With the popularity of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, it is no surprise that more and more people are using them to conduct transactions. However, if you are not careful, you may end up with an unconfirmed transaction.
What happens if you decide you want to cancel a bitcoin transaction? Is it possible to do so, or are your funds committed once you hit the send button? In this article, we’ll take a look at how unconfirmed transactions work and whether or not it is possible to cancel them. Read on to learn more!
Are you able to cancel a Bitcoin transaction? No, but it’s not a hard no. Every Bitcoin transaction needs validation by miners and requires at least 3 confirmations to fully confirm the transaction. Even on the fastest network, it takes a minimum of ten minutes for a miner to start validating the transaction. Enter your transaction id in a reliable blockexplorer, such as blockchain.com, to confirm the status of your transaction. Wait the appropriate amount of time to be certain your transaction is legitimately unconfirmed.
If the bitcoin transaction has at least one confirmation by a miner, the transaction can not be canceled. You will simply need to wait for the third validation from the third miner. If the miners have not approved your bitcoin transaction within 24 hours the transaction will remain unconfirmed. Miners may not validate a transaction if the included transaction fees are not sufficient. You may cancel the transaction in one of two ways, the RBF Protocol or the Double Spend Option, only if you have not received any confirmations.
1. RBF Protocol
RBF Protocol, or Replace By Fee Protocol may be used to increase the amount of the fee. With the RBF Protocol you can submit the transaction again to the blockchain network with an increased fee amount. This will cancel the original transaction and a new transaction id will be created.
If available, the RBF Protocol is the best way to cancel a bitcoin transaction. That being said, some crypto wallets may not support the RBF Protocol, so the Double Spend option may be used.
2. Double Spend
The Double Spend is spending the same money twice. The new transaction would include an increased fee amount. Since bitcoin transactions are not instant, the mining process sets up guards against both transactions being confirmed. Validators may mine both blocks at the same time, however only one will be approved.
You should be able to avoid unconfirmed transactions altogether. Setting appropriate fees is the first step in avoiding this frustrating experience with bitcoin transactions. By setting a high enough fee for your transaction, miners will prioritize it over other lower-fee transactions and confirmations can happen more quickly. Most crypto wallets include a guide on appropriate fees.
You may want to consider using RBF Protocol or the Double Spend Option which allow users to cancel an unconfirmed bitcoin transaction so that they are not stuck waiting indefinitely if their transaction does not go through. It is important to note that these options only work on your own transactions- not those of others.