Why Do I Need Confirmations on my Bitcoin Transactions?

Reading Time: 2 minutes
  • When you make a Bitcoin transaction you need to wait for confirmations
  • Confirmations make transactions safer and more secure
  • It’s hard for transactions to be reversed after 3 confirmations

When you make a Bitcoin transaction, even if you use the highest fees, you still need to wait for confirmations for your Bitcoin to actually appear in most wallets and on most exchanges. But, many people new to Bitcoin still don’t get why this is necessary if it’s already been included in a block.

So, we’re going to walk you through what confirmations are and why they’re an important part of the Bitcoin transaction process.

What is a Confirmation

Ok, first for the basics. A confirmation is simply the amount of times the block your transaction in has been used as the main chain, meaning it’s accepted as the correct chain and cannot be reversed. With 0 confirmations, your transaction is in the latest block and therefore can be reversed. Generally put, the more confirmations, the safer a transaction is thanks to more blocks having passed since the transaction took place.

How Many Do I Need to Wait?

When you’re sending Bitcoin, you want it to be there as fast as possible. Before you make a transaction, it’s worth checking the mempool to see how many pending transactions there are. If there are not many, you can use low fees to save yourself a few sats. Once your transaction is in the block, you’ve just got to wait.

Most platforms and wallets accept 3 confirmations as good enough for transactions to show as valid, but a good number of wallets and exchanges require 6 for Bitcoin transactions. This just makes it as safe as can be. For transactions over $1 million in value, it’s not uncommon for 60 confirmations to be required. Three confirmations is around half an hour and 6 is around an hour, so check how many a wallet or exchange needs before you panic when your Bitcoin isn’t showing.

Don’t Panic, You’re Just Waiting for Blocks

So, if your Bitcoin isn’t showing 20 minutes after it was included in a block, chances are it will show in the next 10 minutes or so. The more blocks that pass from the moment of your transaction the better. It’s part of the Bitcoin design and it keeps both you and the recipient as safe as can be!