Soft fork and Hard Fork: Understanding the Difference 

soft fork hard fork

You don’t need to be engaged in the cryptoverse for long before you hear the terms soft fork and hard fork. To understand what these terms mean, you need to know what a blockchain protocol is. A blockchain protocol is the code convention that defines mining, connection, and transaction rules. A fork is a version of the protocol that is different from the original one.

So, What is Soft Fork?

A soft fork is a protocol change with backward compatibility. A typical example would be highway speed. Say, the minimum highway speed was 40 miles, and the maximum was 70 miles, but the traffic authorities decide to change the minimum to 50 miles and the maximum 80 miles. Most people who drive between 55 to 70 miles will not need to make any changes. Only those who are driving below 50 miles will have to speed up.

The same thing applies to the soft fork. You can still decide to work the same way you used to without immediately upgrading to the new version. An upgrade will only be necessary when you want to work against the new protocol.

What is Hard Fork?

A hard fork is a protocol’s parallel universe. It’s a similar protocol, but it can’t be mixed with the previous one. A typical example of a hard fork is Bitcoin Cash. Bitcoin Cash is the hard fork of Bitcoin. Both protocols are split completely. No communication or transaction options link the two together. Bitcoin Cash has a different transaction history from Bitcoin.

Why Was Bitcoin Cash Created?

Bitcoin Cash was created to fix the deficiencies of Bitcoin. It is less decentralized and has faster transaction speed. When Bitcoin Cash became a separate currency all those that owned Bitcoins before Bitcoin Cash where credited with the same amount Bitcoins Cash in their Bitcoin Cash wallets.

So, although a soft fork is an upgrade that shares a history with an existing protocol, a hard fork is a new protocol in what can be compared to a parallel universe.




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