I recently came across a nifty service being offered by the ViaBTC mining pool, the ViaBTC Transaction Accelerator.
With the recent flood of low-fee unconfirmed transactions clogging up the Bitcoin network, this service can be useful if you find yourself in a situation where a transaction just will not confirm. They do limit submissions to just 100 per hour, so with the recent pileup of unconfirmed transactions waiting to get into a block, the queue may be full and should only be used once several hours or days have gone by, so as not to abuse the service.
This also should not substitute for paying the appropriate fee. However, if you find yourself in a situation similar to mine where I was sending a smaller amount of BTC and just accepted the client’s default fee recommendation, I had a payment wait in the unconfirmed state for a couple of days, the accelerator can be useful to try and get the transaction moving.
ViaBTC’s accelerator service works by including your transaction in the next block that their pool mines. This means you will also need to wait until the ViaBTC pool actually mines a block, which could be from one to as many as 8 hours, based on their average of 7-8 BTC blocks mined per day. This is another reason to not try and game the system by trying to bypass paying fees or accelerate low fee transactions that have only been delayed for a short amount of time (<8 hours).
As of this past January, the ViaBTC Transaction Accelerator has processed over 5,000 transactions successfully, which is quite a milestone.
To use the service, all you will need is the transaction ID of your pending Bitcoin transfer, which you will enter on the website. You will be presented with a brief message regarding their stance on the state of Bitcoin and the block size debate, which you can dismiss. You then enter your Transaction ID along with a captcha, and the website will provide feedback if your transaction was accepted to be placed in the accelerator queue or if the number of submissions has exceeded their capacity. In the later case, you can attempt to accelerate your transaction again after a period of time.
These “accelerated” transactions will then be prioritized to be included in the next block that is mined by the pool without having to pay any additional fees.
If the Bitcoin network is functioning normally, and assuming the transfer contains a proper fee, Bitcoin transactions take on average ten minutes to receive the first confirmation. With the current backlog of unconfirmed transactions, this has caused the priority fees to rise close to, or even exceeding, the $1.00 mark. While some may complain about this higher fee since in the past once of Bitcoin’s features was the ability to transfer large sums for just 10 cents, even the current fee’s are a bargain compared to more traditional money transmitters which can have fees starting at $30 USD.
Even with ViaBTC’s stance on the current Bitcoin block size debate, it is nice to see one miner try and help out the larger community by providing this service. It remains to be seen if other pools will offer a similar service, or even if some take advantage of the situation and try to charge extra fees, but for now kudos to ViaBTC for being proactive and trying to help out the common person.