8 December 2017: Bitcoin network delays

Andrew Munro 8 December 2017

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Your patience is probably appreciated.

The bitcoin network is currently experiencing delays due to a high transaction volume, and at the time of writing there are over 20,000 unconfirmed transactions waiting to be processed. This issue affects all exchanges, all brokers and all bitcoin services worldwide.

The only way to speed up your transactions is to increase your transaction fees.

This issue may have significant implications for the future of bitcoin prices.

This is because the miners who process transactions prioritise the transactions which earn them the most in fees. The visualisation below shows how it works.

  • The spiky orange bar at the top represents the highest fee transactions waiting to be processed.
  • The purple bar represents the second-highest fee transactions waiting to be processed.
  • The blue bar and other layers below it show the third-and-onwards highest fee transaction fees waiting to be processed.

The miners are currently just skimming the top layer off the most expensive transactions. The spikes come from transactions being processed and then more coming in to take their place. The lower-fee purple transactions are only rarely processed in small numbers when the miners manage to dig through the orange layer.

Partial snapshot of transactions processed in an 8 hour period

bitcoinfee snip


Average transaction fees

The average transaction fees are currently equivalent to US$6-7 per transaction. That's how much those in the orange and purple layer are paying to get through.

This is the highest they've been since 13 November, where they peaked at around $US20. But as you can see below, the number of pending transactions is actually significantly higher now than it was then.

This suggests that a lot of people are going to be waiting a long time for their transactions to go through.

bitcoin transactions snip2


This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

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