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Definition: Bitcoin confirmation


A Bitcoin transaction is confirmed when it is combined in a block with other transacactions and added to the blockchain. A new block is added approximately every 10 minutes, and every new block added thereafter means greater assurance of an irreversible transaction. For very large value transactions, six confirmations are generally desired, which can take an hour. For multi-million dollar transactions, dozens of confirmations may be required. However, to buy an inexpensive item or send a small amount of coins to someone, very often no confirmation is needed.

Layer 2 Chains
To deal with confirmation delays, independent blockchains known as "sidechains" or "Layer 2 chains" are used to handle small transactions, each chain having its own confirmation equivalency method. After a certain number of transactions are added to these auxiliary chains, a summary is added to the main blockchain such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, which makes the transactions incontestable (see sidechain and Layer 2 blockchain). See Bitcoin mining and Bitcoin.