A transaction on the Ethereum blockchain is technically performed by an external account holder (not a contract). For example, if User A sends 1 Ether (ETH) to User B, the action of debiting one account and crediting another changes the state of the blockchain.
The change is made specifically on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). Ethereum transactions must be broadcast to the entire network, and any node can send a request to execute a transaction on the EVM.
After the request is broadcast, the validator can commit the transaction and propagate the state change to the entire network. Transaction fees are incurred during the validation process, and each transaction must be included in a validated block. There are different types of transactions on the Ethereum network:
- Regular Transactions: Transactions that take place from one account to another.
- Contract execution transactions: Transactions that interact with pervasive smart contracts (the “to” address is a smart contract address).
- Contract Post Transactions: Transactions that do not have a To address (the data field is simply used to post the smart contract code).
How to check the status of an Ethereum transaction
Here is a brief step-by-step guide on how to track Ethereum transactions:
Step 1: Select Ethereum Blockchain Explorer
Some of the blockchain explorers are specific to Ethereum, such as Etherscan, Ethplorer, and EthVM. Others support multiple chains, such as Blockchain.com and Tokenview, among others.
Step 2: Enter the transaction hash into the blockchain explorer search field
In Etherscan, for example, the search field is in the upper-left corner of the screen next to a drop-down menu that says “All Filters.” Depending on the tool, the user can search for information based on wallet address, transaction hash (txid), block, token, or domain name.
A txid is a unique identifier associated with a specific transaction. All transactions made on-chain, or those made to and from external addresses, carry a unique txid found in the transaction details.
Depending on the platform, it may also be called “fragmentation” or “text segmentation”. It usually looks like a string of random letters and numbers. On MetaMask, for example, a user can see the txid immediately when they click on the Activity tab and choose a transaction.
Other than txid, traders can also use their public address (a 42-character string that corresponds to their public account). In this case, they will be taken to an overview of their wallet activities, which will allow them to navigate to the selected transaction independently.
Related: Ethereum Wallets: A Beginner’s Guide to Storing ETH
Step 3: Click the search or enter icon in the blockchain explorer
Step 4: Check if the transaction was successful
How to know if an ETH transaction was successful: Details indicating the status of the transaction will appear on the Blockchain Explorer. If the transaction validated successfully and is now on the blockchain, it will say “success” or “successful”.
If no errors appear, the transaction has completed successfully. ETH must be credited to the destination wallet or exchange account within 24 hours of sending.
If an ether transaction fails, on the other hand, several error messages can appear:
- Error message or code: A red exclamation mark or error message that says “Bad Instructions” or “Out of Gas” means that the transaction was unsuccessful and the funds did not reach their intended destination. If an “Out of Gas” error occurs, users can double the gas limit they initially set and try again.
- Reverted: This relates to a smart contract user error. This means that the user has to re-verify the transaction details.
- Transaction not found: Either the transaction did not take place or it did not appear on the blockchain explorer yet. Try using another explorer. If it still doesn’t show up on many photos, there’s a good chance it doesn’t.
- Pending: The transaction is still waiting to be validated or processed, but it was in the explorer transaction pool. Sometimes, pending transactions can still be canceled or replaced by the user.
Related:How to Sell Ethereum: A Beginner’s Guide to Selling ETH
How long does an Ethereum transaction take to process?
The average transaction on the Ethereum blockchain typically takes between 15 seconds and five minutes to process, depending on several factors. This includes the amount paid to process it (the transaction fee) and how busy the network was at the time of processing.
Ethereum moved from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake blockchain after the merger. However, transaction speeds remain roughly the same. According to the Ethereum Foundation, it is a common misconception that consolidation greatly speeds up transactions.
There is a small difference, however, with holes occurring precisely every 12 seconds after merging compared to every 13.3 seconds before merging. Anyway, most users will hardly notice the change, as processing still usually depends on network congestion and transaction fees.
When a transaction is initiated, it is recorded in the Ethereum memory pool (mempool) and waits for validators to receive it. The mempool works like a waiting room where pending transactions are held.
Once the validator has entered the transaction data into a block and added the block to the blockchain, the transaction is considered complete. It is said to be completed and irreversible after six additional blocks have been mined and added on top of it.
By checking transaction status, traders can confirm whether their transaction succeeded or failed and how many blocks have been created since their transaction was added to the chain.
Why should traders check the status of a trade?
Ethereum participants must pay gas fees to use the network to transfer funds or deploy smart contracts. Fees depend largely on the number of participants waiting to execute transactions at a given time.
Thus network congestion and demand are directly proportional to transaction costs. When demand goes up, costs go up—and vice versa when demand is low. In any case, checking the status of a transaction helps a trader keep an eye on the cost of using the network.
It can also help users determine if the gas fee they have paid is enough to confirm their transaction. Low gas fees usually result in transactions being cut off or delayed, leaving them on hold for long periods of time, especially during heavy network congestion.
Such transactions will remain pending until the gas fee reaches the required minimum fee on the network. If this happens, the user can resubmit the transaction by resending it and increasing the gas fee while making sure it holds the same value.
In addition to the transaction status, Ethereum blockchain explorers can also uncover the following useful information:
- Timestamp: The date and time the transaction was added to the blockchain.
- Block confirmations: The number of blocks mined since the transaction was confirmed.
- Transaction fee: The fee paid to the miner or validator.
- ETH Price: The price of ETH at the time of processing.
- Base Fee: Lowest fee required to trade on Ethereum.
- Gas limit: The maximum amount of gas that the sender allocates to process the transaction.
- Nonce: a unique number that identifies each transaction performed on the user’s wallet; It increases by one each time a new transaction is sent.
By being aware of the above, traders can stay on top of their transactions with ETH and ensure that transactions are processed correctly and quickly. This helps ensure smooth Ethereum transactions when sending and receiving money or deploying smart contracts. Understanding transaction status can also help users adjust spending habits and improve network usage.