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Bitcoin's Fast Lane: A Beginner's Guide to Child Pays For Parent (CPFP)

A Beginner's Guide to Child Pays For Parent (CPFP)

Bitcoin, the world's first decentralized cryptocurrency, operates on a technology called the blockchain. While the blockchain is revolutionary, it can sometimes face congestion, leading to delayed transaction confirmations. This is where the concept of "Child Pays For Parent" or CPFP comes into play.

What is Child Pays For Parent (CPFP)?

CPFP is a mechanism within the Bitcoin protocol that allows users to "speed up" the confirmation of a transaction that's stuck due to a low transaction fee. In essence, it's a way to incentivize miners to confirm a set of transactions by paying a higher fee in a subsequent transaction.

Imagine you're in a queue, and you're waiting for your turn. Now, if you could pay a little extra to move ahead in the line, you'd probably consider it if you were in a hurry. CPFP operates on a similar principle but within the Bitcoin network.

How Does CPFP Work?

  1. The Problem of Stuck Transactions: When a user sends a Bitcoin transaction with a fee that's too low, especially during times of network congestion, that transaction can remain unconfirmed in the Bitcoin mempool. This is because miners, who validate and confirm transactions, prioritize transactions with higher fees.

  2. The CPFP Solution: To address the issue of a stuck transaction, a user can create a new transaction (referred to as the "child" transaction) that spends the unconfirmed funds from the original (or "parent") transaction. This child transaction will carry a significantly higher transaction fee.

  3. Attracting Miners: The idea is that the combined fees of the parent and child transactions will be attractive enough for miners to confirm both. Miners cannot confirm the child transaction without first confirming the parent, so they are incentivized to confirm both to earn the combined fees.

  4. UTXO and CPFP: In the Bitcoin protocol, when you send a transaction, any unspent funds are returned to you as "change." This change is known as an Unspent Transaction Output (UTXO). In CPFP, this UTXO is used to create the child transaction with the higher fee.

Difference Between CPFP and Other Mechanisms:

It's essential to differentiate CPFP from other mechanisms like "Replace By Fee" (RBF). While both are designed to address the issue of stuck transactions, they operate differently. RBF allows users to replace a stuck transaction with a new one with a higher fee, while CPFP doesn't replace the original transaction but instead creates a new one linked to the original.


CPFP is a valuable tool within the Bitcoin protocol, allowing users to ensure their transactions are confirmed even during times of network congestion. By understanding and utilizing CPFP, users can navigate the Bitcoin network more efficiently and ensure their transactions are processed in a timely manner.

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