Litecoin is faster than Bitcoin. However, how fast is Litecoin in reality, and how long does a Litecoin transaction take?
A Litecoin transaction needs at least 2.5 minutes until it’s confirmed by miners.
Because one block is mined every 2.5 minutes. Therefore, your transaction could be included in the next block after 2.5 minutes. In comparison, the Bitcoin network needs approximately 10 minutes to mine a new block. Therefore, Litecoin is 4 times faster than Bitcoin.
So, but why do you have to wait most of the time for more than 2.5 minutes until your transaction is confirmed?
If the network is busy and more transactions are waiting to be confirmed, miners choose the transactions that pay the highest transaction fees and include them in a newly mined block. So, transactions that pay higher transaction fees get prioritized by miners.
Does block size matter?
If we compare the block size, Litecoin and Bitcoin have the same block size at 1MB per block.
However, if we compare the blockchain size, Bitcoin is 150+GB, and Litecoin only 22GB.
How is this possible? The block size is the same, right? Litecoins blockchain should be four times bigger than Bitcoins, or?
Yeah, theoretically yes, but there are not as many transactions ongoing on the Litecoin network as on the Bitcoin network.
The block size I mentioned is just the block size limit. Meaning, there can be transactions included in one block being worth up to 1MB size.
As a conclusion, if there are no transactions ongoing on the network, the block size is lower.
Example: 100 transactions are waiting to be confirmed. Let’s pretend every transaction has a size of 100 bytes. Therefore, the total size would be 1kb. So, if there are not more transactions waiting to be confirmed, the size of the next block would be approximately 1kb, not 1MB.
Furthermore, this is the reason why Litecoins blockchain is smaller than Bitcoins. It generates blocks 4 times faster than Bitcoin, but there is not as much activity ongoing on the Litecoin network as on the Bitcoins network.
Do certain services (Binance, Coinbase) get prioritized by miners?
It doesn’t matter if you use Binance, Coinbase, or another exchange. They usually pay standard fees. Therefore, if you withdraw Litecoins from an exchange, you have to wait at least 2.5 minutes until your transaction is confirmed.
Usually, it takes even longer. Don’t worry, if you paid normal transaction fees, your transaction will be confirmed at some point.
Why does an exchange doesn’t pay higher transaction fees?
Because they want to please the customers and they are not happy if they have to pay an extraordinary fee. Afterward, they would probably change service.
As a conclusion, exchanges don’t get prioritized by miners, because they pay normal transaction fees.
The importance of transaction confirmations
Let’s have a look at confirmations.
When is a transaction trustworthy?
A zero-confirmation transaction is never trustworthy.
Because it is not included in a block and therefore not on the blockchain. It’s just in the Mempool, the waiting room for unconfirmed transactions.
But why is a zero-confirmation transaction untrustworthy?
Because there are techniques to undo the transaction. If you are curious, I covered 4 techniques to unstuck your transaction at my other post: Why is your Bitcoin transaction taking so long? You can also apply these methods to a Litecoin transaction.
So, there are techniques to undo your transactions, even if you submitted it to the network, but it is just in the Mempool. Therefore, services and other people shouldn’t trust an unconfirmed transaction.
Why does your Litecoin transaction take so long to confirm?
You now know that a Litecoin block is mined every 2.5 minutes. However, you don’t exactly know when your transaction will be confirmed.
It is nearly impossible to tell when your transaction will be confirmed.
However, there are indicators/tools to check how long the estimated waiting time currently is.
#1 Check the Mempool
The Mempool is a good indicator to check if the network is currently busy.
As you can see, the Mempool size spiked in 2019, when the big bull run of the cryptocurrencies happened. A lot of people started investing in other altcoins like Litecoin besides Bitcoin and therefore, the transaction count went up. On the other side, the network had to handle a lot more transactions and the transaction fees went up.
People had to wait longer because the network couldn’t handle that many transactions anymore. Even if they paid average transaction fees. There were just too many transactions ongoing.
However, the chart also shows you that in comparison with one or two weeks in 2019, the Mempool size of the other months was dramatically lower. Therefore, people had to wait for less and don’t needed to pay that much.
#2 Checkout a block explorer
I used tokenview.com for this example. However, you can choose your favorite block explorer, if the block explorer supports Litecoin.
-) Average fee tool
This is one of the most useful charts to check out before you make a transaction on the Litecoin network. It shows you the average fee of each Litecoin transaction.
The block explorer updates the chart every day and you could compare the amount you pay with the amount everybody else paid. If you pay significantly more, you get included faster, if you pay less, you have to wait a little bit longer.
Nonetheless, it is a good starting point to get data about how much everybody else paid for a Litecoin transaction.
-) Pending transactions
However, don’t get fooled. The average transaction fee chart should be used in combination with the pending transactions chart.
Let’s say all of the waiting transactions paid average transaction fees. However, let’s say 100.000 transactions are waiting to be confirmed.
The chart above would tell you that everything is fine and the chart would adjust based on the confirmed transaction fees. However, nobody paid more, but you would have to wait a long time until your transaction is confirmed.
This usually doesn’t happen. However, exchanges normally have a fixed amount they pay for one transaction.
The block explorer also shows you what the total size of all waiting transactions are and you could, therefore, estimate how long it would take to verify all transactions. Remember, one block could hold up to 4MB worth of transactions and is mined every 2.5 minutes.
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Here is a video how to unstuck your Litecoin transaction (I know, it is a video about a stuck Bitcoin transaction, but you can apply the concept for the Litecoin network).