Updated on: Mar 6th, 2023
9 min read
The 2004 iteration (codenamed San Andreas) of the popular video game franchise Grand Theft Auto offered a perfect blend of open-world exploration, humour and action. However, it found particular favour among developers. The numerous modifications to the game enabled gamers to drive fast cars or real-life cosplay characters.
Forking in cryptocurrency is synonymous with video game mods. It implies alterations in the basic crypto protocol whose acceptance depends on the platform’s stability.
Synonymous with the modifications in video games, forking is essentially an alteration in the crypto transaction chain. These splits create newer crypto versions and are possible because of the decentralised nature of transactions.
Forks can be soft or hard, depending on the impact it creates on the online community. Soft forks are flexible and allow users to use the forked and un-forked versions interchangeably.
In comparison, hard forks are rigid and behave as individual units that are not interchangeable. The 2017 Bitcoin hard fork gave rise to Bitcoin Cash or Bitcoin Gold. They work independently, and unlike original Bitcoins, they comprise 8 MB blocks instead of 1 MB.
Bitcoin Hard forks are irreversible changes derived from the original BTC blocks. The BTC community has witnessed numerous hard forks aiming to create a dent in the blockchain. Some popular BTC hard forks include:
In simple terms, hard forks are essential upgrades that can transform the blockchain and improve its network. When these upgrades undergo these irreversible changes, they split into two versions: the original blockchain and the upgraded one.
Hard forks can happen when developers try to improve the functionality, debug potential errors or resolve a disagreement within the crypto network. When developers tweak the network functionality, they usually allow those not in consensus initially to re-join.
Hard forks can also happen accidentally, although they are easily resolvable due to a lack of consensus. Accidental hard forks can occur when two miners work on the same block instantaneously until another miner mines the subsequent block.
Forks of other blocks or networks are eventually abandoned because of a lack of consensus. This makes the actual block longer and the more profitable one to invest in.
The crypto landscape is primarily favoured for its decentralised and transparent structure. Any substantial changes are visible online in the premise of hard forks and their effect on the crypto community.
Three ways in which hard forks can affect miners and users alike are as below:
There are certain inherent differences between Hard Forks and Soft Forks, which are as below:
|Hard Fork||Soft Fork|
When the underlying source code of a blockchain undergoes irreversible changes, thereby changing its security parameters or adding a particular feature.
Soft forks are code changes that can add features and functions without altering the source code and are useful for introducing new features at the programming level.
Hard fork nodes in the underlying blockchain will stop processing the blocks in the older network when a blockchain rule is reformed.
Soft forks result in a single split, thereby retaining the original blockchain. Soft forks are thus backward node compatible.
Hard forks preserve the privacy and security definitions of a blockchain, although that requires a lot of electricity and computing power.
Soft forks do not cause any volatility or changes in the security code, thereby saving additional power consumption.
Not all modifications introduced in GTA-SA were widely accepted. The successful ones paved the way for necessary updates in the newer GTA V.
Likewise, hard forks are those changes that actually affect the blockchain and create a new version. The growing popularity and magnetic appeal of investing in BTC require implementing updates. These would stabilise the blockchain network over time.