Soft Fork Vs Hard Fork: How Are Both Different?

It is necessary to update the ICT system continuously. This is done for the addition of new functionalities to fix security issues or bugs. Likewise, a blockchain also requires updates from time to time, so that when a soft fork comes into action. It is used for the update of blockchain and a hard fork is used to formulate a new blockchain from the existing one. So in this article, we will compare between soft fork vs hard fork. 

What Is A Fork?

When we talk about a fork in respect of blockchain, it refers to the creation of the second version of a blockchain or updating a blockchain. We all know blockchains are open source. This implies that anyone can modify and view the code. In this process, blockchain can continue to develop and that is the main purpose that open source serves. Every person can make their contribution to the network and that will create new versions one after the other. 

Now coming to the fork. The fork is that element that facilitates such new versions in the blockchain. There are two types of forks: soft forks and hard forks. There are more chances of you hearing about the hard fork. A soft fork is generally less seen compared to a hard fork. But what makes both these different? For that, we will be doing a comparison on soft fork vs hard fork. 

What Is A Soft Fork?

We have already talked about the update of IT systems. Blockchain also requires updates from time to time. The moment any group of developers wishes to initiate an update that can start to perform a soft fork. The updated blockchain is then copied and it runs along with the original version. Basically, the original blockchain will be shifted to the new blockchain. All the nodes are communicating to attain a consensus constantly. When one node witnesses that another node is under the experience of the latest blockchain protocol they will adapt themselves automatically to the updated protocol. In this way, the blockchain is transferred from its previous version to the new version. 

A soft fork example is when the updated rule states that there will be a change in the size of the block from the present 1MB to 800KB. 

What Is A Hard Fork?

When a crypto is being traded, there are high chances that you will come across the term “hard fork”. There are many crypto coins that start from a hard fork. So to trade in crypto it is essential to know the concept of the hard fork. 

With the help of a hard fork, you can formulate a new digital currency with some similarities and dissimilarities from the previous blockchain. In a hard fork, there always remains a difference between the previous version and the newly formulated version. 

A hard fork example is Bitcoin Cash (BCH) that was launched in August 2017. 

Soft Fork Vs Hard Fork: The Comparison

Now that you know the concept of the soft fork and hard fork you may want to know what is the difference between a soft fork and a hard fork? So here is your explanation. 

A hard fork can be sad as a separation from the original blockchain. The most highlighted difference in soft fork vs hard fork is that the newly created blockchain does not work simultaneously with the previous blockchain. The previous version continues to work without altering itself and the newly generated blockchain works on its own, independently. 

In a hard fork, two varied versions are formulated deliberately. For instance, the developers of the blockchain can disagree with each other and still decide their versions that will run separately. 

This is the way Bitcoin Cash resulted in Bitcoin Hard Fork and Ethereum Classic was formulated after Ethereum Hard Fork. 

Can A Hard Fork Always Come From A Soft Fork?

Even though the blockchain protocol is that of an open source, it is not possible always that a hard fork will arise from the soft fork. There are many private blockchains that are controlled by the government, institutions, and companies. So they decide the future of the blockchain and also the chance that any hard fork will arise from the soft fork in a private blockchain protocol is NIL. 


Even after doing a comparison on soft fork vs hard fork is it not possible to assert which variant among the two is better. When there is an update that is carried out or there arises any arguments inside the blockchain about its future, there comes the need for a soft fork and a hard fork. 

Frequently Asked Questions On Soft Fork Vs Hard Fork

1. Is a hard fork good or bad?

A hard fork shows an unstable time for a digital currency. The community of hard fork will often be divided over the problem and the market is generally very fluctuating, even by crypto standards.

2. What causes a soft fork?

Due to temporary divergence, a soft fork can occur. This is the time when the miners use nodes that are non upgraded. 

3. How do soft forks work?

A soft fork is generally a software upgrade that is compatible with previous versions. This means that people who did not upgrade to the new software will still be able to participate in verifying and validating transactions.

4. What are the two types of fork Blockchain?

The two types of fork blockchain include soft fork and hard fork.

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