Were you one of those who experienced problems with getting confirmations on your Bitcoin transactions? Well, it was a general issue, at least recently when Blockchain had almost 50,000 unconfirmed transactions and the number is receding.
The rush of complaints about transaction confirmations taking longer than usual comes at a time when the price of Bitcoin is edging closer to the $ 700 mark. As at the time of this publication, the price of the top digital currency stands at $ 687 and that’s about a 5 percent increase since the beginning of the week from $ 656 on Sunday Oct. 23. When these two coincide, there are bound to be speculations that they are, in a way, related.
Rising Bitcoin price
The rising price has been described as a micro bubble caused by short supply on exchanges. There are also suggestions that the surge in price could be because of the upcoming elections in the United States. Others say it is as a result of mere FUD being spread in the market. On another note, there were those who said “hodling” has been profitable for them even though no one can say if the practice would pay off in the long term.
These conjecture were built on earlier claims pointing at the weakening yuan, the recent disruption in the operations of PayPal due to an attack by hackers and the supposed initiation and the ongoing negotiation between Bitfinex and the hacker who stole about $ 65 mln worth of Bitcoin from its vault.
Why confirmation delays
Though there hasn’t been any official confirmation of a direct correlation between unconfirmed transactions and the current Bitcoin traffic, there are suggestions that low transaction fees could be a key factor causing the delay. This has been compounded by the fact that more people are upping their transaction fees to ensure their transactions are included in next available blocks using services such as Electrum. Those with lower transaction fees have to wait longer since they don’t seem quite urgent about it.
According to Bitcoinfees.21, the fastest and cheapest transaction fee is currently 110 satoshis/byte, with the median transaction size of 226 bytes resulting in a fee of 24,860 satoshis which is about $ 0.16.
Implications of long queues
Delays in transaction confirmations bring worries especially among those that are yet to fully understand how the digital currency works. There were complaints of up to two to four days of no confirmation. Such long delays affect the fiat value of Bitcoin particularly while the digital currency soars in value.
Another downside to this delay in confirmation is that it would be a problem for merchants that accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. They will have to wait longer for their transactions to be confirmed. It will, as well, rub on the users too. This would be uncomfortable for both parties and, in the event of time-bound products or services, it could discourage their interest in Bitcoin’s use as a medium of exchange.
When a average daily user gets frustrated by such delays, it affects the user’s experience for future purposes and discourages the concept of marketing the digital currency to a new user which in turn affects a business seeking to attract Bitcoin users.
It also brings up the unending argument of blocksize increase, with the wrangling in support or against of the move. This always brings out the divisive component of sections of the Bitcoin community to make the currency serve its users better albeit from different perspectives.