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Author Topic: UNDERSTANDING HARD FORK AND SOFT FORK IN THE CRYPTOCURRENCY WORLD  (Read 71 times)
Digixhub
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August 03, 2018, 07:52:00 AM
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“Fork” is a phrase that describes any divergence in a blockchain protocol.  A simpler way to understand it would be the scenario wherein split occurs. They are very common when it comes to computing software.
Example: Most of the altcoins have started with the codebase of “Bitcoin,” they have done it “fork” into their own version.
 
Let us look deeper into cryptocurrency to have a better understanding of cryptocurrency fork. Cryptocurrencies basically work on the blockchain technology, which is a distributed ledger built of continuously expanding data blocks. The technology operates as a decentralized network, the system users have to agree to a set of rules for how transactions are verified and added to the blockchain ledger. This process is named as “consensus” and this is what forms the true record of the blockchain.
 
In simple words, “Fork” is a term used for a software or protocol update. Forks may occur due to different reasons and different scenarios. Let us look at few of the scenarios.
 
⦁ As a Solution to Technical Disagreements
 
The existence of Bitcoin Cash is as a fork of Bitcoin, which is due to the disagreement of Bitcoin’s scalability problems.  Forking another version of the protocol was done because the influential investors, miners, and developers did not agree on the “Segregated Witness” (SegWit) solution which was proposed to increase the block size of Bitcoin. Some believe that the Bitcoin Cash is the real Bitcoin, whereas others believe that it is an impostor that co-opted Bitcoin.
 
⦁ To Reverse Transactions
 
Two years back, that is in 2016, Ethereum had famously developed a smart contract called “The DAO” which was hacked and this cost the investors millions of dollars. Ethereum hard fork was a result of the hack of The DAO. To correct this incident, the community decided to roll back history and restore all the lost money, somehow not everyone voted to do the same. Therefore, we have Ethereum Classic today, it is the group that decided to stick to the original protocol and not adopts to the hard fork.
 
⦁ To Add New Features or Functionality
 
Example of adding new features or functionality is Windows 10. It has been updated and is being improved continuously. The same applies to the blockchain software.  Anyone can develop improvise the blockchain software as it is an open source. Anyone can go to GitHub, grab the code of a coin, and then do the development work needed to update the software. If the development work is good enough and is getting the support, then the update may be added to the next version.
 
When there is an occurrence of a fork, users will then have to choose which version of software they want to go with. The fork is divided into two types which are mentioned below :
 
1. Hard Fork
 
The hard fork is a permanent split from the current version of the blockchain, with nodes of the new blockchain not interacting or acknowledging the nodes of the old version of the blockchain.  Therefore, a hard fork is non-backward compatible. The occurrence of hard fork takes place when a vast majority of miners or validators give a positive signal regarding the upgrade of the fork. This causes a split in the blockchain, wherein, one path moves in the direction of the new, upgraded version of the blockchain and other continues on the old path.
 
As seen in most of the cases, the ones using the old version will slowly come to the realization that the old version is becoming irrelevant and switch to the new one.
 
The hard fork itself is further divided into the contentious hard fork and non-contentious hard fork. The contentious hard fork is when one group wants to stick to the old version of the blockchain no matter what. For example, we have already seen Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum Classic splits. Both of these brought with them a good deal of acrimony and drama. The non-contentious hard fork is when a upgrading to the new version was always a part of the development process. In this case, the community just upgrades to the new version and the old version dies without any support. The examples of these are Ethereum Byzantium and MoneroV.
 
2. Soft Fork

In contrast to the hard fork, the soft fork is backward compatible. Soft fork involves optional upgrades. In simple words, it means that the new forked chain will follow the new rules as well as honor the old rules.
Even in soft fork there are two versions of the blockchain. The difference being users who did not upgrade will still be able to participate in validating or verifying transactions. In this way, soft forks are much less restrictive.
 
Soft forks are easier than the hard fork because only a majority of nodes are required to sign on. We can actually look at the soft fork as a gradual upgrade mechanism as opposed to the stark, immediate change of a hard fork. Unlike hard fork, soft fork changes the existing code and aims to result in only one blockchain. Example of Bitcoin soft forks includes BIP 66 and P2SH. 
 
Conclusion
 
Hard Fork and Soft Fork tend to create controversies of their own in the cryptocurrency world. This happens mainly because fork refers to change and on general basis, people do not like change as they are already comfortable with whatever is going on. A fork is an unavoidable change of the cryptocurrency at this point in time. Some of the changes are necessary and needed, whereas, others are unnecessary. The bottom line here is that they’re an integral part of a crypto community’s ability to self-audit and evolve.

Visit at https://www.digixhub.com to know more and get solutions related to Blockchain.
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larkscrypto
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August 06, 2018, 06:13:10 AM
 #2

Hardfork and Softfork both are important in Cryptospace. The fork is defined as divergence in a blockchain. Hoping the discussion will help us a lot.
BTCisAngelCoin
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August 06, 2018, 09:18:35 AM
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Thanks for sharing such informations on fork. Many of us would be interested to know on such topics who didn't understand the basic concept of forking but was interested to fork. BitcoinCash and Ethereum Classic are two of the most famous forks out there if anyone is looking for examples.
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August 06, 2018, 02:14:44 PM
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I think that Hard Fork and Soft Fork have created a debate between themselves. Nobody here wants to change themselves. They should use their stock transactions and improved features. So I think the problem will be solved.
cryptojohnn7
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August 06, 2018, 02:46:17 PM
 #5

Generally hard fork means split one coin into two. This will increase the volume of coins but the value will remains same and soft fork means to make the past transactions invalid in block chain. Forking acts as a solution for short time.
AzatFinrazor
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August 06, 2018, 03:21:15 PM
 #6

Great explanation!

What about UASFs?

User-Activated Soft Forks are still a concept, but who do you think they could benefit?

We also have a quick intro to forks. If you are interested, check it out at https://finrazor.com/news/forks-everything-you-need-to-know-about-them.

Have a nice day Smiley
RehitUpon
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August 06, 2018, 04:22:05 PM
 #7

Thanks for sharing these important information. Hard fork and soft fork are two very important topics in crypto world and everyone should know about them.
MetaPhorse007
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August 06, 2018, 04:33:45 PM
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These detailed explanation gives me a clear idea about forks or crypto. I think every beginners should read this article for getting knowledge.
GoldOrBTC
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August 07, 2018, 06:32:30 AM
 #9

I have seen many people who have confusion about hard fork and soft fork. But these are some core ideas about cryptocurrency and without knowing this basic it's hard to cope up here.
Rosyanroid
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August 07, 2018, 06:34:10 AM
 #10

This article is so beneficial especially for the beginners like me. The main advantage of bitcoin hard fork is it helps to increase the block size parameters which actually speeds up the transaction process.
jannatprobn
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August 31, 2018, 09:35:48 PM
 #11

These are normally done by experts though. And it needs a lot of patience and good equipment to bring them to light. soft fork means to to make the previous transactions invalid in the blockchain. Hard fork on the other hand, means to split a coin into two. Nevertheless, forking is a short term solution.
RubiAgarawal
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September 11, 2018, 08:30:30 PM
 #12

You've given an impressive description about the forks of cryptocurrency. Forks bring both necessry and unnecessry changes splitting a specific coin into two versions; an upgraded one and the other is the old one. However, I think fork is necessary for the growth and modifiction of the cryptocurrency.
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