Fork appears when blockchain is split into two potentially correct chains.
Blockchain structure is designed in such a way that all nodes must have a single blockchain history in order to achieve consensus and smooth operation of the network. Fork occurs in a situation, where for some reason an alternative block chain emerges. Forks also occurs, if members supporting the network are unable to reach consensus or want to update node software.
Altcoins as BTC forks
Despite the great difference in the code structure and the networks usage based on it, all networks are sometimes called BTC Forks in cryptography community. Term "altcoin" is widely used to describe them. Bitcoin is often referred to as "grandfather" or "dad".
One of the most famous examples of forced Fork happened as a result of a smart contract mistake in DAO Etherium network, which caused losses to investors. The result of this fork was an alternative network called Etherium Classic. Another well-known example of planned Fork occurred in 2017 and led to the creation of the Bitcoin Cash network. It arose out of the development team’s desire to increase the block size and change the network architecture.
Soft Fork & Hard fork – what’s the difference
Forks change the rules and functionality of the network. Therefore, a Hard fork occurs in case a new network thinks that blocks created by the old rules are invalid. If all the nodes in the network define the old blocks as legitimate and compatible, it is known as a Soft fork.
The desire of the Bitcoin, Ethereum and other communities to hold regular forks is above all a necessity. Networks need to be able to cope with the increasing load as well as to better meet the needs of users and the market. Minter developers have considered all previous problems and malfunctions of other cryptocurrencies, leaving the community with the ability to make changes without conflicts and forks.