Transaction fees: your most common questions

Today, Ofir Beigel is back to answer some of our users’ most common questions about fees. To read his first post on transaction fee basics, click here.

In our previous post, we covered the what, why, and how surrounding bitcoin transaction fees. In today’s post, I want to dig further into the details and answer some of the most common questions about bitcoin transaction fees.

How can I calculate my transaction size so I’ll know what fee to attach to it?

You can’t easily do this on your own, and thankfully, many wallets can do this for you. For example, the Blockchain Wallet uses dynamic fees that calculate the required fee for you so that your transaction will confirm as reliably and quickly as possible. You also have the option to set your fees manually by using Advanced Send. Different wallets handle fees differently, and you should find out how your wallet handles the fees for you (if at all).

What happens if I don’t attach any fees to my bitcoin transaction?

Before transactions get packaged into blocks and inserted into the blockchain they wait around in the transaction pool, also known as the memory pool (or mempool for short). Each transaction in the mempool has a certain degree of priority. The priority is based on the amount of coins sent (higher = greater priority) , the age of the coins (older = greater priority) and the transaction size (smaller = greater priority).

I will not go into detail about what each of these parameters mean, but what is important to understand is this: some transactions have such a high priority that they don’t even need any fees attached. The first 50kb of each of transaction space in each block is set aside for high priority transactions. Other transactions may sit in the mempool for a long time, mature, and then finally move forward in priority in order to be included in the next block.

What if my transaction is still stuck in the mempool due to low fees or low priority?

If your transaction is stuck, it will either sit there long enough to gain a higher priority, or it will get rejected and flushed out of the mempool within roughly a week (in most cases). Once it’s been rejected, you’ll be able to try re-sending with a higher fee. Some wallets will give you the option to resend a specific transaction with higher fees in case it’s not confirmed; however, if you use a wallet with dynamic fees, you can likely avoid this entirely. As a last resort, miners will sometimes have spare space left in their block and will include zero transaction fees on a best effort basis, but it’s not recommended to count on this method.

To wrap things up:
  • Fees should be calculated depending on the transaction size (and it’s not based on the amount of bitcoin being sent). This can be done automatically by your wallet (e.g. dynamic fees).
  • If your transaction isn’t confirmed for a long time, either check with your wallet if you can change the fee attached to it or wait for it to get flushed out of the network and then resend it.

We hope Ofir’s posts have helped sharpen your know-how on bitcoin transactions and fees! If you still have questions, connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, or visit our Help Center for even more resources.

A bitcoin blogger since 2013, Ofir owns 99Bitcoins and the popular Bitcoin Obituaries section. He is an Internet marketer and public speaker focused on getting as many people as possible to know what bitcoin is and why it is so important.

An intro to bitcoin-focused web development: build your first web app

Careers in bitcoin development are all the rage right now, but it’s an unfortunate misconception that the chance of landing these opportunities are a hundred-to-one unless you’re on a first-name basis with industry pioneers like Nick Szabo or Adam Back. Today’s guest blogger, Kyle Honeycutt, is here to debunk these myths of exclusivity. He’ll also show you step-by-step how to create your very first bitcoin web app, and leaves you with extra resources so you can hone your new skills. Take it away, Kyle.

Read more “An intro to bitcoin-focused web development: build your first web app”

Bitcoin transaction fees: what are they & why should you care?

This week, we’ve invited Ofir Beigel to guest blog for us. We’ll let him take it from here.

Recently, scaling bitcoin has been a hot topic for the bitcoin community. Why is this? Well, as bitcoin grows and more users hop onboard, a big priority is to ensure the network can efficiently handle the increasing transaction volume. And lately, many users have been expressing their worries over transaction delays caused by network congestion. In this post I’m going to talk a bit about how transaction confirmations work, and the role that fees play in the process.

Read more “Bitcoin transaction fees: what are they & why should you care?”

Bitcoin’s busiest week ever

Between Nov 20th and 27th, Bitcoin faced its busiest week ever with 2 million transactions, a near-constant backlog of tens of thousands of transactions to confirm, and a record 333,466 transactions processed in a day. This resulted in average confirmation times reaching an unusually slow speed of more than 2 hours.

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Mempool transaction count chart from Blockchain.info/charts

Read more “Bitcoin’s busiest week ever”

3 bitcoin charts explained, plus our chart export feature

When academics and journalists need information about the bitcoin ecosystem, they turn to our interactive charts. And they’re not alone; our charts have been a trusted, helpful research tool for millions across the globe. Today we’re highlighting 3 charts and sharing details about a recent update that allows you to better export and embed our charts. But first, onto the charts.

Read more “3 bitcoin charts explained, plus our chart export feature”

Remind, Recover, & Reset: 3 helpful tools to regain wallet access

The Blockchain Wallet is non-custodial, which means you’ll be the only one who can log into your wallet, know your password, and manage your funds. We can never suspend your bitcoin wallet or even know your total wallet balance. Because we put you in complete control of your bitcoins, we also developed 3 self-serve tools to help you should you ever lose access to your wallet.

Read more “Remind, Recover, & Reset: 3 helpful tools to regain wallet access”

Fact or Fiction: The Top 5 Bitcoin Myths Debunked

Bitcoin and the blockchain drive a good deal of weekly news coverage in the mainstream media, but that coverage isn’t always accurate. To help you separate fact from fiction, here are the top 5 bitcoin myths, debunked:

Read more “Fact or Fiction: The Top 5 Bitcoin Myths Debunked”

Breaking It Down: Bitcoin Units of Measurement

Today we want to spend some time explaining to beginners what the common units of bitcoin measurement are.

Just like a $1 bill can be broken down into 100 pennies, bitcoin (the currency) can also be broken down and divided into smaller units. Bitcoin’s ability to do this is crucial for user adoption, and for encouraging practical usage as an everyday currency alternative. This also makes it easier when buying bitcoin; depending on its value at the time, it may be more affordable to buy a fraction of the digital currency here and there instead of an entire bitcoin all at once. In fact, a lot of people think they have to buy a whole bitcoin to get started, but you can buy almost any amount you want!

Read more “Breaking It Down: Bitcoin Units of Measurement”

Keeping tabs on the health of the Bitcoin network

Staying in the loop of bitcoin related events can be time consuming, so we do our best to provide the community with tools to easily stay afloat of what is happening in the world of bitcoin, for example with our weekly news recaps, our bitcoin charts, and live markets page. We also provide users with access to our developers’ API, which lets anyone tap into our wallet and blockchain explorer.

However, we wanted to point out another great way of monitoring the health of the Bitcoin network is by watching the number of bitcoin full nodes. Blockchain monitors the number of nodes that we are connected to, but keeping tabs on the entire network is just as important. Bitcoin full nodes help run and validate the network, so it’s important to know not only how many there are out there, but also to support full node operators.

Map via Bitnodes
Full Nodes map via Bitnodes

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Recommended best practices when setting up your Blockchain Wallet

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Image via CoinDesk

Creating your first bitcoin wallet should be an exciting experience. Even if you’re not a new user, there’s plenty of fresh bitcoin knowledge to go around.

Whether you’re about to create your first Blockchain Wallet, or you’ve been a long-term user, we want to ensure your experience with our wallet is an enjoyable one.

In this post we’re sharing with you some basic recommended best practices that will help keep your bitcoins safe and allow you to monitor wallet activity even when you’re not logged in.

Read more “Recommended best practices when setting up your Blockchain Wallet”