How do I send coins? How long does it take?
Sending coins from one place to another is an integral part of the cryptocurrency process. After all, what good is currency if there’s no way to use it? But before you start sending coins all over the world, there are some things you should keep in mind.
- Find the destination wallet address for the type of coin you want to send. Often times, these wallet addresses will be found at the “Receive/Deposit” section of the platform (exchange, wallet, etc.) that you want to send coins to.
- Copy/paste that address into the “Send/Withdraw” section wherever you store your coins.
- Double check that the recipient address is correct. Remember – transactions are irreversible so, so if you send your coins to the wrong place, they are gone forever.
- Press confirm or send and… and then wait patiently.
- Once your transaction is confirmed, check the destination – your coins should be there!
Note: Sometimes you are able to generate new wallet addresses so that you do not always send your coins to the same address. Though these addresses are different, they are still tied to your account and the send coins will still appear in your balances.
Checking The Address
We touched on this above, but it is imperative to double check your wallet address several times before you hit send. Cryptocurrency transactions are irreversible, so if you have a typo in your address, you would lose all the coins in that transaction. Many people go through the process start to finish with a smaller amount to make sure that everything works, and then send over the rest after the transaction is confirmed.
Transaction times can vary greatly, and are dependent on several factors:
- Type of coin: For example, Bitcoin’s block confirmation times are roughly 10 minutes while Ethereum’s are roughly 15 seconds.
- Transaction fees: If you offer miners more fees to mine your transaction, it will likely be confirmed sooner rather than later. Note that only some wallets/services let you control this. Others set it for you automatically. If you do want to manually set your fee depending on the speed vs price you want to pay, you can see on these fee tracking sites what would be the most optimal fee to set on your transaction for Bitcoin (https://bitcoinfees.info/) or Ethereum (https://ethgasstation.info/).
- Network congestion: When a coin’s network is particularly congested, it will take much longer than normal for your transaction to complete. Sometimes, Bitcoin transactions can take hours or days to get a single confirmation. This occurs when there are a lot of transactions but not enough mining hash power to handle them all. You can take a look at the following website to track unconfirmed Bitcoin transactions in real-time: https://blockchain.info/unconfirmed-transactions.
- Destination: The service/platform at which you are receiving the coins may also differ in how they handle incoming transactions. Some require more block confirmations before they consider a transaction final. Others simply have a slow system that will not refresh as often as you may like. Finally, sometimes they are just down for maintenance, and there’s nothing to do except wait.
After you send your coins, you might want to view the status of your transaction while you wait for it to be confirmed. You can do so by using a blockchain explorer and inputting the transaction hash or transaction id. This information is usually provided by the place you send your coins from after your transaction is submitted. You can also input the origin and destination addresses into the blockchain explorer, but you will have to manually search for your transaction if there are multiple ones associated with those addresses.
Once the explorer finds your transaction, you can see details such as current status (pending, confirmed, failed), how many confirmations are complete, the transaction fee, origin and destination addresses, and more. Note that not all coins have blockchain explorers available.
Here are some popular blockchain explorers for you to check out:
Transaction fees might differ depending on network congestion and the service you are sending your coins from.
- Within exchanges: Usually moving coins from wallet to wallet within exchanges is free and instantaneous. This is the case for GDAX and Coinbase, for example.
- Out of exchanges: Sending coins out of exchanges usually incurs a fee. The network fee is set by the exchange for the miners to confirm your transaction. Exchanges often have their own withdrawal fee as well. This depends on their business model and may vary coin to coin.
- Out of wallets: If you are sending coins from a wallet you control, you can often set the transaction fee yourself. In Ethereum, this would be the gas limit and gas price. Setting a higher transaction fee generally means that your transaction will be confirmed faster.
Special Case: Paper Wallets
If you store coins in paper wallets, the process to transfer those coins is a little more complicated, because you need to use a software wallet to access the coins from a paper wallet. If you have Bitcoin-based coins in a paper wallet, you will need to “sweep” your balance because of something called “change addresses”. Please do further research on this particular topic to make sure you handle your paper wallet funds properly!
If you’re new to the crypto world, you might want to check out our article that explains how wallet addresses and public/private keys work.
This article was written to the best of our knowledge with the information available to us. We do not guarantee that every bit of information is completely accurate or up-to-date. Please use this information as a complement to your own research. Nothing we write in any of our articles is intended as investment advice nor as an endorsement to buy/sell/hold anything. Cryptocurrency investments are inherently risky so you should never invest more than you can afford to lose.