Ideally, Bitcoin transfers should be completed quite quickly - with most being approved within an hour of being sent. However, blockchain congestion and low payment fees can cause payments to be delayed.
Not enough confirmations on the blockchain
All Bitcoin transfers sent or received using an external Bitcoin address are sent using the Bitcoin Network, known as the blockchain. When processing Bitcoin payments, the blockchain periodically gives each Bitcoin payment "confirmations", which lets the receiving Bitcoin wallet owner know that the payment has been completed successfully.
If a Bitcoin transfer has not yet received any or enough confirmations on the blockchain to indicate the transfer has been completed successfully, those funds will remain as 'pending' while they are being processed by the blockchain.
What is a blockchain confirmation?
Whenever the blockchain mines a new "block" (usually every ten minutes or so) it adds confirmations to Bitcoin transactions being processed by the network. Essentially, it's how the public Bitcoin network can agree that transfer has been made and finalised without any issues. These confirmations prove to recipients and wallet hosts (such as CoinJar) that the payment has been completed successfully.
Typically, confirmations are received every ten minutes or so - whenever the blockchain mines a new "block". However, during times of blockchain congestion, or if the fee attached to the Bitcoin payment is too low, this time frame can be extended. Once a Bitcoin payment has been sent, there is typically no way to influence the amount of time it takes to receive confirmations - unless you are actively mining Bitcoins.
If the payment fees attached to a Bitcoin transfer are too low, there's the chance of the blockchain cancelling that transaction. In CoinJar's case, an incoming Bitcoin payment cannot be approved until it has received a certain number of confirmations on the blockchain. Once enough confirmations have been received, the payment is automatically approved from 'pending' to your Everyday Bitcoin.
How many confirmations are required?
Typically, six confirmations are required for a Bitcoin transfer to be considered complete. Depending on the amount of Bitcoin that is being sent, Bitcoin transfers can be approved with fewer confirmations.
Payments sent directly to another CoinJar member's username are not sent via the blockchain and are not subject to blockchain confirmations, delays or payment fees.
How can I check the confirmations of my Bitcoin transfer?
Because the Bitcoin blockchain is a public ledger, any Bitcoin transaction can be viewed using a Bitcoin explorer website. The easiest way to locate your Bitcoin transfer is to search for the Bitcoin address your funds are being sent to.
- Go to a blockchain explorer site such as blockchain.com/explorer, BlockCypher, or Block Explorer.
- Search for your "receiving" Bitcoin address (the address the funds are being sent to).
- Select the transaction that matches with the Bitcoin amount you're expecting. You can also check the date the transaction was made.
- Once you're looking at the transaction itself, you can view the confirmations received so far. You can also see the full details of that Bitcoin payment.
If your Bitcoin transfer has received more than six confirmations on the blockchain and still hasn't been completed, please contact our Support Team to discuss further.
Updated: 12 Dec 2017 (AS)
Reviewed: 7 Feb 2019 (AS)