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SEPA, guaranteed wire transfers over night and in November this year a payment under 15000€ will happen in 10s (ten seconds!). Not even Bitcoin can do that anymore with transactions taking more and more time (or fees).

If the US gov would put some weight behind it, the US could easily catch up.

SEPA guaranteed overnight iff funds are actually sent by the bank that receives the transfer request. I saw several banks (French, German, Luxemburgish) taking the order online and taking up to four business days (Sent Friday, arrived Thursday).

My SEPA transfer to a UK account always takes 2-3 days according to the service provider (can't vouch for that, maybe it's the provider who's slow but they are a small IT company so ...).

It varies by country if it's zero-day credit between banks (before a cutoff time) but i don't think it's legal within the EUR zone to have more than +1 days to credit.

(I think Finland is +0. Germany and France probably not, for various cultural differences ️)

One business day is required in the Payment Service Directive. You still occasionally see two days from German banks, only few of them actually can manage a zero day transfer. I operate a Dutch bank account solely for the purpose of making fast transfers to German accounts which works really well.

Once I tested that I was able to do a zero day transfer from a German bank to the Netherlands and then to another German bank. The same without the Dutch intermediary was a day slower.

I think your 10s transaction is about equivalent to an unconfirmed bitcoin transaction or credit card authorization. How often is the actual bank-to-bank transfer?

The fact that there is an arbitrary money amount shows it's more of a fraud cutoff than a real limit.

It depends. The banks nets the transactions a number of times during the day, normally using a central bank.

In the mean time the credit on your account is debited a 'float' account that accumulates any debt to other banks or third party payment system. Each fast payment system also typically have a reserved amount deposited as a guarantee in the event that a bank runs out of money.

It's a real cost to reserve money so there is a restriction on the sums.

Can the central banks speed up the settlement? Yes probably, but it's a lot of work to do.

It's not the same. SEPA doesn't allow double-spends, unlike unconfirmed bitcoin transactions.

I can get similar results with my current (UK) residential banking for anything up to 25kGBP.

>transactions taking more and more time

Bitcoin blocks will always be ~10 minutes, if you pay the fee to get into the next block, it'll be 10 minutes until your payment is confirmed, before that, all the nodes will announce it anyway so 0 conf is much faster.

Although bitcoin aims to generate a block every 10 minutes, in practice it usually takes longer than that. As I'm writing this, the last block[0] took 30 minutes to mine (sometimes it spikes to hours though[1]). Most importantly, a transaction needs[2] to be confirmed 4-6 times[3] meaning it should be 4-6 blocks in the past, so you're looking at a 1-2 hour transaction time.

On top of that, if you want to pay less than a certain transaction fee[4] (right now it's $1.62[5]) you probably won't get into the next block, see https://bitcoinfees.github.io. Recall that 1 block = 20 minutes and add that on top of the confirmation time.

[0] https://blockchain.info/block/0000000000000000005f0e639f66af... look at the Timestamps of this block and the Previous Block

[1] https://blockchain.info/charts/avg-confirmation-time?timespa...

[2] https://youtu.be/bBC-nXj3Ng4?t=18m41s

[3] https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf page 8

[4] https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Transaction_fees

[5] https://bitcoinfees.21.co/ (a satoshi is 0.00000001 BTC, 10,000 satoshi is 40 cents right now)


It's impossible to know how much to pay to get into the next block. If there's 10 payments waiting to get into the next block and there's only space for 9, there's no way they are all going into the block, regardless of their fees.

Users don't want to play a complicated expensive, impossible to win game in order to get their payments processed in a known timeframe.

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