Confirmation time refers to the duration of a blockchain transaction to be recorded into a confirmed block by miners on the network.
As with many blockchain networks, such a Bitcoin and Ethereum, miners or validators on the network are required to verify and validate individual transactions.
The confirmation process is such that once the transaction is validated, it is added to a block and distributed across the entire network for block confirmation by other miner nodes. The time it takes between the transaction initiation on the network, and the block confirmation is referred to as the confirmation time.
What is a block confirmation?
When initiating a crypto transfer from one wallet address to another, the sender simply registers the transaction on the blockchain network, which remains in a queue of unconfirmed transactions (known as mempool) until it is validated by a miner on the network. In practice, miners are more inclined to validate transactions with higher transaction fees as they offer greater incentives; hence they are quickly taken off the queue, leading to faster transaction times. Once a transaction is verified and added to a block, it gets its first confirmation.
Note that with each block mined after the block containing your transaction, that transaction receives an additional confirmation. Depending on the blockchain network’s architecture, the number of block confirmations required for a transaction to be considered secure and irreversible varies. Hence, some crypto exchanges require more block confirmations than others and the average time interval for a transaction to be confirmed varies as well.
Also, the number of block confirmations required for a transaction to be considered secure and irreversible could vary with the size of the transaction. Smaller transactions typically require 1 or 2 block confirmations, while larger crypto transactions require additional block confirmations.