Why is my Bitcoin transaction slow?

Every day, we at Bitrefill receive multiple versions of the following message: “Good afternoon. This morning I made a top-up purchase for my mobile, but the credit has not yet arrived. I await your response. Regards.” We are working as fast as we can. Unfortunately, blockchain technology causes these delays.

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The blockchain operates differently than other payment processes. In April, it processed 3 to 4 transactions per second, yet Visa processed 1,667 transactions per second. What makes the blockchain so much slower?

First, whereas other payment processes verify transactions independently, the blockchain verifies them in groups, or “blocks.” The blockchain requires ten minutes to verify each block. But each block can only hold a certain amount of information, or transactions. Problems occur when people request too many transactions — too much information — for a block to hold in a ten-minute period. When this happens, transactions are delayed and included in a later block. In fact, you can see how many unconfirmed transactions are on the blockchain right now.

Second, whereas other payment processes verify transactions once at a centralized location, the blockchain verifies them multiple times at decentralized locations. To approve one transaction, it may be necessary for nodes in China, Iceland, Japan, and the Czech Republic to verify it. While this may be slow, it makes Bitcoin secure: nodes around the world who do not know each other each agree that your transaction is legitimate.


Waiting to receive verification of your Bitcoin transaction is annoying. We agree. So we created Bitrefill Accounts. Deposit Bitcoin into your account, and when you need to recharge your mobile, click once to receive payment. This “purse” enables you to avoid slow Bitcoin payments and to refill instantly. Visit Bitrefill Accounts to learn more and to sign up.

Thankfully, the average time to verify Bitcoin transactions is improving. But should we automatically view delays negatively? Essentially, they mean that more and more people are requesting transactions in Bitcoin. In other words, Bitcoin is becoming a more popular currency. Hopefully, that will cause more businesses to accept it and more governments to recognize it. That is something we all can agree on.