Nick

Nick

Nick started out in bitcoin with a basic mining rig in 2011 and has since become a strong proponent of the cryptocurrency. In his spare time he writes for the bitcoin gambling website bigcoingambling.com and invests in  businesses operating in the bitcoin space.
Nick

The Electrum bitcoin wallet is one of the most popular and highly recommended wallets available. The wallet is lightweight and features added security with 2-step authentication and multi-sig setup. The wallet will give you an excellent interface with bitcoin, however problems can arise that are outside of Electrum’s control, and in this article we look at “pending” transactions in the Electrum wallet.

Why is my transaction pending?

Please note: a pending transaction can mean different things to different wallets. This relates only to Electrum.

Pending transactions can happen in Electrum for a few different reasons:

  1. Mining fees
  2. Server issues
  3. Software bugs

Mining Fees

This is the most common cause of a pending transaction in Electrum. Miners will process transactions based on the size of the transaction (in bytes) and the fee that you set for the transaction. If your transaction was sent with a low or zero fee and the amount was large, then you run the risk of having your transaction fall to the bottom of the pile. As a result, a transaction may take a number of days to finally process.

Why Does This Happen?

If the network is experiencing increased levels of transactions, a mining fee that was medium priority yesterday, may be low priority today. This may also happen during a DDoS attack, and a result you could find that a transaction takes a number of days process.

Do not panic, your bitcoin transaction will process eventually.

Ensuring Your Electrum Transactions Process

The speed of a bitcoin transaction is typically of high importance. A payment that takes days to process can cause serious problems for the purchaser; to avoid this happening again you should take notice of how busy the bitcoin network is currently.

A website like cointape.com will give you a very quick overview of the recommended mining fee for any given size (in bytes) of a transaction i.e. ‘Satoshis per byte’. Once you’ve decided on how quickly you would like your transaction to take place, you can set the appropriate fee in your Electrum wallet. In Electrum you can set your mining fee under tools > preferences:

electrum preferences

A simple step like this can ensure that you avoid having any major headaches with pending transactions in the future.

Server Issues

server connection

If the transaction fee isn’t the problem then it may be that you have a poor connection with the bitcoin network. Check the status symbol at the bottom right of your Electrum wallet. If it’s not green then that may be a reason for your pending transaction – click the symbol to open your Network preferences.

network pref

From here you can manually select another network. Once connected, restart your Electrum wallet and any issues caused by poor connectivity will be addressed. Please note, it may be your own Internet connection that is the root of the problem.

Software Bugs

While unlikely, your pending transaction could be a result of a bug in your Electrum software. This has only been reported a handful of times but it is worth considering as a potential cause of the problem.

backup wallet

To ensure that your software is working as it should, backup your wallet (save your wallet file) and download the latest version of Electrum from electrum.org.