Bitcoin Guides

How Long Does Bitcoin Take To Send Across Exchanges?


Jonathan Gibson


Tags Guides

Reading time

9 mins
Last update


Jonathan Gibson




Bitcoin Guides

Reading time

9 mins
Last update


Jonathan Gibson



Reading time

9 mins
Last update

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It is not easy to answer the question “How long does Bitcoin take to send.” There are many factors that influence the transfer time when sending or buying Bitcoin. We should take into consideration the exchange we use, the network congestion and the fees paid. If we have a clear idea of these parameters, then we could also answer the above-mentioned question. 

This guide will be reviewing all these paraments. Although there will be no certain estimation about how long does Bitcoin take to send, it would give us a clear approximation of this time. 

How Long Does Bitcoin Take to Send?

The Bitcoin (BTC) network is currently the largest in the world. With it, users can send and receive BTC as long as they are connected to the internet. There is no centralized authority controlling the transactions that take place or not in this network. This is why we consider Bitcoin a decentralized blockchain. 

To answer the question of how long does it take to send Bitcoin, we would have to focus on different parameters that we need to understand. These parameters are key values that would allow us to understand the level of congestion of the network. In the next sections, we will analyze each of these factors and how it influences transaction times. 

Each exchange would require different transaction confirmations in order for a BTC transfer to be accepted. This is why the answer would depend on the platform we are using rather than on a Bitcoin network feature. 

Bitcoin Network Congestion

The congestion of the Bitcoin network is the main factor to take into consideration to understand how long does it take for Bitcoin to send. To understand Bitcoin’s congestion, we also have to know how Bitcoin mining works.

Understanding Proof-of-Work (Mining)

The Bitcoin network works with a Proof-of-Work (PoW) algorithm. This PoW algorithm requires miners located all over the world to process and approve the BTC transactions. Confirming transactions is a task that would have a clear impact on how long does bitcoin take to send. 

Miners have to process complicated mathematical puzzles through specialized hardware devices called ASIC. ASIC devices are very expensive and consume a lot of electricity. Miners are then rewarded with newly created BTC and the fees they collect from transactions. 

Transactions are grouped in blocks. These blocks on the BTC network have a size of 1 MB where information about transfers can be stored. Each Bitcoin block takes 10 minutes to be processed by miners around the world. 

When the blocks start getting full, miners will start prioritizing transactions that pay higher fees. Each transaction performed on the BTC network requires users to pay for fees. When blocks reach the 1 MB limit, miners process the transactions with higher fees. This is an incentive for miners to continue processing transactions. 

In some wallets, you can decide the level of fees paid. In some exchanges, the fees are standard calculations performed by the platform. Let’s have a closer look at Bitcoin fees and their impact on how long does bitcoin take to send. 

This information is only valid for proof-of-work digital currencies such as Bitcoin or Litecoin (LTC). Nevertheless, there are some differences between Bitcoin and other PoW blockchain networks. Thus, transaction times and fees might be different depending on the virtual currency used. 

Some people tend to use LTC or XRP for transfers and exchange the coins back to Bitcoin once the funds arrive at another platform. This helps users reduce waiting times and also spend lower fees on transfers. Nevertheless, this does not offer the same security level as handling BTC and there is also a price risk involved as well. 

Bitcoin Fees

Bitcoin fees are one of the main things to take into consideration to understand how long does Bitcoin take to send. When you perform a Bitcoin transfer, you can select the fees you want to pay. If you are using a crypto exchange or a wallet, the interface itself will ask you to select the fees you want to pay.

The higher the fee you pay, the faster the transaction will be processed. If the transaction is included in the following block, then it can take 10 minutes to be confirmed by a miner. If instead, the transaction has the lowest transaction fees (i.e. 1 satoshi), it would definitely have to wait to be processed until blocks start getting empty. 

Average Bitcoin Transaction Fee

If you decide to pay for the lowest network fee, you might not see your BTC processed in hours or even days if the network is congested. This is why understanding the effect of fees in the processing times is key. 

This does not mean, however, that we should pay for the highest fee. For example, during the 2017 bull market, the average BTC transaction fee reached $55. Thus, sending a fast Bitcoin transaction could be very expensive for a retail user. 

Most of the transactions at that time using the standard transfer fee were processed in several days. Cases of transactions being stuck for days have also been reported. 

Consequently, if you want your transaction to be processed immediately (as soon as in the next block), you have to pay the highest possible fee. But be cautious, if the network is congested the fee can get extremely high for a simple transfer. Nevertheless, if you use the lowest fee, it might not be processed at all in days. 

Exchange Confirmations

Exchange and wallet confirmations are also an important thing to analyze and understand how long does Bitcoin take to send. This is because each of these exchanges and wallets requires several blockchain confirmations (in general between 1 and 6) to accept BTC and other digital assets. 

If you want to know how long does it take to send Bitcoin from Coinbase, the answer would require you to analyse the fees you pay (low, standard, high) and the network confirmations required in the receiving exchange. 

The larger the network confirmations, the longer the time it would take for the transaction to be processed. Coinbase requires 3 confirmations for Bitcoin to be transferred into its platform. Other exchanges require a larger number of confirmations. That means that the answer to how long does Bitcoin take to send would require us to know the confirmation times for each exchange. 

How long does bitcoin take to send to Coinbase

If your exchange is not sharing this information, then you might not be able to calculate the estimated arrival time. Nevertheless, you can always contact the support team and get more information regarding the number of confirmations you need. 

The number of confirmations is certainly important in terms of security. Blockchain confirmations allow the network to verify and confirm a transaction is legitimate and valid. This is the method Satoshi Nakamoto invented in order to keep the Bitcoin network secure and decentralized. 

If a Bitcoin transaction is rejected because it is not valid, it would not be processed by the network. Furthermore, the larger the number of confirmations, the more secure the funds transacted are. 

With 0 Bitcoin confirmations, the funds can be reversed. This is extremely important. If you want to be sure the funds would be processed, you should always wait for at least one blockchain confirmation. 

For users that handle small amounts, one confirmation is enough to be almost sure the funds would arrive. The security of the transfer increase as new confirmations are added. For example, with 6 blockchain confirmations, most of the services and crypto platforms would consider the transfer processed. 

With more than 60 confirmations it might be literally very difficult to have an issue with the funds transferred. Most of the exchanges, as we have already mentioned, require between 1 and 6 transactions for the funds to be considered valid. 

Bitcoin Transfers From and to Coinbase

Bitcoin transfers from and to Coinbase work as any other BTC transfer you can do using Bitcoin. Nevertheless, you need to take into consideration the time it would take for the BTC to arrive at the other platform or wallet. 

coinbase logo

How long does Bitcoin take to send, Coinbase users generally ask. Surprisingly, the answer does not depend on Coinbase but on other exchanges and on the network congestion at that time. Indeed, Coinbase would release the funds immediately after you execute your withdrawal. 

How Long Does Coinbase Take to Send Bitcoin?

As soon as you process a BTC transaction in the Coinbase platform, the coins are sent immediately after. That means that there is no withdrawal delay for BTC transfers from Coinbase to any other platform. You should expect your funds to reach your wallet as soon as the transaction is processed by the miners. 

This brings us to the question: how long does it take for Coinbase to send Bitcoin? The answer is very simple: it takes just a few seconds for BTC to leave the Coinbase exchange. As we mentioned, we need to analyse the number of confirmations needed by other exchanges rather than by Coinbase. 

How Long Does It Take to Send Bitcoin to Binance?

The main aspect we have to take into consideration to send BTC funds from Coinbase to Binance is related to the number of confirmations Binance need to accept the transfer. Binance currently requires 1 block confirmation to receive funds. 

Binance logo and motto

That means that as soon as you send the BTC from Coinbase, they should reach the Binance exchange after one confirmation. Depending on the level of fees paid and the congestion of the network, the transaction can be processed between 10 or 30 minutes. In some cases, it may take a few hours if the BTC network is congested. 

Despite that, it is worth taking into consideration that it is faster to send BTC to Binance than to Coinbase. Binance only requires one network confirmation compared to three network confirmations from Coinbase. 

How Long Does it Take to Send Bitcoin from Coinbase to Bittrex?

Bittrex is another cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to trade digital assets. Users send and receive Bitcoin and many other digital currencies. As it happened with Coinbase and Binance, to know how long does Bitcoin take to send to Bittrex, we will need to have a clear idea of the number of confirmations they require for BTC to be accepted in this platform. 

In order to transfer Bitcoin from Coinbase to Bittrex, users would have to wait for two network confirmations. This is the number of blockchain confirmations needed in order to Bittrex to accept your coins. This can take between 20 and some more minutes depending on the congestion of the network. 

It is faster than Coinbase but slower than using Binance to receive BTC. Never forget that confirmations are not the only thing to take into consideration. If you don’t use enough fees to send your funds from Coinbase to Bittrex, it might take longer. 

It is worth noting that transactions are usually sent immediately from any exchange once you execute and confirm the transfer. The receiving platform would be the one deciding the number of confirmations required for a transaction to be considered confirmed. 

Final Words on Bitcoin Transaction Times

There are three main things we need to consider to understand how long does bitcoin take to send: transaction fees, network congestion and the number of confirmations required by exchanges. 

  • Transaction Fees
  • Network Congestion
  • Wallet and Exchange Number of Confirmation 

These things are going to play an important role to define the time it takes to send Bitcoin. The higher the congestion, the higher the fees you would have to pay for a transaction to be included in the next block. 

But even if your transaction is included in the next block, each of the exchanges would require a different number of confirmations before your coins would be credited to your wallet. For Coinbase, we have seen only three confirmations are needed. Bittrex is now requiring users to wait for two confirmations. Finally, Binance works with just one confirmation. 

This information will help you know how long does bitcoin take to send, how the BTC network works and which exchanges offer better solutions.