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WHAT EXACTLY IS A HARD FORK?

By Franklinlee | All-things-Crypto | 17 Mar 2020


 

If you've been into the Crypto world for even say three months, then you've probably heard a thing or two about forks. There are two types of fork and today I'll only be looking at one but first let's understand what a fork really is.

 

 

Any software needs constant updates to fix bugs and issues or increase its performance, that's why the apps you use on your phone always release updates for you to download. The world of crypto is run by softwares and programs so there is constant need for updates and upgrades on the softwares used. In Crypto, these updates are rather called “forks.” A fork is a basically in essence a software upgrade that brings a bunch of new technical features to a Blockchain. In its most basic form, that's what a Fork is. Now there are two types of forks in Cryptocurrency and they are: Soft Forks and Hard Forks. Both these two kinds of fork fundamentally change how the protocol of a cryptocurrency works in simple English, they add updates to the software. Today I will only talking about what a Hard Fork is and later we will look at the Soft Fork.


 

 

Hard Fork

 

A hard fork is a change in a cryptocurrency protocol which is not compatible with previous versions, this means that nodes (participants e.g miners) that don’t update to the new version won’t be able to process transactions or push new blocks to the Blockchain. Hard forks can be used for a bunch of reasons, it could be to either change or improve an existing protocol, or to create a new, independent protocol and Blockchain.

 

Now depending on the situation surrounding it's occurrence, hard forks can either be planned or controversial.

 

In a planned fork, participants will voluntarily upgrade their software to follow the new rules, leaving the old version behind. They have a “consensus", because they believe the upgrade will have positive effects on the network and Cryptocurrency. An example of this is the Ethereum's Constantinople Hard Fork, where all were onboard and the core developers added a number of upgrades on Feb. 27th, 2019.

 

 

But if the fork is controversial, that means there is a disagreement in the community about the upgrade, the protocol is usually forked into 2 incompatible Blockchains, in simple English 2 different Cryptocurrencies are made. The two Cryptocurrencies will have their separate communities, and the developers will progress in the way they believe to be the best. What this does is it creates two different versions of the blockchain, with one version continuing to run on the old blockchain, and one version running on the new Blockchain. The biggest example of a controversial Hard Fork is the Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork on August 1 2017. Many developers and miners were trying to improve the Bitcoin network’s efficiency and transaction time. They proposed that the blocksize of the Bitcoin blockchain had to be increased to allow more transactions to occur in each block. However, a faction within the Bitcoin community did not agree with this, and wanted Bitcoin to remain the way it was. This resulted in a Hard Fork, and Bitcoin Cash was created with a larger block size, while Bitcoin remained the same.


 

Due to the open source nature of cryptocurrency (meaning everyone has access to a Cryptocurrency's source code) and as more and more individuals and organizations with bigger goals continue to enter the crypto space, forks will take an integral role (in my opinion) in the development and growth of Cryptocurrency. 





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Franklinlee
Franklinlee

Crypto enthusiast, collector, money lover.


All-things-Crypto
All-things-Crypto

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