What are bitcoin “confirmations”?

Moderator: kyletorpey

What are bitcoin “confirmations”?

by prats » Thu Apr 17, 2014 1:34 pm

When I receive bitcoins I see a certain number of "confirmations" in the client. What do these mean?
 
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Re: What are bitcoin “confirmations”?

by kyletorpey » Fri May 23, 2014 11:01 pm

The main issue that was solved with Bitcoin was the double-spending problem. The distributed Bitcoin ledger is what's used to make sure that a person cannot spend the same bitcoins twice. Although most people are used to Bitcoin transactions showing up on their computers or mobile phones instantly, the reality is those transactions are not actually confirmed until a few minutes later. Although unconfirmed transactions are currently deemed to be generally safe, users sending larger amounts of bitcoin should wait for at least a few confirmations. Once a transaction has received one confirmation, it basically means that the current version of the Bitcoin blockchain (or the ledger that lists who owns what) has been officially changed. Technically speaking, a malicious miner could decide to attack the Bitcoin network, which is why it's always best to wait for 3-6 confirmations when you're talking about purchasing something like a car or house with bitcoins. The more confirmations a transaction has, the less likely it is that the transaction will be reversed in the future.
 
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