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Is your Bitcoin transaction stuck? No need for alarm. You’ll be surprised at how often this happens. Let’s explore why it’s stuck and how to get it confirmed.

As Bitcoin’s popularity grows by the day due to its privacy and anonymous nature, its network is often congested. Consequently, this greatly reduces the number of transactions that can be processed each second. In fact, there’s debate about the block size limit of 1MB which severely cripples the busy Bitcoin network. That said, is your unconfirmed Bitcoin lost? Can something be done to speed up the confirmation process? In this article, we will go into the details of how to use Electrum to “unstuck” a Bitcoin transaction. Let’s dive in, shall we?

What Causes Unconfirmed Bitcoin Transactions?

Transactions get stuck because you set a low transaction fee. Confirmation of Bitcoin transactions is at the mercy of miners who, unfortunately, prioritize transactions that pay a higher fee. So, if the transaction volume is high, your transaction may remain pending if there are others that have paid a higher fee than you. The good news is that, if your transaction is pending, your funds can NEVER be permanently lost. At some point when there’s available block space, the transaction will go through. Alternatively, the validation nodes may ‘forget’ the transaction and it will revert to your Bitcoin wallet. Luckily, you can speed up the confirmation process by offering higher fees on Electrum wallet.

Where is the Stuck Bitcoin?

Before we look at how to get your Bitcoin confirmed quickly, let’s find out where it is. All unconfirmed Bitcoin transactions are held in a mempool (aka memory pool). Here, you’ll find pending transactions that have been validated by nodes but are yet to be included in a block by miners. The Bitcoin network is structured in a way that each node is assigned a mempool. The system automatically rejects a transaction with very low fees. Think of transaction fees as ‘rent’ paid to secure block space on the Bitcoin network. So, when there’s high demand for block space, the fees required to confirm a transaction go up. Therefore, if you placed a low fee, the transaction will be automatically rejected by the nodes especially when they are full to capacity.

How to Solve Unconfirmed Bitcoin Transactions Using Electrum

There are several ways to resolve your pending Bitcoin transaction (details later in the article). However, the most practical one is to speed it up using your Electrum Bitcoin wallet by paying higher fees. The following step-by-step applies when you are the sender – as a receiver, it’s easier to spend some of the coins received to pay the higher fee needed. The method below is known as Child Pays For Parent (CPFP). The logic here is to entice the miners to confirm the transaction by resending a child transaction that has a higher fee in the same block. As much as the miners will be tempted to confirm the child transaction since it has a higher fee, they can’t since it’s linked to the unconfirmed parent transaction. Here’s how to go about it:

Step 1: Check for Change Usually, a transaction doesn’t spend the full amount intended which is often sent back to your wallet as ‘’change’’. To find out if there was any change left from your transaction, open the history tab on your Electrum wallet. Select the unconfirmed transaction and look at the details.

Step 2: Copy and Paste Note down the hash (the long string of alphanumeric characters). Proceed to the ‘’Coins tab’’ and select the corresponding transaction ID. Right click on it and from the corresponding drop-down, choose ‘’Spend from Address’’.

Step 3: Send Once you click the spend button, you’ll be taken to Send tab that includes the right input which is automatically determined by Electrum. If the available coins are efficient, then you can broadcast your transaction. If you don’t have enough coins, you’ll need to calculate the fees manually using https://bitcoinfees.earn.com/ by combining the size of the previous transaction with the current child transaction.

Step 4: Check the ‘’History’’ Tab Once you broadcast the child transaction, it will be sent to the History tab of your wallet until it’s confirmed. It will remain unconfirmed since it contains inputs from the parent transaction. However, with the adjusted fee which is higher, confirmation will occur quickly.

To prevent future transactions from getting stuck, update your Electrum wallet software. The latest version has GUI-support for CPFP.

Other Ways to Unstuck Bitcoin Transactions

Apart from using CPFP, you can also use the following methods to resolve your pending Bitcoin transactions:

Double-spending

You can manually cease broadcasting your transaction. This method is time-consuming since you have to wait for the nodes to forget the transaction (it can even take several days). The new transaction is viewed as ‘’double spending’’ and it’s declined.

Use ViaBTC Transaction Accelerator

The ViaBTC transaction accelerator works with several mining pools to provide crypto users with acceleration services for their transactions. They have a Free submission and a paid service designed to fast-track your BTC transaction.

Replace by Fee Feature

The latest versions of the Electrum wallet allow you to mark your transaction as ‘’replaceable by fee’’ before broadcasting it. In this case, if your fee is too low, it will resend it with a higher fee and it won’t be flagged as double-spending.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you have gotten all the information you need to resolve your stuck Bitcoin transaction. Remember, patience is key when transacting Bitcoin. To avoid any pending transaction, always quote a higher fee – the miners will be scrambling to confirm your transaction! On a different note, did you know that your Bitcoin transaction isn’t completely anonymous? Learn about Bitcoin mixing here, and find out how to maintain your privacy while transacting. You can also check out our blog for more about Bitcoin.

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