain is not pegged at six blocks. Bitcoin exchanges and merchants who accept bitcoin as a means of payment can choose an ideal number of blocks required for the transactions (funds) to be confirmed. Some merchants, especially those dealing in inexpensive or non-fungible products, may choose to have only one block for the transaction to be approved as soon as it’s made. In such instances, the risk of double-spend attacks is insignificant.  

The number of confirmations on the Bitcoin network increases with the value of the transaction. When a more significant transaction value is involved, the number of approvals is increased to secure the transaction. For instance, Bitcoin experts recommend 60 confirmations for transactions involving over $1,000 000. For transactions value below $1 000, 3 approvals are sufficient. 

How to Find Out if the Number of Confirmations is Sufficient

It is possible to calculate whether the number of confirmations vis a vis hash rate proportion is sufficient to safeguard a transaction. Websites such as people.xiph provides crypto users with these services. Also, Bitcoin whitepaper provides the AttackerSuccessProbability formula to find out the right number of confirmations. 

Some mining rigs may, however, conceal their hash power or provide inaccurate hash power. You may end up getting the wrong number of confirmations as a result. Therefore, users should use many confirmations up to 144 blocks deep, especially in transactions involving the irreversible sale of items with a higher value than the block reward. 

How Much Time do Bitcoin Confirmations Take?

The time taken for Bitcoin confirmations to go through depends on the mining block interval, which is about 10 minutes. However, not all block intervals are exactly 10 minutes. A complicated statistical occurrence known as the Poisson process helps in determining block interval time.

When the standard six blocks are involved, the confirmation takes close to one hour. However, confirmations may take much longer if the Bitcoin network has high traffic, perhaps due to high price volatility. Also, transactions will remain unconfirmed for a long time in the event of a Bitcoin transaction stuck, usually caused by a low transaction fee attached. 

How to Check Bitcoin Confirmations

Bitcoin wallets give you the transaction details and ID and view the transaction on a block explorer. Once you’ve successfully made a transaction, you can search the ID using a block explorer such as blockchain.info to check the number of confirmations made on that particular transaction. 

Importance of Bitcoin Confirmations

Bitcoin confirmations guarantee the immutability of the network against attacks such as double-spending attacks. Without confirmations, a double spend is likely since the next block that is solved may confirm a different block rather than the one with the transaction. The second block may indicate that the coins may be spent elsewhere. Confirmations make it increasingly difficult for an attacker to falsify a transaction on the Bitcoin network.  

Bottom Line

Btc
Bitcoin
$42.155
price
4.10761%
price change
BUY NOW

Bitcoin confirmations measure how many blocks have passed since a transaction was added to the Bitcoin blockchain. Bitcoin confirmations are crucial to protecting the network from attacks, including double-spending attacks, Finney attacks, and race attacks. Although the standard number of confirmations on the Bitcoin network is six blocks, more confirmations are crucial for a secure transaction involving enormous amounts of money. For Bitcoin merchants dealing in highly valuable products, an increased number of confirmations is vital to safeguard the transaction. 

More posts

Can You Gamble with Crypto in Las Vegas

Las Vegas is best known for gambling with an enormous concentration of world-class casinos and hotels. This entertainment hub situated in the State of Nevada attracts thousands of tourists across the world to experience the glamour and gambling life. Following the massive growth of Bitcoin in recent years, Las Vegas has increasingly embraced it, with widespread use, especially as a mode of payment for dining, rent, cars, etc. Over fifty businesses in Las Vegas, Nevada accept cryptocurrency as a mode…

Cases of the Longest Bearish Price Trends in the Crypto Market

The crypto world's decade-long existence has not been flawless. Like in any other market, there is always a bear trend that leads to massive losses. The 2008 market crash is one of the biggest bear markets in the financial world, and others occurred in the following years.  Crypto has seen cases of long market crashes as well, some lasting over a year. This guide will be looking into 5 of the must-know crypto market crashes. Furthermore, it will highlight the…

Who will enter the CryptoSphere first: Amazon or Facebook?

Amazon and Facebook are some of the biggest technology companies in the world and have long been the main drivers of tech innovation across the globe. These two companies have substantially impacted billions of internet users, whether it's through Facebook's pioneering and massively successful social media platform or Amazon’s enormous e-commerce platform and cloud computing services.  Both Amazon and Facebook have made several steps in the cryptosphere pushing for the adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. In fact, Facebook and…

What Really Happens When Swapping Cryptos?

The process of swapping cryptocurrencies can be somewhat complex. Sometimes, you may end up lacking the exchange assets you need. For instance, you may want to exchange BTC for ZIL. Generally, there are very few exchanges that support direct BTC to ZIL exchanges. Therefore, in many scenarios, an individual will have to find a BTC trading pair. Exchange the BTC to another pair connected to ZIL, then complete by exchanging the second asset to Zil. Generally, following the whole exchange…

Could Brexit be the Underlying Reason for Developing The Digital Euro

After the election in December 2019, the British Parliament decided to ratify the withdrawal from the European Union. Factors that influenced Brexit included immigration, sovereignty, anti-establishment politics, among others. Could Brexit have influenced the development of the digital Euro? Read on to find out as we break down factors that led to the development of digital currency. The Growth of Digital Assets The concept of digital assets is not novel; its penetration and influence have left no stone unturned. The…

What Are Crypto Validators and How do They Work?

Crypto Validators are new "payment processors" in decentralized networks, and as such, they produce blockchain rewards. It sounds simple, doesn’t it? However, the definition of validators in crypto is much more complex than that. Also, the role of a validator may change depending on the consensus mechanism that each blockchain uses. In this guide to validators in blockchain, we take a closer look at this entity and its indispensable role. Furthermore, we analyze four validator use cases in different blockchains…

How Many ETH Will Burn After the London Fork?

Since its launch in July 2015, Ethereum has grown exponentially to be the second leading cryptocurrency in market value after Bitcoin. The platform’s growth has primarily been attributed to its smart contract feature, which powers the deployment of a wide range of applications, including oracles, decentralized finance (DeFi), decentralized exchanges (DApps), marketplaces, crypto-collectibles (NFTs), and developer tools.  Despite its growth, Ethereum faces numerous challenges that hinder its usability. The scalability challenge is one of the biggest ones that Ethereum faces. The current state…

The Impact of Adoption of Cryptocurrencies on E-commerce Business

E-commerce is the short form of electronic commerce. It is the buying and selling of merchandise over the internet networks. It also involves the transfer of funds and the keeping of records to certify the transactions made. E-commerce is of three types; business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B), and business-to-government (B2G). The main reason for using cryptocurrencies in e-commerce is to get rid of third parties that control the transactions. This relationship can make online shopping much easier and safer since blockchain technology that backs up cryptocurrencies is…

What it Means to Make Bitcoin a Legal Tender

June 9, 2021, marks the first move that would make history in Bitcoin's timeline. El Salvador passed a bill where 62 of 84 congressional voters would make Bitcoin a legal tender. Fast forward to September 7, and El Salvador became the first country to make Bitcoin a legal tender. In this article, we shall look into what it means for Bitcoin to be a legal tender in detail; What is Legal Tender? "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and…

The Correlation Between Blockchain Activity and Transaction Fees

Miners and validators are essential cogs in any crypto project. They're the ones who process transactions on a blockchain (BC) activity. For their efforts, crypto projects compensate them for their efforts from transaction fees. A transaction is only valid when it has undergone validation. The process ends in the validators adding it to the BC. Mining consumes a lot of computing power. As such, it's an energy-intensive exercise. The motivation for the miners is the block reward that consists of…