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As I understand, the average block time is 16 seconds, and it ranges from 10-30 seconds.

Does that imply that each individual transaction on the current block was sent no longer than 30 seconds ago? (on average, of course)

2 Answers 2

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Block time is the time it took for the block to be mined and added to the blockchain. However, the list of transactions that are included in the block is completely up to the miner. The transaction object itself doesn't contain any timestamp. So the miner can choose to include/exclude any transaction (as long as it's valid and signed properly). This is why transactions include a priority fee, to incentivise miners to include the transaction in a block. The priority fee can be claimed by the miner, if they include it in the block. Sometimes during high network traffic, a published transaction can stay in mempool for hours. So to speed up the transaction, you can reissue it with a higher priority fee, so it gets picked up by a miner.

So to conclude your question, no, we cannot determine when the transaction was published by looking at the block timestamp. All we can say is that it was published before the block was mined, ie. theoretically, it could have been published anytime before it. Hope this clarifies your question.

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Adding to @pbsh answer, here are some of the pending transactions on the WETH contract:

https://etherscan.io/txsPending?a=0xc02aaa39b223fe8d0a0e5c4f27ead9083c756cc2

If you click on the last page of results, you will see that some of the pending transactions are quite old.

These are transactions that etherscan knows about, and could theoretically be included by a miner in the next block. The transactions that remain pending usually have a gas price that is below market rates: if they were above market rates, miners would be quick to include them in the block to increase their miner revenue.

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  • Thanks for sharing this link. So again, if a person has nominated the average market gas rate, assuming all things constant, on average, they could join the block at any time, and it will be confirmed on average, from start to finish in 16 seconds?
    – akkp
    Jan 14, 2022 at 10:08
  • Sounds right except that average block time is currently 13 seconds: etherscan.io/chart/blocktime
    – eth
    Jan 15, 2022 at 9:28

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