Each of these kinds of forks has different properties that significantly changed how the blockchain network is run. In a sustained chain split, there is sufficient economic and hashpower support on two or more versions of the blockchain to lead to there being multiple competing versions of the blockchain for an extended period of time. Since the miners producing legacy blocks have more hashpower than the one miner producing soft fork blocks, the legacy nodes will follow the version of the blockchain produced by legacy miners. So, lets dive into what forking is, why soft and hard forks are so important, and how theyre related. It is also worth noting that chain splits can occur without a planned soft or hard fork rule change. Only one full node updates and only one miner with 1 of the hashpower updates In this scenario, there is only one full node enforcing the hard fork rules and only one miner with 1 of the hashpower producing. The rest of the full nodes are enforcing the new soft fork rules and the rest of the miners are mining blocks that conform to the new soft fork rules. This scenario is most likely to occur. An example is a hard fork that increases the block size limit from 1MB to 2MB. When Bitcoin Cash forked from Bitcoin, both sides of the community were getting increasingly heated over what should be done. The incentives ensure that miners will eventually converge on the most valuable blockchain, or else go bankrupt.
There is also the possibility of an emergency hard relianz forex nz fork (EHF) at the time of the Segwit2x hard fork if there is a large enough part of the economy that rejects Segwit2x. This year will be looked back on as a pivotal year in the history of bitcoin. Being part of the 5 that hadn't updated and weren't creating version 3 blocks, btcnuggets created a version 2 block which was invalid to all new clients (.9.5) but valid to old clients. Contents, mechanism, given a set of valid blocks, you can take any subset of those blocks and that subset will also, of course, all be valid. A softfork is a change to the bitcoin protocol wherein only previously valid blocks/transactions are made invalid. Another issue is the blockchain reorganization, where one version of the blockchain gets overtaken by another, potentially leading to a loss of funds by users who were relying on the history of the blockchain that was overtaken. Antminer and F2Pool, comprising 40 of the network at the time, were creating version 3 blocks, however neither miner validated previous blocks. Chain splits can even occur during normal bitcoin network operations as miners race to build a winning version of the blockchain that earns them new block rewards. Hard forks can be good news for existing coin holders, who are usually granted assets on a new chain in proportion to what they had on the original chain, all without losing their assets on the original one.