You are prone to making a mistake during a Bitcoin transaction, like any other online transactions. If the miner fee you entered is not high enough for the miner, it may not get confirmed at all in the end.
You will most likely want to cancel your Bitcoin transaction then. Let us go through how you can cancel an unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction.
Possible Causes of Unconfirmed Transactions
For those of you curious, let us explore the reason why your transaction never got confirmed in the first place. For a transaction to be confirmed, it must be met with a response from a miner.
You will need to wait a bit of time before a miner can respond to your transaction. At the very least, it will take around 10 minutes for a miner to confirm a Bitcoin transaction. Do not panic if your transaction does not get confirmed before this minimal amount of time.
If the fee you have added for the transaction was not high enough, it is likely to not be confirmed. The lower the transaction fee, the lower the chances for it to be confirmed.
Re-checking the Confirmation Status
After attempting the transaction, you were most likely given a transaction ID for it. Assuming you have access to the transaction ID< you can go to any block explorer and enter it there. By doing this you will be able to view the status of your transaction.
In case you have gotten any confirmation, then you will not be able to cancel your transaction. Transactional histories are permanent on the blockchain and thus they cannot be reversed. There is still hope if you have not received any confirmations. You can follow the steps given below to cancel your unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction.
How to Cancel Unconfirmed Bitcoin Transaction
There are a couple of ways to deal with unconfirmed Bitcoin transactions. To cancel them, you can either replace by fee, or double spend using higher fees. Let us understand what these mean in detail.
The Replace By Fee Protocol (RBF)
The RBF protocol is what you can call a second chance at providing a better fee. It will allow you to post your transaction to the miners again but this time, with a higher fee. This way you can ensure that the miners will pick up your transaction for confirmation. This will basically end up cancelling your initial attempt and create another one.
Be aware of one thing however, not all wallets will support an RBF protocol. Often blockchain administrators will see RBF as a disadvantageous tactic. How? Simply speaking, cancelled transactions mean that they are more likely to lose money in certain situations.
While a lot of crypto platforms will allow you to use the RBF protocol only once against a transaction, that is not always going to be the case. Bitcoin does allow RBF and it gets your previous transaction out of the list that the miners were initially ignoring for the transaction fees being too low.
Note: Honestly, this is the more secure route to go when cancelling a transaction. It basically overwrites on your previous transaction instead of creating a new one. The miners will also find it convenient to confirm your transaction this way.
The Double Spending Route
To go down the double spending route, you just have to create an entirely new transaction for the same amount. This is basically just having to create a copy of the original transaction, but this time with a significantly higher fee. Bitcoins are a more competitive scene.
Make sure to note down your new transaction ID on the second time. Double spending is secure, but more prone to attacks from hackers and fraudsters. This is because by double spending, they will try to find means to confuse the blockchain that it is the same transaction, as they are the same in terms of amounts.
Note: You might need to use a secondary wallet for this method. You can also opt to use some kind of specialized software that will allow you to double spend. Note that you should not try to do anything that might seem questionable. You might risk losing everything you have on the blockchain if the administrators deem you as a fraud.
How to Avoid Situations Like These?
In order to avoid problems like these, make sure that your Bitcoins are confirmed every time. To do this, just use the suggested fee when making the payment. In most cases, you will be able to see this suggested fee as you will be proceeding to transact.
The risk of your transaction being unconfirmed will increase if you choose to go below the suggested amount. The reason that miner fees are automatically selected for you by default is for this. As the market gets more competitive each day, miners require that minimum amount for confirmation of transactions.
Not enough for RBF Protocol
After going for the Replace By Fee Protocol, please make sure your added amount is significant. If the amount is too low, it will not make much of a difference for the miners. This will cause the transaction to remain unnoticed and unconfirmed.
In situations where you have accidentally placed a transaction with misinformation or some other issue, make sure to cancel it as soon as you can. If you get a confirmation, your Bitcoin transaction gets added to the blockchain. This is irreplaceable and you will have to go through with this transaction. Time is of the essence.
This was our brief discussion on how you can cancel your unconfirmed Bitcoin transactions. If neither of these methods work, this is just the harsh reality of the modern world of Bitcoins. We hope you have been able to cancel your unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction, if that is what you were looking to do. If not, we hope this article has served you to be informative.
You can also read- How to Turn Bitcoin Into Cash