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I'm wondering if there's a way that I can calculate how long it will take for a transaction of x BTC paid a y fee to get z confirmations based on current difficulty

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The creation of blocks is purely random but does trend towards 10 minutes per block. The lower z is the less accurately the predictions will be. It is up to the miners to decide which transactions they include, different mining pool software can choose different transactions, thus there is no formula to determine the answer to this question. It will always vary.

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  • Damn, so there's no way to even really come close to an accurate calculation on that?
    – Rob
    May 19, 2016 at 1:06
  • Not really. If you add in a few other realtime factors, such as the current transaction volume, and the current average fee, you might be able to estimate better. Also, remember that transaction fee can only have an effect on the first confirmation, since that is the only block where a miner collects the fee. All subsequent confirmations happen not because of the fee, but because the transaction was already included in a previous block.
    – Jestin
    May 19, 2016 at 14:02

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