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The daemon is reporting that it's at three percent and over seven years behind.

Cannot the daemon start from the newest transactions?

How much space does the daemon need, exactly? It seems to be downloading the blockchain if I understand correctly.

I'm just looking to confirm receipt for a test transaction of monero.

I'm just starting with the wallet cli and daemon:

https://askubuntu.com/q/1383924/847449

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Cannot the daemon start from the newest transactions?

To verify a transaction, you need the transactions which funded that transaction, and the ones that funded that, and so on and so on. Hence you need the full blockchain to fully verify a transaction.

How much space does the daemon need, exactly?

The blockchain constantly grows. As of this moment it's ~120 GiB (~40 GiB pruned).

I'm just looking to confirm receipt for a test transaction of monero.

If you haven't yet downloaded the blockchain, you can always use a remote node (e.g. https://moneroworld.com/#nodes):

monero-wallet-cli --help
  ...
  --daemon-address arg          Use daemon instance at <host>:<port>

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