Another thing I don't understand

Author's note: This article is part of an ongoing blog about my adventures in the world of alternate currencies.

I used to collect all my earnings into my CoinBase wallet account and from there send them on to the various sites where I wanted to invest those earnings. It worked well because CoinBase picks up all the transaction fees for anything over 0.01 BTC. Because of the nature of microearnings the last transaction I would send would be a long string of numbers, something like 0.01243232. I'd clear out the entire balance of my wallet until it took the next deposit. A few weeks ago I ran into a serious problem with this strategy. My transactions started getting rejected by the network. The transaction would sit unconfirmed in my wallet for hours. When twenty-four hours had passed, CoinBase would cancel the transaction and return the amount to my wallet.

My first thought was that I was trying to send amounts that were too tiny. Most of the time, the amount was less than 0.01 BTC, something like 0.00324239. CoinBase covers transaction fees for transactions of 0.01 BTC or more, but not for less. After I'd sent one too many of those small amounts the network finally caught up with me and put a huge ignore sticker on small amounts coming from that address. That's what I thought anyway.

But then one day I tried to clear out my wallet balance with a larger transaction. I tried to send off 0.1018 BTC to its next destination. Right before that I sent off 1 BTC and 0.05 BTC to different addresses, and both of those transactions cleared quickly. But my 0.1018 transaction sat unconfirmed until CoinBase dropped it. I puzzled over why a transaction of half that amount had cleared with no trouble while that one didn't ever clear.

In the mean time I noted a pattern I'd seen with my Devcoin wallet transactions. I do pay the transaction fees on those transactions and my wallet just automatically adds them. For a transaction of say 100,000 or 45,000 DVC, the fee is 1 DVC. However sometimes I want to send an amount like 90,100 DVC. I regularly collect DVC from the Devcoin Faucet to cover my transaction fees, but when I end up with over 100 DVC from faucet earnings then I put them to work elsewhere. Anytime I send off an amount of DVC ending in 100, my wallet adds 2.5 DVC to the transaction. In other words, it costs me over twice as much to send 45,100 as it is to send 45,000 DVC.

There's something about the complexity of the number itself rather than the magnitude that affects the block chain networks in both Bitcoin and Devcoin. To test that theory, I sent 0.1 BTC out of my CoinBase wallet. That transaction cleared with no problems. Next I sent 0.0018 BTC. That transaction sat unconfirmed until it got dropped. So I sent off 0.001 BTC and that transaction cleared just fine, leaving 0.0008 BTC in my wallet. I have not been able to just clear out my wallet since that time, something I find mildly annoying because of course I would much rather that 0.0008 BTC earn interest in my CoinLenders account than sit there doing nothing in my CoinBase account which does not pay interest.

The odd thing is that whenever I get paid by BitVisitor, BitcoinGet or CoinAd, those transactions are small and can have three or four digits, for example, a typical BitVisitor payment might be 0.000247 BTC. Those payments make it to whatever address I enter just fine. I now direct such payments straight to my Inputs wallet so that from there they can be moved into my CoinLenders account and start earning interest that day.

Although I can certainly live and work with this quirk I truly do not understand why the network will accept or reject a transaction based on the complexity of the number rather than the magnitude. I also don't understand why some people can make those complicated microtransactions just fine while other people (like me) cannot. Finally I don't understand what changed so that this is now an issue when before it wasn't.

Devtome Writers

QR Code
QR Code another_thing_i_dont_understand (generated for current page)