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Author Topic: All about "stuck" transactions and what you can do to fix them  (Read 69387 times)
achow101
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February 23, 2017, 08:50:24 PM
 #1

What is a "Stuck" transaction? How are they caused?

A "stuck" transaction is a transaction which has remained unconfirmed for period of time which either the receiver or the sender is uncomfortable with. Stuck transactions can be annoying as it means that recipients often consider the senders to not have paid yet, or the recipient needs the money as soon as possible.

Stuck transactions are typically caused by low transaction fee rates. However other things can cause stuck transactions such as spending from an unconfirmed transaction, having dust outputs in the transaction, or being a double spend of another transaction. If a transaction has a double spending transaction and the double spend confirms, then the transaction will be "stuck" forever as it can never confirm.

What can I do to make my stuck transaction confirm?

There are a few options for confirming stuck transactions.

For both the recipient and the sender of the transaction, you can:
  • Wait for the transaction to confirm
  • Wait for the network to "forget" about the transaction
  • Ask a miner to confirm it for you

For the sender of a transaction, you can also:
  • Attempt an Replace-By-Fee double spend transaction
  • If you have a change output, you can attempt a Child-Pays-For-Parent transaction

For the recipient of a transaction, you can also:
  • Attempt a Child-Pays-For-Parent transaction

Waiting for a confirmation


If you are incapable of performing any of the other options are are too afraid to do so, you can simply wait and hope that the transaction will eventually confirm. To make sure that network is constantly being reminded of the transaction, you can rebroadcast the transaction periodically. Most wallets will rebroadcast automatically, so simply leaving your wallet open will allow rebroadcasting to happen.

Waiting for the network to "forget" about the transaction

If a transaction remains unconfirmed for too long, it can be eventually "forgotten" by most nodes on the Bitcoin network if no one rebroadcasts the transaction. This happens due to node restarts, mempool expiry times, or mempool eviction because the minimum relay fee has increased. This process typically takes a few days (usually 3). Once a transaction has been "forgotten", you may not see it in your wallet and you probably will not see the transaction in most block explorers. Once the transaction has been "forgotten", you can simply send the Bitcoin again but include a higher transaction fee. If you still see the transaction in your wallet, you will need to follow the instructions in the next Replace-By-Fee Section.

Note that some wallets will continuously rebroadcast the transaction while the wallet is on, so you either have to remove the transaction from the wallet using the instructions in the RBF section, or shut down the wallet and keep it off for several days.


Ask a miner for help


Some mining pools and miners offer services to allow you to prioritize your transaction in their mempool so that it is chosen sooner for inclusion in a block. You can contact the users Quickseller and macbook-air. These two users have access to F2Pool's transaction selector and they can help you with confirming your stuck transaction. If you do contact them, please be sure to include the transaction id of your "stuck" transaction so that they can help you much more quickly and easily. You can also try using https://www.viabtc.com/tools/txaccelerator/ to "accelerate" your transaction. Note that ViaBTC does have a limit the accelerator to 100 transactions every hour and requires that it pays a minimum fee rate of 10 satoshis/byte, so their accelerator may not necessarily work.

Also note that if you attempt an Replace-By-Fee transaction, both the original transaction and the RBF transaction will be considered double spends and miners will likely not help with any transactions marked as double spends.

Attempting a Replace-By-Fee (RBF) double spend transaction

What is an RBF transaction

A Replace-By-Fee transaction is a transaction that is nearly identical to your stuck transaction but pays a higher transaction fee. Since the original transaction most likely does not use Opt-in RBF, the RBF transaction that we will be creating will be considered a double spend and marked as such. The transaction uses Full-RBF and thus may still take a little bit longer to confirm as it is technically a double spend.

The difference between the types of RBF transactions

Replace-By-Fee transactions have 3 different types, First-Seen-Safe(FSS) RBF, Full RBF, and Opt-in RBF. FSS RBF requires that the RBF transaction include the same outputs as the transaction it replaces and consumes the same inputs. Full RBF means that the transaction is simply a double spend of another transaction but pays a higher transaction fee than the one(s) it replaces. Opt-in RBF means that the RBF transaction can only replace a transaction that has Opted-in to allowing itself to be replaced. Opt-in RBF follows [urlhttps://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/bip-0125.mediawiki]BIP 125[/url].

The instructions given in this section will be for making Full RBF transactions. Opt-in RBF transactions will be described in the "Avoiding Stuck Transactions In The Future" section.

How to make a Full RBF transaction

Making a Full RBF transaction depends entirely on the wallet that you are using. Some wallet support the advanced functionality required to make a Full RBF transaction, others do not. The following will be guides for each wallet on how to make a Full RBF transaction with that wallet. In general the procedure is to remove the unconfirmed transaction from the wallet and then resend the Bitcoin but with a higher transaction fee.

When making a Full RBF transaction, the transaction should include the recommended fee rate at the time of creating the transaction. See the "Avoiding this issue in the future" section for help with that.

Bitcoin Core

Bitcoin Core makes making Full RBF transactions very easy. Simply go to the transactions list, right click the transaction that is stuck, and choose the "Abandon Transaction" option.

If that option is greyed out, then you must go to the Bitcoin Core datadir and delete the mempool.dat file. Then restart Bitcoin Core with the -walletbroadcast=0 option and then you should be able to use "Abandon Transaction".

If the above two options fail for some reason, then you can start Bitcoin Core with the -zapwallettxes option to clear all unconfirmed transactions from your wallet.

Once the transaction is either Abandoned or cleared from the wallet, you can simply go to the Send tab and send the Bitcoin again but make sure that you include a sufficient transaction fee.

Bitcoin Armory

Bitcoin Armory also makes making Full RBF transactions very easy. Go to Help > Clear All Unconfirmed Transactions and restart Armory. This will clear all of the unconfirmed transactions from the wallet and thus allow you to create the Full RBF transaction. Once Armory has restarted, simply send the Bitcoin again as you normally would but be sure to include a sufficient transaction fee.

MultiBit HD

MultiBit HD allows for making Full RBF transactions fairly easy as well. Go to Manage Wallet and click on Repair Wallet and follow the wizard. This process will clear all of the unconfirmed transactions from your wallet much like Bitcoin Core and Armory do. Once repair wallet has completed, simply send the Bitcoin again as you normally would.

Wallets that do not allow you to or ones that I don't know how to make Full RBF transactions

Not all wallets support the creation of Full RBF transactions. Many wallets do not allow clearing all unconfirmed transactions to allow for making Full RBF transactions. The following is a list of wallet software which do not support Full RBF transactions. If a wallet on this list does support FullRBF transactions, please let me know and provide instructions for that so I can add it above.

  • Blockchain.info and web wallets in general
  • Electrum (supports Opt-in RBF, but not Full RBF)
  • Mycelium
  • MultiBit Classic
  • Bitcoin Wallet for Android
  • Breadwallet
  • Copay

Attempting a Child-Pays-For-Parent transaction

What is a Child-Pays-For-Parent transaction?


A Child-Pays-For-Parent (CPFP) transaction is exactly as the name implies, a child transaction spends from an unconfirmed parent transaction and includes a transaction fee which covers both the fee of the child and the parent. However creating CPFP transactions are much more difficult as it requires spending from an unconfirmed transaction, something that most wallets do not allow.

How can I avoid making Stuck transactions in the future?

Using Dynamic Fees

The best way to avoid having stuck transactions is to make sure that you are not spending from an unconfirmed transaction, and include a sufficient transaction fee. If your wallet supports dynamic transaction fees, you should use those. If you want very fast confirmations, set the dynamic fees to choose the fastest fee possible. Dynamic fees are calculated by the wallet by analyzing the current state of the network and determining an optimal transaction fee from there. Because the state of the network constantly changes, the optimal transaction fee calculated one day may not necessarily be the best fee for the next day.

If your wallet does not support dynamic fees but does support setting a custom transaction fee rate for each transaction, you can look up the optimal fee rate on sites like http://bitcoinfees.21.co/ and https://bitcoinfees.github.io/ and set the fee rate for each transaction based on those sites. You must do this for each transaction you make otherwise you may end up paying a sub-optimal fee.

If your wallet does not support any sort of fee rate or does not allow setting custom transaction fees, you should upgrade to a new wallet. Using a fixed fee or fixed fee rate is no longer a good idea as the network constantly changes. You can use this formula: <in>*148 + <out>*34 + 10 where <in> is the number of inputs and <out> is the number of outputs to estimate the size of your transaction and determine the optimal fee for it.

Note that some wallets (e.g. blockchain.info), even though they use dynamic fees, set an upper limit to the transaction fee. If you notice that your transactions are constantly being stuck even though you are using dynamic fees, you should check the settings of your wallet and perhaps even switch to a new wallet which has no limit to the transaction fee.

Use Opt-In RBF

Opt-In RBF is a feature that allows for an RBF transaction to be more easily created as these transactions will not be rejected by nodes supporting Opt-In RBF.

Currently few wallets support creating Opt-In RBF transactions

Electrum

To create a transaction that can be replaceable, go to Tools > Preferences and check the box "Enable Replace-By-Fee". Then when you want to send some Bitcoin, next to the Fee slider is a box labeled "Replaceable". Check that box so that while the transaction is still unconfirmed you can replace the transaction with one that pays a higher fee.

To increase the fee of a transaction that uses Opt-In RBF, right click the transaction in the history list and choose the "Increase Fee" option.

Armory

Armory also allows for the creation of RBF transactions. When sending a transaction, choose the checkbox "Enable RBF".

To increase the fee of a transaction that uses Opt-In RBF, right click the transaction in the transactions list and choose the "Bump Fee" option. Transactions whose fee can be increased are labeled clearly in the transactions list.



This post is meant as a more thorough update to https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=232979.0.

If there are any inaccuracies or if I am missing anything, please let me know and I can add it. If anyone has instructions for CPFP or RBF with any wallets, please let me know and give me the detailed instructions so I can add them to the post.

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February 24, 2017, 12:46:44 PM
 #2

Great tutorial Smiley
A couple remarks:

1) it's also possible to do a CPFP if you're the sender, as long as there was a change address that received an input with a value high enough to cover the fees of both the parent and the child transaction. If there is no/insufficient change, only the receiver can do a CPFP.

2) RBF is possible with electrum, you can move it to the wallets for which it is an easy thing to do... You can opt-in RBF when creating a transaction, the transaction will be indicated as replaceble in the history tab, and when you right click on a replaceble transaction, you can increase the fee (don't remember the exact icons/descriptions used, since i only tested it out once).

3) Since you use double spending unconfirmed inputs as a way to do a RBF, about any wallet whose private key/xprv can be exported should be able to do a RBF. This should include Blockchain.info, multibit, Bitcoin Wallet for Android. Granted, the procedure becomes pretty long and tedious, since you would first have to get your hands on the private keys for the addresses whose unspent outputs were used in the hanging transaction, and then you'd have to import them in core, and then you would have to generate a raw tx, sign it, broadcast it... But it IS possible

4) in the "Waiting for the network to "forget" about the transaction", maybe you should add the warning that some wallets (like core) keep broadcasting the transaction, unless you abandon it, or zap the wallet txes?

5) some shameless promotion about CPFP, if you use my (in) sufficient fee checker on my website (mocacinno.com), i try to generate an unsigned CPFP tx for my visitors if i detect insufficient fees. This feature is still in beta, but in my (small amount) of testcases, it did work (bug reports are always welcome, only works with reasonably simple transactions).

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February 27, 2017, 01:30:40 PM
 #3

Wallets that do not allow you to or ones that I don't know how to make RBF transactions
  • Electrum

Thank you very much for misleading unsuspecting users. Are you doing this on purpose?

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February 27, 2017, 01:58:23 PM
 #4

Wallets that do not allow you to or ones that I don't know how to make RBF transactions
  • Electrum

Thank you very much for misleading unsuspecting users. Are you doing this on purpose?
No. It seems that I forgot to hit send for my reply to you in PM. What I am trying to do here is to explain how to do RBF spends without opting into RBF because very few people use Opt in RBF. All I could find on Electrum was how to do it with Opt in RBF, not any way to RBF without opting in. If you could provide instructions for how to do that, I would happily add it to the list.

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February 28, 2017, 08:26:41 PM
 #5

Wallets that do not allow you to or ones that I don't know how to make RBF transactions
  • Electrum

Thank you very much for misleading unsuspecting users. Are you doing this on purpose?
No. It seems that I forgot to hit send for my reply to you in PM. What I am trying to do here is to explain how to do RBF spends without opting into RBF because very few people use Opt in RBF. All I could find on Electrum was how to do it with Opt in RBF, not any way to RBF without opting in. If you could provide instructions for how to do that, I would happily add it to the list.

If you restore from seed unconfirmed transactions are removed IIRC. Thus you can restore from on a temp wallet, create a double spend and continue. I personally think the opt-in RBF option by electrum is an improvement over this as you can replace a transaction you have created a few minutes ago, while your way would suffer from nodes blocking propagation.

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February 28, 2017, 08:29:26 PM
 #6

If you restore from seed unconfirmed transactions are removed IIRC. Thus you can restore from on a temp wallet, create a double spend and continue.
I asked someone to try this and it did not work for them.

I personally think the opt-in RBF option by electrum is an improvement over this as you can replace a transaction you have created a few minutes ago, while your way would suffer from nodes blocking propagation.
Opt-in RBF is indeed a great feature. Unfortunately it is not used by most people so it is not really applicable here as most transactions will not enable RBF.

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February 28, 2017, 08:32:13 PM
 #7

If you restore from seed unconfirmed transactions are removed IIRC. Thus you can restore from on a temp wallet, create a double spend and continue.
I asked someone to try this and it did not work for them.

Alright, Ill need to get this out of my head then. Thanks

I personally think the opt-in RBF option by electrum is an improvement over this as you can replace a transaction you have created a few minutes ago, while your way would suffer from nodes blocking propagation.
Opt-in RBF is indeed a great feature. Unfortunately it is not used by most people so it is not really applicable here as most transactions will not enable RBF.

Yeah, Im working on a similar thread to this for the german section and I put it in the "preparations" section because of this.

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March 01, 2017, 08:33:35 AM
 #8

I personally think the opt-in RBF option by electrum is an improvement over this as you can replace a transaction you have created a few minutes ago, while your way would suffer from nodes blocking propagation.
Opt-in RBF is indeed a great feature. Unfortunately it is not used by most people so it is not really applicable here as most transactions will not enable RBF.

what the OP of this thread calls "RBF" is actually a double spend attempt.
it is misleading and dishonest to call it RBF.

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March 01, 2017, 12:39:47 PM
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quick question guys i sent some bitcoins to an address the coin was never confirmed after 2 days they put the money back on my wallet,then about an hour later the money was gone again,i checked my wallet again now its at another address that i didn't even send them to,and that transaction has more than 600 conformations,and it also says unspent to that address.....so how do i retrieve my bitcoins
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March 01, 2017, 02:06:22 PM
 #10

what the OP of this thread calls "RBF" is actually a double spend attempt.
it is misleading and dishonest to call it RBF.
RBF is, by definition, a double spend attempt, regardless of Opt-in or not. You are creating a transaction which spends inputs already spent by an unconfirmed transaction.

This method is Full RBF, not Opt-in or First-Seen-Safe RBF. It is still RBF and is as Peter Todd originally proposed RBF.

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March 03, 2017, 02:12:41 PM
 #11

i just found this service but still not sure if this works https://pushtx.btc.com/

but since btc.com seems to be trusted, this might be helpful to some people, tho they charge kinda high fee

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March 04, 2017, 01:16:06 PM
 #12

i just found this service but still not sure if this works https://pushtx.btc.com/

but since btc.com seems to be trusted, this might be helpful to some people, tho they charge kinda high fee

They are charging $ 6.88 / KB which is not worth. I entered my transaction Id and got an option to pay almost double the amount as the transaction size was 1518 Bytes. Viabtc works for free and transactions get confirmed for sure.


@OP: I couldn't find much information about CPFP method. Is it the same as double spending? I need to get my transaction confirmed and hence am asking.


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lihuajkl
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March 06, 2017, 12:31:52 PM
 #13

there is article here to share with you http://coinour.com/index.php/how-to-do-with-stuck-bitcoin-transaction/

My blog:http://coinour.com/
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achow101
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March 06, 2017, 02:02:49 PM
 #14

@OP: I couldn't find much information about CPFP method. Is it the same as double spending? I need to get my transaction confirmed and hence am asking.
CPFP is not the same as double spending or RBF. It requires that you spend from an unconfirmed transaction, something that most wallets don't allow, so I don't have instructions for how to do it. If you know how to work with raw transactions, then CPFP can be done.

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March 06, 2017, 06:03:03 PM
 #15

great read!
I think you could add https://www.viabtc.com/tools/txaccelerator/    
to your  "What can I do to make my stuck transaction confirm? "  paragraph
the tool is not extremely helpful as it only allows you to accelerate up to 100 transactions per hour and all the slots are usually filled up
after 5-10 minutes from  the hour start,but it does help to confirm your tx when everything else fails
as it includes your transaction into a block directly

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manselr
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March 06, 2017, 06:23:59 PM
 #16

The problem is, most noobs use web wallets because they are too lazy to download Core, or any of the wallets that will give you proper options like -zapwallettxes, RPF or whatever. The "asking for miners" resort is pretty lame and not very user friendly... it's a problem. Web wallets should be forced to give more options in case this happens.
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March 06, 2017, 06:53:01 PM
 #17

The problem is, most noobs use web wallets because they are too lazy to download Core, or any of the wallets that will give you proper options like -zapwallettxes, RPF or whatever. The "asking for miners" resort is pretty lame and not very user friendly... it's a problem. Web wallets should be forced to give more options in case this happens.
Still, if people are genuinely aiming for Bitcoin to be more convenient for less techy new users like me, wallets should be able to handle these issues themselves.  Of course you should be able to change these options and make your own choices but I don't think there's anything wrong with experimenting by using a more simplified wallet.
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March 14, 2017, 10:12:24 AM
 #18

The problem is, most noobs use web wallets because they are too lazy to download Core, or any of the wallets that will give you proper options like -zapwallettxes, RPF or whatever.
Not too lazy, but take up too much memory。If the memory footprint is small, I will choose CORE wallet.It's really big.Is this the cause of the obstruction?

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March 14, 2017, 11:09:58 AM
 #19

The problem is, most noobs use web wallets because they are too lazy to download Core, or any of the wallets that will give you proper options like -zapwallettxes, RPF or whatever.
Not too lazy, but take up too much memory。If the memory footprint is small, I will choose CORE wallet.It's really big.Is this the cause of the obstruction?

Newbies by definition are new and most introductory guides you can find out there are outdated or have not kept abreast with this issue of extended confirmation times - an issue even most wallets do not alert users about when signing up. Rather than laziness, it's simply a matter of being inadequate information.

And, as you say, even with the information available, the added resources needed for Core and the like are cons that would put off even users like me.

That been said, I've now switched even to storing the coins I move frequently in the in-house wallets of some sites, which charge a flat fee regardless of output. I've found these to confirm very quickly, as my txs are performed as part of a large batch with generous fees.

As usual, very helpful post from OP. I hope more free services like viabtc come about. I've used it myself after >3 days unconfirmed and it pushes through in hours.

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April 05, 2017, 10:24:54 PM
 #20

I got stuck transaction for 12 hours, and it's been unconfirmed and is in memory pool. I tried the RBF option using core 0.14 and windows 10.
I already done the 'abandon transaction' step and resend with higher fee, now waiting for it to be completed.

However I realise the abandoned transaction is not come back to my balance, now I get deduct twice the amount I intended to send. is it a known issue ?

Like the previous transaction is 1 BTC, now I resend another 1 BTC, now my balance is deducted by 2 BTC ....
Do I need to wait ?  Huh Huh
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