Taking a look at Google Trends Chart for 2017, it’s obvious Bitcoin had a great year for its resilience. Despite several low points from wrong information from the press along with some FUD from Jamie Dimons absurdity, the fork of bitcoin, China’s ICO ban, amongst others.
This upsurge is sensible because Bitcoin is a revolutionary system which has been proven to be a haven for people around the world against their government’s inflationary policies for quite a few years now. Venezuela is one of those where the Venezuelan bolivar has jumped up by more than 700% in the past year. A lot of people have switched over to using Bitcoin to fight the inflation.
What is the Bitcoin Mempool?
The Bitcoin mempool (short for memory pool) is a collection of all Bitcoin transactions awaiting verifications and confirmation which will be included in the next block. Whenever a Bitcoin transaction is channeled to the network, it first gets verified by all the Bitcoin nodes available, which takes an average of 10 minutes to get its first verification. It can take longer than 10 minutes, depending on the pending transactions that are in the mempool. Mempool is the node’s maintaining and restraining area that focuses on transactions awaiting approval. When one transaction gets verified and included, the next one is in line to get added.
For Bitcoin, payments are made by users awaiting the mempool until miners include it into their next block to confirm the transaction. The mempool is part of Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP 35) and it aids Simplified Payment Verification (SPV) wallets which is a lightweight wallet that records transactions. It is another way of letting you validate your transactions.
Why Does it Matter?
The collection of these transactions is called a “block” and whichever miner first solves the math problem gets to add this block to Bitcoin’s blockchain. However if the size of the Bitcoin mempool is high, transaction fees recommended by Blockchain, Coinbase, and Trezor upsurges. You get to choose how expensive you want your transaction fee to be. If you do it higher than average, chances are your transaction will be confirmed quicker. Failing to attach high fees could result in a transaction being delayed for many days if the memory pool does not clear. Similarly to any pool containing a lot of data, there are so many transactions that can be kept in pending until a backlog is created. With the interest of more people in Bitcoin every day, the mempool might be clogged soon which might cause a lot of delays.
Of course, transaction fees do matter and many people have made their voices heard. But transactions also get stuck and that is a big problem. Sending a payment to someone can sometimes be very important because time is of the essence. You want to make sure the
How to Get a Faster Bitcoin Transaction
There are several things you can do to avoid delay of transaction confirmations from mempool:
- Send transactions with a high fee attached to it. For large scale transactions worth at least a thousand dollars, a transaction fee of over ten dollars is not relatively high compared to the global banking system. But for small to medium-size transaction, the current bitcoin transaction could be too high, especially for merchants. And this may cause little or medium-size deals to get stuck in the mempool.
- Calculate how much time it will take your transaction to go through by finding out the number of unconfirmed deals still in the mempool. If for example, the mempool size is around 3MB then a transaction will take three blocks on average to get confirmed.
Miners win a lottery of 12.5 BTC every time they successfully mine a bitcoin block. Apart from this fixed lottery of 12.5 BTC, miners also get a bonus amount of bitcoins for successfully mining a block, which is called the “Bitcoin mining fee”. Therefore, when a miner successfully mines a block, they get 12.5 BTC plus X amount of transaction fees which is a cumulative sum of all the transaction fees in the block. For this reason, Bitcoin transactions sometimes get stuck in the mempool and are not picked up until several hours, maybe days later. That’s why a miner will pick to mine the blocks in the mempool with higher transaction fees.