After performing a Bitcoin transaction, it is impossible to cancel the transaction after confirmation and completion. But the good news is that you can cancel a bitcoin transaction if it is unconfirmed. It remains unapproved if it is not passed by the blockchain within 24 hours.
Note that transactions whose transaction fee offer isn’t competitive enough will sit in the mempool, waiting for miners to clear out the transactions that had paid a higher fee.
A Bitcoin transaction may remain unconfirmed for the following primary reasons:
- If it’s very recent, a user might have to wait longer to receive confirmation. Even the quickest network takes a minimum of 10 minutes to confirm a transaction.
- If the transaction fee was too low or not included, it might be unconfirmed.
Reverse an unapproved transaction
You can reverse your Bitcoin transaction if unconfirmed within 24 hours. But, ensure that the transaction is truly unconfirmed. This means that you have to wait for 24 hours. If you don’t get a confirmation within this time, use a reliable block explorer to confirm the status of your transaction.
Since the blockchain is public, you can easily track your transaction. What you need to do is to enter the transaction ID or hash to follow it with the block explorer. Examples of block explorers include Blockchain.com, Blockcypher, Tokenview, Blockchair, Tradeblock and CoinMarketCap.
As earlier stated, every Bitcoin transaction requires at least three confirmations to be fully confirmed. If your transaction has two or one approval, you have to wait for a third validation.
How to Cancel a Bitcoin transaction
If your transaction remained unconfirmed after 24 hours, you can cancel your transaction.
- Use Replace by Fee (RBF Protocol
- Use Higher Fee Double Spend Transaction
With the RBF Protocol, you broadcast a Bitcoin transaction to the entire network for a second time but with a higher fee. That way, miners pick the transaction faster, thereby canceling the previous expenditure and creating a new one.
However, your Bitcoin wallet might not support RBF Protocol. Therefore, check whether your wallet allows you to do this first. You can select this option when sending out bitcoins to ensure that you can use it if necessary.
But if your wallet doesn’t allow you to use RBF Protocol, use the double-spend option. That means you create a new transaction with a similar amount. That means sending your Bitcoin transaction a second time with a higher fee.