Unlock time

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Unlock time is a varint field of each transaction. It contains the height of the first block where the outputs can be spend. Unlock time of a transaction must be greater than the height of the block which contains that transaction.

Normally it is used in one of two cases:

  1. Unlock time for [link generating transaction] prevents the loss of money (due to transactions invalidation) in case of fork. Since generating transaction can not be included in any other block (in contrast to usual transaction), it's outputs become invalid, so as any following transactions that use them.
  2. For personal reasons a sender may want to specify the time when the money can be redeemed by the receiver.

Note that unlock time does not restrict the transaction itself from being included in any block (as in Bitcoin). It sets such limitation for the next transactions which can spent it's outputs.

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