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I am trying to understand chronologically what happens to a transaction from the second it is sent to the moment it is added to a block.

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None. The mempool is composed by unconfirmed transactions.

If you send a valid transaction to other nodes, the first node that receives can be a miner, then it puts on his/her mempool. Or it can send it to other nodes unit it eventually reaches a miner. There's no limit for how many nodes relay it.

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  • My semantics were off. I should have said validate a transaction instead of confirm a transaction. So let's say there is a network off 100 nodes. A transaction propagates through the network and the 51st node says that it is a validate transaction. Would you argue that a network has reached a consensus that the transaction is indeed valid. Also, I didn't realize that each node has its own mempool thank you for teaching me that! Apr 1 '18 at 20:12
  • The network only 'reach a consensus' by mining, not relaying an validating transactions. That's what's mining for.
    – Osias Jota
    Apr 2 '18 at 1:10

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