You've sent a friend some Bitcoin (BTC). It's been a couple of minutes, but it isn't showing up in their account. You check your Bitcoin Wallet of choice. The transaction says it's Unconfirmed. You start to panic — maybe you've sent it to the wrong person. While that could be the case, that's not what the Unconfirmed Transaction message is referring to. Here's everything you need to know about Unconfirmed Transactions.
In a nutshell, an unconfirmed transaction means that the transaction has not been included on a Block (that's a metaphorical page of the ledger that is the Blockchain) and thus has not been completed, requiring at least one Miner to solve a computational process to catalog the transfer in the Blockchain. As soon as that's done, the transaction will receive a confirmation and the funds will be moved to the recipient's Wallet.
Some common reasons for unconfirmed transactions are:
◘ You've just made the transfer. The network requires at least ten minutes — on average — to include the transaction on a Block. That's not to mean it will be done in ten minutes. Although unlikely, it can take up to 48 hours to be processed;
◘ The fee you've assigned to the transaction, if you've taken the reins and done it yourself, is far too low to be marked as urgent; the lower the fee, the lower the transaction's priority in the network, thus the longer the confirmation will take;
◘ The Blockchain is overloaded. As such, there's a backlog of transactions that need to be cleared before yours can be processed. There's not much that can be done here, other than sitting back and waiting for the Miners to do their thing.
Want to learn more about Cryptocurrency? Check out our Beginner's Guide.