Crypto Glossary

Posted on September 13, 2021 in
Glossary

Hard Fork

A hard fork occurs when blockchain’s protocols are dramatically changed. Let’s say there is just one cryptocurrency. With a hard fork, the coin divides in two, and from then on, all the blocks and transactions that were previously invalid become legitimate. Because of this, all developers must update their software to the current version.

What is hard fork?

Hard fork is a phenomenon in the world of bitcoin and cryptocurrency when a change creates certain divergences in the blockchain as a consequence of miner or user activity or when rules are changed that causes the blockchain to hard fork. In the realm of cryptocurrencies, there are two types of forks: hard forks and soft forks. A hard fork, in contrast to a soft fork, does not resolve itself automatically based on user trends.

A hard fork is a rule change that has far-reaching ramifications for the whole protocol of the blockchain network, and it is referred to as such. When compared to the old rules, valid blocks produced using the new rules may be viewed as invalid, and invalid blocks produced using the new rules may be viewed as valid, which means that all nodes intended to work in accordance with the new rules must upgrade their software to reflect the new rules.

Why are there hard forks?

Hard forks have the potential to significantly weaken the security of a blockchain, but why do they occur in the first place? The answer is straightforward: Because of the rapid advancement of blockchain technology, hard forks are becoming increasingly important for network improvement. There are a variety of factors that can lead to a hard fork, not all of which are negative; for example, the addition of functionality, identification, and resolution of security risks and disagreements in the community, and reverse transactions on the blockchain network. 

Accidental hard forks can occur as well as on purpose. The majority of the time, these situations are quickly addressed, and individuals who were no longer in agreement with the main blockchain return to it after comprehending what had transpired. In a similar vein, hard forks that provide new features and upgrade the network typically allow individuals who have fallen out of consensus to rejoin the main chain.

Hard fork vs soft fork

To update the software underpinning a cryptocurrency, hard forks are not the only method. In contrast, soft forks are viewed as a safer and more compatible solution, as nodes that do not upgrade will still be considered legitimate on the chain. 

Soft forks may be used to introduce new features and functionalities that do not alter the network regulations. New features are commonly implemented via soft forks. 

It is possible to compare a hard fork with a soft fork to mobile device or computer operating system upgrades. The system will still be able to run all of the apps that were on the device before the upgrade. In this case, a hard fork means a full overhaul of the operating system. It will be able to change everything.

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