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I'm wondering if there's a better way of handling the transaction fee limit. As I understand it at the moment, it's basically a gamble. You wager an amount. If it is too low, you lose it all when it gets rejected and returned. Set it too high and you waste money on faster processing you didn't want.

How can I set a sensible amount? Must I rely on online calculators to make the guess for me?

I sent 0.01 Eth with a 0.0003 fee, and it's been stuck for days, I'm guessing insufficient fee and thus rejected.

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https://www.ethgasstation.info/ is a good resource for setting the right gas price.

If you set the gas price too low, your transaction just doesn't get picked up, and it costs you nothing.

If you set the gas price to high, then yes, you spent more on the transaction than you needed to.

I don't know what a "0.0003" fee means. A normal transaction of ether (to a normal account, not a contract) costs 21,000 gas. You can then pick a gas price, e.g. 23 gwei. 21,000 gas * 23 gwei / gas = 483,000 gwei = 0.000483 ether ~= $0.63 USD. So I'm guessing you set a lower gas price than that, and the computed fee in ether was a little low?

You can just submit a new transaction with the same nonce and a higher gas price. How you do this depends on what tool you're using. (MetaMask has a button to retry, MEW has a tool specifically for this, and tools like geth let you set your own nonce if you want.)

  • What I read strongly suggests that if a transaction runs out of gas, then you lose the gas that was already spent. And thus lose money on a failed transaction. But you're suggesting there is no way to lose money unless the transaction completes successfully? My 0.0003 fee was the total of gas price times gwei, as seen in the Ethereum Wallet. – Coran Jan 16 '18 at 10:46
  • It's correct that if you run out of gas, then you pay for the gas that was already used. So if the gas limit is set too low, you can lose ether by paying for the gas that was used. But there's no reason to have too low of a gas limit, since it can be accurately determined ahead of time, and there's little downside to setting it a bit high in the rare case that it can't be determined (since you only pay for what's used). What you typically change is the gas price (how much you pay per gas), and there, if you set too low of a value, the consequence is that your transaction doesn't get mined. – smarx Jan 16 '18 at 10:52
  • My guess is that 0.0003 was the gas limit times the gas price (usually expressed in gwei). Gas is what you're buying, and the gas price is what you pay per gas. ("Gas price times gwei" makes no sense... it's like saying "Unit price times dollars.") – smarx Jan 16 '18 at 10:57
  • That's what I meant to say :). I was tired. Gas limit times gas price. Surprised it was too low though, given it's about $0.5, for sending about $11. Thanks for clearing up the gas limit usage for me. – Coran Jan 16 '18 at 23:03
  • The transaction fee doesn't relate to how much ether you're transferring. ethgasstation.info says $0.87 is currently a reasonable transaction fee for a simple ether transfer. – smarx Jan 16 '18 at 23:05

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