Bitcoin has extraordinary security measures to safeguard users’ information and funds on the network. One of those measures is confirming every transaction conducted over its network. A Bitcoin transaction is only complete after both parties have received confirmation of the money transfer. Transactions undergo several validations before they are rendered safe.

Some transactions, especially those that involve small amounts of Bitcoin, require just one confirmation. However, some service providers, such a bitcoin era, may need two, three, or more proofs. Transactions involving more significant amounts of Bitcoin, worth millions, usually require even more confirmations.

The main reason for Bitcoin transactions’ confirmation is to prevent double-spending and payment reversal. Unconfirmed Bitcoin payments are invalid, meaning miners have not added them to the blockchain. And this makes it possible for untrustworthy users to attempt spending the same tokens twice while creating the opportunity for users to reverse or cancel Bitcoin payments.

However, it is not always that simple. This article highlights the essentials to know about canceling an unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction.

How to Cancel an Unconfirmed Bitcoin Transaction

You can quickly make small mistakes when sending Bitcoin. And, it makes perfect sense that you may want to cancel that transaction. Besides, funds can also get stuck on the mempool if the miner’s fee is not sufficient for any miner to confirm your transaction. The mempool contains a backlog of all unconfirmed Bitcoin transactions.

Unlike other systems where you can cancel a transaction by simply pressing a button, canceling Bitcoin transactions is complex. Here’s a guide on how to cancel an unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction.

Check the Status of the Transaction 

Remember, you can only cancel a Bitcoin transaction before it is confirmed. So, you should first check if the transaction has any confirmations. Every Bitcoin transaction generates a transaction ID that you should copy and paste onto a block explorer. That will provide you with all the transaction details, including the number of confirmations. You won’t reverse or cancel the transaction if the number of proofs is greater than 0. A Bitcoin transaction with one or more confirmations is complete and irreversible.

Strategies for Cancelling Unconfirmed Bitcoin Transactions 

Two primary approaches exist for canceling unconfirmed Bitcoin transactions. They include Replace by Fee (RBF) and Double spending using a higher fee.

Some Bitcoin wallets support the RBF protocol, allowing users to replace their original transactions with new ones with higher transaction fees. That would unstick your transaction effectively. However, using that feature is only possible if you had made the original transaction replaceable through an opt-in checkbox.

You may still be able to cancel an unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction, double spending with a higher fee, in case the RBF protocol is ineffective. To do that, initiate a new transaction equal to the amount of the original one and send it to your wallet address. However, the miner’s fee for the new transaction should be higher than the original one.

You may require another wallet or special software that supports double spending to broadcast the transaction on the network. If you are successful, miners will immediately pick up the new Bitcoin transaction, and your Bitcoin will go back to your wallet safely. Although some miners and Bitcoin wallets have safeguards against double-spending, it is still possible.

You can cancel an unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction via the strategies discussed above. However, there is no guarantee that all attempts will be successful. So, observe caution when making Bitcoin transactions, double-checking the recipient’s public address and the amount of Bitcoin to be transferred before hitting the send button.