It's just like a traffic jam!
Have you ever wished for instant shipping? We certainly have! Luckily, cryptocurrency delivery is usually close to instant. It's part of what makes it so great! But just like even the speediest shipping option sometimes hits a bump in the road, occasionally crypto delivery experiences a delay. What causes it? Cryptocurrency operates on the Blockchain, a giant decentralized ledger of transactions, divided into smaller chunks that we call blocks. Any time you buy cryptocurrency it needs to be confirmed by miners, who check that the coins you want are actually available.
Why transactions are confirmed
Cryptocurrency is a digital currency and it's often not backed by a central bank or authority, so there's always a question of double-spending.
How do you know that the Bitcoin that was sent to you wasn't copied and also sent to someone else?
That's where the Blockchain, miners, and confirmations come in. When a transaction is confirmed, it means that it was verified by miners as part of a block, which was then added to the Blockchain. When the next block is added too, the block with your transaction will be reconfirmed, and now has 2 confirmations.
For every confirmation, the likelihood of the payment being reversed greatly decreases, and because of this, many companies require several confirmations to approve the payment.
How confirmations work with Coinmama
When you buy cryptocurrency, the confirmation process looks like this:
- You place an order with Coinmama
- Your payment is approved and Coinmama transfers the coins to you
- The transaction appears on the Blockchain
- Miners verify that the transaction is legitimate
- Once confirmed enough times, the transaction is accepted by your wallet provider and you'll see the coins in your wallet
Why delays happen
Once your payment is approved, it usually takes only a few minutes for the coins to show up in your wallet. But sometimes it takes longer. How come? New blocks are mined by miners about every ten minutes. Due to the underlying technology, that process can't be sped up, and each block can also only hold a certain number of transaction data, so when there's a lot of activity happening, it creates a backlog of transactions that need to be added to blocks and confirmed.
Unfortunately, if you find yourself buying cryptocurrency during a long wait period, you'll just have to be patient. You won't be able to spend the coins until they appear in your wallet. And since block sizes are fixed and blocks have to be mined, there's nothing Coinmama can do to speed up the process. Fortunately, confirmation times are usually short - about 15 minutes for Bitcoin and 15 seconds for Ethereum. Once you see the pending transaction on the Blockchain, it's just a matter of waiting. The coins are there and there's no reason to worry that they won't go into your wallet.