ZIP: 203
Title: Transaction Expiry
Owners: Daira Emma Hopwood <>
Original-Authors: Jay Graber
Status: Final
Category: Consensus
Created: 2018-01-09
License: MIT


This is a Standards ZIP describing a new consensus rule to set an expiration time after which a transaction cannot be mined. If it is not mined within that time, the transaction will be removed from nodes' mempools.


Transactions that have insufficient fees are often not mined. This indeterminism is a source of confusion for users and wallets. Allowing a transaction to set a block height after which it cannot be mined would provide certainty around how long a transaction has to confirm before it is rejected by the network and must be re-sent.

Advantages include optimizing mempool performance by removing transactions that will not be mined, and potentially simplifying bidirectional payment channels by reducing the need to store and compress revocations for past states, since transactions not committed to the chain could expire and become invalid after a period of time.

If the expiry is at block height \(N\) , then the transaction must be included in block \(N\) or earlier. Block \(N+1\) will be too late, and the transaction will be removed from the mempool.

The new consensus rule will enforce that the transaction will not be considered valid if included in block of height greater than \(N\) , and blocks that include expired transactions will not be considered valid.


Transactions will have a new field, nExpiryHeight, which will set the block height after which transactions will be removed from the mempool if they have not been mined.

The data type for nExpiryHeight will be uint32_t. nExpiryHeight will never be a UNIX timestamp, unlike nLockTime values, and thus the maximum expiry height will be 499999999 (but see the exception for coinbase transactions described in Changes for NU5).

Note: a previous version of this ZIP incorrectly specified an interaction between nExpiryHeight and nLockTime that was never implemented.

For the example below, the last block that the transaction below could possibly be included in is 3539. After that, it will be removed from the mempool.

"txid": "17561b98cc77cd5a984bb959203e073b5f33cf14cbce90eb32b95ae2c796723f",
"version": 3,
"locktime": 2089,
"expiryheight": 3539,

Default: (Before Blossom) 20 blocks from the current height, or about 50 minutes at 2.5-minute target block spacing. A configuration option can be used to set the user's default.

Minimum: No minimum

Maximum: 499999999, which is about 1185 years from now at 75 seconds/block.

No limit: To set no limit on transactions (so that they do not expire), nExpiryHeight should be set to 0.

Coinbase: nExpiryHeight on coinbase transactions is ignored, and is set to 0 by convention.

Every time a transaction expires and should be removed from the mempool, so should all of its dependent transactions.

Changes for Blossom

On Blossom activation 2, the default changes to 40 blocks from the current height, which still represents about 50 minutes at the revised 75-second target block spacing.

Changes for NU5

As mentioned above, nExpiryHeight is ignored for coinbase transactions. However, from NU5 activation 3, the nExpiryHeight field of a coinbase transaction MUST be set equal to the block height. Also, for coinbase transactions only, the bound of 499999999 on nExpiryHeight is removed. The motivation is to ensure that transaction IDs remain unique, as explained in more detail in a note in Section 7.1 of the protocol specification 4.

Wallet behavior and UI

With the addition of this feature, zero-confirmation transactions with an expiration block height set will have even less guarantee of inclusion. This means that UIs and services must never rely on zero-confirmation transactions in Zcash.

Wallet should notify the user of expired transactions that must be re-sent.


For Overwinter, transaction expiry will be set to a default that can be overridden by a flag txexpirydelta set in the config file.

-txexpirydelta= set the number of blocks after which a transaction that has not been mined will become invalid

To view: listtransactions has a new filter attribute, showing expired transactions only:

listtransactions "*" 10 0 "expired"

WalletTxToJSON shows a boolean expired true/false.


The default will be user-configurable with the option txexpirydelta.



This feature will be deployed with Overwinter. The activation blockheight proposal is in 1.

Reference Implementation


1 ZIP 201: Network Peer Management for Overwinter
2 ZIP 206: Deployment of the Blossom Network Upgrade
3 ZIP 252: Deployment of the NU5 Network Upgrade
4 Zcash Protocol Specification, Version 2021.2.16. Section 7.1: Transaction Encoding and Consensus