TUTORIAL - How to fix Unconfirmed Transactions!

in bitcoin •  last year

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The Bitcoin network is seriously clogged now, I have had many problems with transactions and maybe you too, if you've set a low fee, it can be stuck in limbo for up to 1 week before being rejected. But I have quickly figured out how to solve this issue if you have unconfirmed transactions for a long time.

The solution:

Now the RBF should be straightforward, but not all wallets support it, so I am going to show you the hard and long way to fix it, by teaching you how to double-spend a transaction.

WARNING: Don't be evil! Don't use the double-spend for chargeback scams! You should only use it to fix your limbo unconfirmed transactions as a last resort!




Double Spending

  • First of all you will need Electrum Wallet, because it's easier to edit and configure, so download it, and verify the download signature: https://electrum.org/#download

DISCLAIMER: The address and wallet shown below is not mine and it's not associated with me at all. I have just picked a random Bitcoin address with an unconfirmed transaction from the memory pool.

I have picked a random wallet, and named it RANDOM, it's watch only, but you get the idea, this should be your wallet with an unconfirmed transaction in it. I will demonstrate here how to fix that unconfirmed transaction. You can fix multiple unconfirmed ones too, just by repeating this procedure.

SCR1.png

We have 1 unconfirmed transaction here, and we need to get rid of it, so here is what you will do:

  • Disconnect the Internet, because we will remove this transaction from the wallet, it's unconfirmed so don't worry. Don't reconnect the Internet, because it will re-download it, and you have to start all over again.

  • Copy the hash of the transaction, by right clicking on it and copy. It should be a SHA-256 hash, the one used in this demonstration is: 8dbb8e508aaaf858412559c8047e034cda7f1f35c6738238b9db84a3cca9b872

  • Create a Backup of the wallet, so if you mess up you can restore it!

  • Open the wallet file with a text editor. The format of the wallet is JSON, so it should be easy to edit if you are familiar with it.

  • Press CTRL-F on the keyboard, and search for this hash in the file. It should appear 4 times, in different places, you need to delete them, but carefully to keep the JSON syntax intact, so I have highlighted what you need to delete, it should be different for you, but you will get the idea, it should be everything that is highlighted:

1.png

Here the section between the [] brackets needs to be deleted + the coma above.

2.png

This is the transaction data section, the TX hash and right below the data should be deleted, as highlighted above.

3.png

Delete everything between the {} brackets in the highlighted stuff + the comma after the brackets.

4.png

Delete everything between the {} brackets in the highlighted stuff + the comma after the brackets.

  • Now open the wallet (you should still be offline), and check it it loads. If it loads then you did a good job. If it doesn't load then you restore the backup and do it again because you probably deleted something that you should have not.

NOTX.png

The unconfirmed transaction should no longer be there, so that now we can spend it again!

  • Re-create the transaction, but this time put a higher fee:
    • Go to : http://bitcoinfees.21.co from another PC or phone (your pc should still be offline) and check what is the optimal fee
    • Currently it is 100 satoshi / Byte, but in electrum it's KB, so multiply that by 1024
    • 100 * 10^-8 * 1024 = 0.001024 satoshi /KB
    • Go to Electrum's preferences, and set your fee preference

preference.png

  • Sign your transaction, and save it to a file, it should end with .txn extension

  • Now, start your Internet, and create a fresh electrum wallet. You have to make a new one to broadcast it, because the other one will get updated as soon as you go online, and it doesn't let us send this way, so you should make a new wallet, but it's just a dummy wallet.

  • Open the dummy wallet, and load your saved transaction from file. Then just click on the Broadcast button, and you are done!

LOAD.png


That's it, you are done now, your previous unconfirmed transaction will be cancelled, and it will be overwritten by this new one we created, and with a proper fee, it should get confirmed in no-time!

THANKS FOR READING, ASK QUESTIONS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!


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1 week!??/ wow the most ive ever waited was 3+ hours and that was rough, but once i got a new wallet ive had no problem

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It should cancel in 24-48 hours if it doesnt go through, but if a node re-broadcasts it accidentally or maliciously, then it can be stuck FOREVER. I have had my TX stuck for 48 hours, and then some jackass rebroadcasted it, and it was in limbo for more than 72 hours, before I figured out this method and successfully recovered my money with a double spend.

So this is a last resort procedure to recover your money.

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What wallet is working well? is it a multi coin?

Very useful article ! I follow you !

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Thanks, check out my other articles, all of them are useful imo.

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How long does this process take?

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I was able to follow along and created a dummy wallet but when I hit broadcast I received an error "error: The transaction was rejected by network rules. (258: txn-mempool-conflict)"

Does the pay to field in electrum need to be set to the same exact address as the original transaction that had too small a fee? I did change the address in my example so perhaps that caused the issue?

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did you get this resolved? I was having the same problem

FTR in electrum 2.9.2 i had the hash appear 5 times in the wallet text, repeating these steps the wallet didn't load again so be aware. Might have to remove the 5 command line but as Im not sure what part and not, there's some additional shuffling..

I have 3 transactions unconfirmed now for over 2 days. I am kinda freaking out. Makes no sense there is a backdoor method and not frontdoor.
Until a transact actually confirms we could have more EDIT control. I am using a coinomi wallet ,, not sure how to do this with that. yet

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Since I posted this article they have added 2 "rescue" methods:

  • Child pays for parent
  • Replace by fee

With the RBF you have to enable that flag when sending the transaction, usually enabled by default, so you can replace the TX with a new one.

Otherwise you can use the other methid in which a 2nd transation is sent that increases the cumulative fee for the first one.

Look into them and see if your wallet can process that:

See if your can rescue your transaction.

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Thanks child pays for parent worked with heavy fees.. the bittersweetness of mass adoption.

I did the whole thing but My Electrum wallet still on Watching only mode. I sweeped the PRivate Key but still stuck on that mode. Otherwise I've changed the wallet and deleted those related with my stuck transaction. What's the problem with it? Anyone help?