Soft Fork and Hard Fork are important components in the development of blockchain and crypto assets.
Why? Because, any software needs an update to fix problems or improve its performance. In the crypto world, these updates are referred to as “FORK”. Since crypto assets have a decentralized network, all participants in the network, known as “nodes” must follow the same protocol in order to work well together.
Do you know? There are two types of forks in crypto, namely soft forks and hard forks! However, these two types of forks fundamentally change the crypto asset protocol.
A hard fork is a change in the crypto asset protocol that is incompatible with previous versions, meaning that nodes that do not update to the new version, will not be able to process transactions, or push new blocks to the blockchain.
Hard forks can be used to modify or improve existing protocols, or even to create new, independent protocols and blockchains. A hard fork can also be thought of as an event that occurs when a crypto asset development team agrees to implement a new feature or change to the coin’s programming system.
Hard forks can cause incompatibility between old and new versions, so all crypto asset users need to update all applications related to this coin to keep it handled properly.
Examples of cryptocurrencies that have already hard forked are Ethereum, which later resulted in Ethereum and Ethereum Classic. Both Ethereum and Ethereum Classic are already on different server code networks, so users cannot send Ethereum to the Ethereum Classic network, and vice versa. In addition, if the user has a certain amount of Ethereum when the hard fork occurs, then the user will have 2 types of coins, namely Ethereum and Ethereum Classic.
Meanwhile, soft forks are changes in crypto asset protocols that follow the new system, but also still follow the previous system, as long as they do not violate the rules of the new protocol.
The soft fork event only requires that most of the miners need to update the system and use the new rules. This is in contrast to a hard fork which requires all nodes to upgrade and agree to a new version. This type of fork only requires most miners upgrade to enforce the new rules, as opposed to a hard fork which requires all nodes to upgrade and approve the new version.
Miners or miners who do not update can still see that the new incoming transaction is valid. However, when a miner does not update the system and tries to mine a new block, the block will be rejected by the network.
This is because the soft fork is represented as a gradual network upgrade mechanism, in which for miners or miners who want to update the system will be given incentives, and if not, most likely, the miners or miners will experience a decrease in functionality.
One example of a Bitcoin soft fork is SegWit and non-SegWit, where both of these software use the Bitcoin network.