How To Avoid Painfully Slow Crypto Transaction Speeds

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By Max
Estimated reading: 6mins
How To Avoid Painfully Slow Crypto Transaction Speeds

To avoid slow crypto transaction speeds, you need to increase your network priority with Speed-Up fees. Ideally, the transaction occurs in a fast blockchain with low network congestion and price volatility. When every minute matters, buying crypto directly is faster than transferring among wallets.

Why are Crypto Transaction Speeds Important?

While it’s worldwide available and secure, blockchain is rarely efficient. Bitcoin and major early blockchains often have the most outdated payment processors. It takes anywhere from minutes to days to complete transactions, and it only gets worse as more people join the blockchain.

Knowing how volatile crypto markets are, transaction speed is essential to secure your coins. Low speed can ruin even the smartest trading strategy. Many decentralized applications (dApps) wouldn’t work without light-speed transactions, either because of network fees or because smart contracts require them.

Transaction speed alone can make trading profitable regardless of your cryptocurrency or market trend. High-frequency traders and arbitrage bots have small opportunity windows to profit from market inefficiencies. How many times they can repeat a good trade depends on speed.

These speed-up fees can often save your portfolio from a bigger loss. While not always worth it, the many factors outside your control make it a necessary option.

What Factors Influence Crypto Transaction Speeds?

The transaction speed is the time it takes validator nodes to confirm transactions and add them to the official blockchains. To achieve the best speed, you need enough validators for all users, efficient consensus mechanisms, scalability infrastructure, and smaller block sizes. To find out which network is faster than the other, you look at these factors:

  • Network size: How fast a network often depends on how many people use it. If there’s more than the infrastructure allows, transactions slow down. If there are too few validators, same problem. Adding validators doesn’t always solve it because most blockchains are decentralized.
  • Decentralization: The more users partake in decisions and validation, the harder it is to reach consensus. Most networks require consensus over 51%, and the more nodes there are, the longer it may take. Centralized networks like BNB or Solana are faster and cheaper for this reason but not as secure.
  • Infrastructure choice: Different blockchains have different speeds because they need to sacrifice one feature for another. According to the blockchain trilemma, you cannot achieve absolute security, decentralization, or scalability (speed) without sacrificing one of them.
  • Block size: Block size is the number of transactions the network can confirm at once. Big block sizes reduce network fees (similar to a subscription fee sharing group) but take longer. To reduce block size for speed, blockchains can reduce the transaction limit or optimize the code to fit more within the same size.
  • Block time: Block time is the average it takes validators to confirm transaction blocks. Big block size means high block time and slow transactions. Small block size reduces block time, but without enough validators, it may cause congestion.
  • Market activity: Trading increases during price volatility and often exceeds the blockchain capacity. So if you wait until the last moment to send your coins, you might have to overpay and wait over 24 h to confirm your transaction. If you see exchanges suspending withdrawals (supposedly for this reason), it’s a terrible time to send crypto
  • Network priority: Congestion affects small buyers the most because networks prioritize whoever pays the most fees. If you experience delays, there might be thousands of users and smart contracts spending more on fees. Also, you’re not the only one speeding up transactions, so you have to hope to outbid others or it’s useless.

Contrary to popular belief, big transactions aren’t faster. They are speed-correlated because big spenders often pay more fees. Especially on regulated exchanges.

How to Speed Up Blockchain Transactions?

There are three ways to “speed up” transactions: pay more, time the market, or buy directly.

Paying to speed up is like using toll roads. They save time, but only when few people use them. You neither know how much they’re paying: you either pay more and waste money or pay less and wait just as long.

From your wallet, this option might be called “Increase gas fees” or “Speed up transaction.” You choose how much to increase fees and apply. Effects aren’t always immediate, so you might still be able to cancel the boost and transaction as well.

Note: Because you need priority, the cancellation fees have to exceed the ones paid before.

If that’s not an option, you can time the market. Wait for a weekend with low trading activity, and within 10 minutes, your transaction is confirmed. You don’t need to pay premiums because there’s no congestion in the first place. Highly recommended for holding, value-investing, and dollar-cost averaging.

If you can’t wait but don’t want to speed up, a faster choice is to buy directly. If you’re using Metamask, connect to Coinbase or Moonpay and buy with fiat. If you trade on Binance, buy from there instead of sending yourself crypto from your other wallet.

Buying is faster because these platforms have the liquidity to make it instantly available while the actual transaction is pending. But you have to calculate if the purchase fees are lower than the cost to speed up transactions.

How to Speed up Transactions on Metamask?

You’ll find a Speed Up button on your Metamask wallet as soon as you confirm a transaction. If after a while it’s still pending, you can click it and set custom fees for increased speed. Other than Ethereum, blockchains are so fast you won’t need it.

If your transaction delays and prices move past your slippage tolerance, it will fail with no fees refunded. You can prevent this by increasing slippage from <1% up to 5% or speeding up the transaction. To avoid overspending, you increase fees by 10% progressively.

If you ever want to cancel transactions, add 10% to 30% more than on the pending transaction to fulfill it first.

What Are the Fastest Blockchains?

The fastest blockchain types are:

  • Private blockchains like HyperLedger 
  • Pseudo-decentralized blockchains like BNB Chain, Ripple, or Tronix
  • Layer-2 blockchains like Polygon (at the cost of lower security)
  • High-performance hard forks like PulseChain

One of the fastest is Ripple with 1500 transactions per second (TPS) and a 4s confirmation time. Bitcoin is one of the slowest ones with 3-7 TPS and ~1h confirmation time. Ethereum is the most popular but has a 15-25 TPS and 6-min confirmation.

Once PulseChain is live, load sharing can help Ethereum achieve 60-100 TPS and 90s confirmation time at least.

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Disclaimer:Please note that nothing on this website constitutes financial advice. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided on this website is accurate, individuals must not rely on this information to make a financial or investment decision. Before making any decision, we strongly recommend you consult a qualified professional who should take into account your specific investment objectives, financial situation and individual needs.

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Max is a European based crypto specialist, marketer, and all-around writer. He brings an original and practical approach for timeless blockchain knowledge such as: in-depth guides on crypto 101, blockchain analysis, dApp reviews, and DeFi risk management. Max also wrote for news outlets, saas entrepreneurs, crypto exchanges, fintech B2B agencies, Metaverse game studios, trading coaches, and Web3 leaders like Enjin.

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