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A fork is when community decides that the software of the blockchain is insufficient for the current purpose, and decides to change it to fit better for a purpose they’re trying to make it fit for. After the fork you have two versions of the software (coin) which have the same history up until the point of the split/fork, and then each community drives their version forward.

Types of forks:

Soft Fork - is a software upgrade that is backwards compatible with older versions. This means that participants that did not upgrade to the new software will still be able to participate in validating and verifying transactions.

Hard Fork - is a software upgrade that introduces a new rule to the network which isn't compatible with the older software. Types of hard forks:

  • Planned Hard Fork - is a fork planned from the beginning (also stated in their roadmap). Entire community from developers to miners has to switch to a new chain in order to work. Example of planed hard forks are Ethereum's 4 big development stages.
  • Contentious Hard Forks - is a fork which is caused due to disagreements within the community. Its result is two chains, old and a new chain promoting "big improvements". First example of Bitcoin Hard Fork is Bitcoin Cash where developers and miners couldn't find an agreement.
  • Coin Forks - is also a hard fork with a changed properties. While any blockchain is or should be open source, anyone can create a fork of a coin. One example is Litecoin.

User Activated Soft Fork (UASF) - is a quietly activated soft fork when users doesn't want to wait for miners decisions. Users talk to people who are running full nodes (exchanges, business, etc..) to activate a soft fork by installing new software.


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In the future I bet there will be more complicated forks out there. Developers and great minds are trying to improvise. 

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IMO it's Contentious Hard Fork, created and supported by three guys: Roger Ver, Craig S Wright, Jihan Wu.

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