First, in the Bitcoin context what does validating mean?

Second, is it incorrect to say something like

" the average time it takes to validate a block by the network is 10 minutes."

The way, I understand it, validating is a split second procedure. Or am I confusing things. What is incorrect?


A bitcoin transaction is valid if it conforms to all of the bitcoin protocol rules. Likewise, a block is valid if it conforms to all of the bitcoin protocol rules (including: all of the transactions it contains are valid).

‘Validation’ of a block or transaction happens at the level of each individual node (miners and regular nodes alike). Validating a transaction or block is not that computationally expensive, in fact the protocol is designed so that fairly inexpensive hardware is capable of being a node (ie, your average computer can validate hundreds, or thousands of transactions per second).

Upon hearing about a new transaction or block, each node will quickly validate that it conforms to the network’s rules. If it is valid, that node may relay the transaction/block to its peers. If it is not valid, the node will reject that transaction/block, and not add it to the node’s mempool/blockchain.

the average time it takes to validate a block by the network is 10 minutes.

This is not quite technically correct, I would rewrite it to say:

the average time it takes for miners to find a new block on the network is ten minutes. Each block ‘confirms’ all transactions it contains. As the new block is transmitted across the network, each node will check it (and all of its transactions) to ensure they are valid according to the protocol’s rules.

  • someone emailed me that the correct way would be: finding the solution to the pow for the network takes approximately 10 minutes. that is better ? @chytrik
    – peter
    Jul 20 '18 at 8:58
  • I think that is better, but in a nit-picky technical sense I think the language it is still a tiny bit off. I would amend it slightly: ”finding a valid POW solution for the network takes 10 mins, on average”. Note the difference from your original quote: it is not that ”it takes 10 minutes to validate, on average”, instead it is ”a valid solution takes 10 minutes to find, on average”. A solution is either valid, or not. Validity is not something that is ‘worked towards’. Hope that makes sense :)
    – chytrik
    Jul 20 '18 at 9:32
  • thank you for correcting but i feel there is no such thing as a "finding a valid" solution. Solution solves a problem. Validity is key to that. It's too much to say valid.
    – peter
    Jul 20 '18 at 9:59
  • Right, I can agree that ‘solution’ does presuppose validity. My nitpick was more over saying ‘finding the solution’, as opposed to ‘finding a solution. On an even nitpickier level, saying ‘10 mins, on average’ is more accurate than ‘approx 10 mins’. But I think we’re on the same page, the crux of the answer was that miners are not validating transactions by mining; transaction are either valid or not, independent of mining. Mining simply confirms them into the blockchain :)
    – chytrik
    Jul 20 '18 at 10:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.