- Blockchain Forks are used to introduce new features, address security risks, and more
- The different types and categories of forks.
Forks refer to the changes that are introduced by the blockchain when such changes are not accepted by the users. These changes can be the protocol changes, security changes or any other changes pertaining to the blockchain network.
When the majority of users disagree to follow the change/update, it is termed as a fork. Forks can be either intentional and accidental. It depends on the split whether it is intentional or accidental.
Hard forks and soft forks are two types of forks. Forks may also be divided into two categories- Codebase and Live Blockchain. Under Live Blockchain there are two parts; Intentional fork and Accidental fork. Intentional forks may consist of either soft or hard forks.
Understanding the Categories of Forks-
As stated above, there are two types of forks divided on the basis of category- Codebase and Live Blockchain. With a Codebase blockchain fork, you can copy the whole code of any blockchain and can make changes in your favor. For example, all of l the new ALT coins are using the codebase blockchain.
In Codebase Blockchain,you copy the full code and then make changes and the result of this is that it creates a totally new blockchain with an empty ledger.
In Live Blockchain, it is a running blockchain which is categorized in two ways- one is accidental and the other is intentional. Accidental forks occur when so many miners together request for the mining of the same block.
It takes a finite time and therefore some miners may get a new mine but in another block and thus this error is accidental. Intentional forks occur when the rules and regulations are changed by making changes in the software. Intentional forks may be of two types- soft and hard.
Intentional Forks Blockchain –
Intentional forks are of two types-soft and hard forks. The basic difference between a soft and hard fork is that with soft forks, the changes made in the software are not affecting the previous or old nodes of the blockchain.
Soft Forks adjust with the new rule and it may not be noticed by the miners.
In Hard Forks, the changes made to the code are extensive and are easily noticed. Due to the extensive changes, the new version of the blockchain is not backwards compatible and this leads to the blockchain splitting into two.
In short, when comparing Soft and Hard forks, basically hard forks are for the serious changes of software like major changes in the rules, fixing of security, updation of protocols or updation of network ,etc. whereas in soft forks, there are only minor changes made to the code and these changes remain backwards compatible with the blocks preceding the fork.
Why do forks occur?
Forks occur mainly for 3 reasons- for security, for functionality, and for reversing transactions. Regarding security, forks can help in adding security features to prevent any risks.
When new features are added to the blockchain, the aim is often to improve the functionality of the blockchain. This can help in making the blockchain more efficient.
Reversing of transactions is also a reason for the occurrence of forks.o This is done when a transaction is found to be malicious or when hacking occurs or to avert interaction with certain harmful bugs.
In short, there are many uses of both hard and soft forks and this includes the introduction of new features to the blockchain or even the splitting of a blockchain into two. Forks are a way for the community to arrive at a consensus regarding the future direction of certain cryptocurrencies.