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I sent a transaction. Shortly after, I decided to cancel it, so made a cancel transaction (using MetaMask). After a while, since nothing was happening, I sped up the cancel transaction, i.e. sent a 2nd cancel transaction with more gas.

Now 20 minutes have passed and I see all 3 transactions in Etherscan with state "pending". All 3 show the expected (?) status:

Duplicate Nonce (found 2 other duplicate Pending Txn #1, #2 with the same `From` Account Nonce)

I also confirmed that all have the same nonce (which I assume causes the message above).

My question is why does this happen? Is it some sort of network congestion or something specific to my account? And what can I do to fix it? Do I've to keep sending cancel transactions with more gas (MetaMask doesn't seem to allow to enter a high amount from the beginning)?

Edit: I was able to solve it by retrying the original transaction. The retry transaction was marked as "failed" and the other 3 disappeared. Effectively it was cancelled. Still would like to understand this better.

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It must've been due to a too low gas price. Gas prices can be highly volatile so by the time your transaction arrives in the mem pool it may already be too low.

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  • Doesn't the transaction get cancelled then? The problem here was the forever pending state. – Ixx Nov 8 '20 at 14:34
  • Transaction don't get cancelled unless they revert or are overwritten by another transaction with the same nonce. If your gas price is too low it will be dropped from the mempool. Etherscan will still show the transaction as pending because it's seen it once but it won't confirm. – MrClottom Nov 8 '20 at 14:48
  • Oh okay so what happened here is that despite I sped up the transaction, the activity in the network changed in the meantime and this fee was again too low, leaving all 3 pending. In other words, just resending the cancel transaction again with a higher fee (several times if needed) would have solved the issue. – Ixx Nov 8 '20 at 14:53
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    Yes, if not check your connection. But if you can see your transaction in etherscan then the fee must be the culprit – MrClottom Nov 8 '20 at 15:01

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