Bitcoin Confirmations: What Is It & How To Check It?

Bitcoin’s blockchain is a chain of blocks that beats every 10 minutes.

Every 10 minutes, a new block is added to the chain. These blocks contain Bitcoin transactions. But transactions in itself are not final as soon as they are made.

Blockchain needs to verify and confirm these transactions. If you have noticed, the blockchain explorer shows your transaction status as ‘Unconfirmed’ as soon as you make the transaction.

Of course, I have told you before that these transactions sit in an unconfirmed pool of transactions called Bitcoin mempool.

Let’s explore in this guide:

  • What happens to these unconfirmed transactions?
  • How they become confirmed?
  • How to check whether a transaction is confirmed or not? Etc…

What Are Bitcoin Confirmations?

Bitcoin confirmations are simply the number of blocks added to the blockchain with your transaction also being added to it.

For example, you will see one confirmation on your transaction when the block containing your transaction is added to the blockchain.

Similarly, as the next block is added after this block, you will see 2 confirmations on your transaction. This way the number of confirmations on your transaction will keep increasing as more blocks are added.

Bitcoin Confirmation Check: How To Check Bitcoin Confirmations?

Checking Bitcoin confirmations for your transaction is pretty easy.

Just to go to one of the Bitcoin block explorers. For example, in this, go to Blockchain.info and put your transaction ID (TXID) in the explorer and hit search, as shown below:

Note: I have used this TXID for this example: a81383b5320c476527924618f610b91162bd40d637bf45b7ff5896346b1d15a4

As you hit search, you will see this screen showing you the number of confirmations on this transaction:

That’s how you check the number of confirmations for a transaction. Now that you have learned this, it is only natural to think, how many confirmations are sufficient before considering a transaction successful.

How Many Bitcoin Confirmations Are Required? [Bitcoin Why 6 Confirmations Are Required]

Every blockchain has a different number of suggested confirmations for which you should wait before considering a transaction successful and infeasible for double spend.

But in this guide, we will take the example of Bitcoin only.

Bitcoin’s blockchain requires you to wait for atleast six confirmations, before considering a transaction successful and infeasible to double spend.

However, it is theoretically possible to double spend the transaction, but it would be economically very costly for anyone trying to do so.

Instead, it would be economically rewarding for the attacker to join the network and mine the blocks in an honest way with the amount of hashing power it is contemplating to attack it.

That’s why six confirmations are required !!

But there is no standard measure of it; different blockchain follows different practices. But if you want an idea as to how many confirmations you should wait with other blockchains when you are waiting for six confirmations in Bitcoin.

Here are the suggested numbers:

How many confirmations are equivalent* to 6 Bitcoin confirmations?

Name Market Cap Proof-of-Work Equivalent Confs Estimated Time Difference
Bitcoin (BTC) $179.35 B SHA-256 @ 77,273 PH/s 6 confs 50m 6s
Ethereum (ETH) $23.58 B Ethash @ 165 TH/s 1,696 confs 6h 17m 8x slower
Litecoin (LTC) $5.90 B Scrypt @ 417 TH/s 309 confs 13h 44m 16x slower
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) $5.66 B SHA-256 @ 2,277 PH/s 179 confs 1d 4h 34x slower
Bitcoin SV (BSV) $2.88 B SHA-256 @ 1,054 PH/s 339 confs 2d 13h 73x slower

How Do Bitcoin Confirmations Work?

Bitcoin miners mine Bitcoin blocks in every 10 minutes and keep adding them to the blockchain. That’s how the number of confirmations keeps increasing on any transaction.

This is the same way blockchain confirmations work in other proof of work or proof of stake blockchains too.

Why Are Bitcoin Confirmations So Slow?

Bitcoin confirmations can be slow because of many reasons. Of course, one is that the minimum confirmation time itself is 10 minutes, but it usually takes longer than that, and that’s because:

  • Either your transaction fee is too less.
  • Or there is too much load on blockchain already.

Even if you have taken care of these two reasons and have attached sufficient transaction fees, the Bitcoin network will take atleast 40-60 minutes to give you 6 confirmations for more.

That’s the reason it is slow, and it is kept purposely slow by Satoshi Nakamoto to reduce blockchain rearrangement vectors which would otherwise disrupt the authenticity of the blockchain.

So this what I wanted to share in this article and I hope it was useful.

Thanks in advance for sharing this article with your loved ones and in your friend circles. Let’s do our best for the Bitcoin revolution !!

Categories Bitcoin

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