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.

image00
Mempool transaction count chart from Blockchain.info/charts

Read more “Bitcoin’s busiest week ever”

Safe browsing and the role of SSL

At Blockchain, we ‘Sanctify Security’. Security is at the core of our business and everything we build. We go the extra mile to underscore best security practices like using a secure password, enabling two-factor authentication, and making a wallet backup. SSL certificates are another way to keep you safe online. Read on to learn more.

Read more “Safe browsing and the role of SSL”

All about passwords: how to safely generate and manage them

There are major perks to using a noncustodial wallet, all of which revolve around you, the user, being in total control of your funds. If you’re new to bitcoin, we’ll admit this can be slightly daunting (at best). Thankfully, we’ve got a few tips and tricks of the trade to make securing your bitcoin wallet and online presence easy and painless.

Read more “All about passwords: how to safely generate and manage them”

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”

Don’t take the bait: spotting phishing emails (with Kristov Atlas)

Phishing attempts are nothing new, but we’ve noticed a consistent increase in the number and variety of phishing emails targeting our users and bitcoin users in general.

Our Security Engineer, Kristov Atlas, took some time to collaborate with me on a post that will help sharpen your senses on these suspicious and sneaky emails. Keep reading to find out how phishing attempts can present themselves, and 6 red flags to keep in mind when checking your inbox. These tips can help make sure you don’t get fooled, and help you protect your bitcoin wallet and overall online presence.

Read more “Don’t take the bait: spotting phishing emails (with Kristov Atlas)”