By Mattison Asher
TL;DR: Click the speed up button and pay extra to make sure your transaction goes through ASAP OR click the cancel button and pay a little extra to cancel your transaction
Have you ever submitted a transaction on your MetaMask and waited FOR EVER for that transaction to go through? Maybe you are looking to buy the latest and greatest token on Uniswap, or buy that NFT you always wanted on Rarible. Yet after you submit your transaction, seconds, minutes, hours, and finally even days pass and your transaction still has not yet gone through.
While there is a technical explanation for why your transactions don’t go through immediately, all you really need to know is that your transaction gets “stuck” somewhere, and you might have to pay more gas for it to go through. Why do you have to pay a higher fee, though? Didn’t you already submit the fee MetaMask suggested when you submitted your transaction?
Unfortunately, when you submitted your transaction, there was a surge in demand on the network, meaning other people wanting their transactions to go through set higher gas prices than you did. Their higher gas prices are incentivizing miners to verify their transactions before you. Similar to how Disney World lets people with fast passes, who paid more for those tickets than normal tickets, enter rides before the masses, miners verify transactions from the people who pay higher gas fees.
You see that it has been 30 minutes and your transaction has not gone through. What do you do?
You really have three options.
The first option is to wait and hope gas fees across the network come down. Maybe you need to pay back your mom for a meal you ordered via GrubHub. Your mom is a die-hard ETHead, so she will only accept repayment in ETH. You know that your mom will likely still love you even if it takes a little time for you to pay her back. So maybe you are OK waiting a few days to see if demand on the network goes down, incentivizing miners to eventually execute your transaction.
The second option is to speed up your transaction. Maybe you want to get into the hottest new token trading on Uniswap because you just KNOW it is about to pump. In this scenario, you don’t want to miss out on the price action, so you might be willing to pay an extra fee in order to make sure your transaction is executed ASAP. MetaMask allows you to do this through their speed up button, which can be found here:
Once you click the speed up function, you will have to submit an extra fee that will incentivize miners to include your transaction ASAP. In this scenario, on the back end, MetaMask is re-publishing the transaction with higher gas using the same nonce as your first transaction that is stuck. If it is too complicated, don’t worry. All you need to know is that if you are willing to pay a bit more, your transaction is much more likely to go through quickly.
Finally, the last option is canceling the transaction. Maybe you were submitting a bid for an NFT, but now see that other people have bid much higher than you are willing to bid anyway so your bid at this point would be worthless. For a small fee, you can actually cancel the transaction by clicking the cancel button, which is the bubble below the pending transaction. The benefits of canceling is that it will no longer be pending, meaning you won’t wake up tomorrow and be like “wait a second, I didn’t even want that bid to go through but now it has!”
This series article is intended for general guidance and information purposes only for beginners participating in cryptocurrencies and DeFi. The contents of this article are not to be construed as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult with your advisors for all legal, business, investment, and tax implications and advice. ConsenSys is not responsible for any lost funds. Please use your best judgment and practice due diligence before interacting with smart contracts.