Consider the transaction 948a427.. which has 3341 confirmations as of now:

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We can see that the time the relay is received at 8:36:30 and it has one confirmation at 08:50:04 (after 14 minutes).

How do we find out the exact time when it has 3 confirmations?


The first confirmation was in block 298902, so the third confirmation was with block 298904, which is timestamped as 2014-05-03 09:42:49 (66 minutes after it was first received).

However, this timestamp is later than the one in the block after it, suggesting that a timestamp was pretty far off. As Matthieu's answer shows, blockcypher.com's API includes the time that they first saw the transaction. This suggests that the actual time three confirmations was reached was around 2014-05-03T09:31:55.867Z, approximately 59 minutes after the transaction was created (since it was relayed by Blockchain.info, I'm assuming the transaction timestamp there is accurate).

  • That's what I'd thought initially, but that doesn't seem right, because block 298905 is 10 minutes before block 298904... it seems to suggest that I've got 4 confirmations before I had 3? – Pacerier May 23 '14 at 14:04
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    A timestamp is incorrect, probably the one on 298904. There are certain rules for enforcing timestamp correctness, but they have some leeway. (each block references the one before it, so it's quite impossible to have blocks come in out of order) – Tim S. May 23 '14 at 14:12
  • Do you mean that we have to guess the timing of the confirmations? Shouldn't there be a better way, for example, querying blockchain.info of the time when it receives the broadcast? – Pacerier May 23 '14 at 14:16
  • Yes, that would be good. No, blockchain.info doesn't appear to record that. In fact, I assumed this is what their "Received Time" field should mean. But apparently it's just a repeat of the "Timestamp" field. Perhaps this is due to a simple mistake, which could be fixed for future (maybe also past) blocks. I'll see if I can report this as a bug... – Tim S. May 23 '14 at 14:43
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    Besides blockchain.info, Are there any other alternatives we can rely on to get this information (timing when block is received)? I do not ask for exact timing, but in-order sequential timing of blocks is crucial. Basically it doesn't make sense if the timing for the 4th confirmation is before the 3rd confirmation.... – Pacerier May 23 '14 at 14:57

As answered by Tim S. the 3rd confirmation is on block 298904. But the received time on blockchain.info is mostly inaccurate, see:

http://api.blockcypher.com/v1/btc/main/blocks/298902 http://api.blockcypher.com/v1/btc/main/blocks/298904 http://api.blockcypher.com/v1/btc/main/blocks/298905

So 298904 was received at 9:31:55 while 298905 was received at 9:32:04.

  • By the data from your links, Do you mean 298904 at 9:31:55, while 298905 at 9:32:04? – Pacerier May 24 '14 at 6:56
  • Correct, sorry, updated my answer. – Matthieu May 24 '14 at 15:40

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