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means that every node in the network will only   Examples of Soft Forks
                                             accept the new regulations and ignore any
                                                                                  1.  Segregated Witness
                                             nodes trying to run an old software version.
                                             The new rule set can be changed (hard forks)
                                                                                    Segregated Witness is the name of August
                                             or tweaked (soft forks) in smaller incremental
                                                                                  1st’s soft fork. This soft fork makes it so that
                                             amounts, just like anyone could do in typical
                                                                                  transactions will not be included in blocks
                                             software development. It is why old software
                                                                                  unless they have the new data added to them.
                                             versions are deprecated; they become
                                                                                  This extra bit of data is called a “witness” and
                                             outdated and are no longer updated. However,
                                                                                  comes with each transaction. If most miners
                                             if most nodes adopt the new rule changes,
                                                                                  are signaling for SegWit (as of August 1st),
                                             everything will stay the same, and changes will   then nodes that do not signal for SegWit will
                                             not be enforced. It is where it becomes more
                                                                                  probably be pushed out or ignored by the
                                             controversial in terms of soft forks. If only a   network as it moves forward with further
                                             few people get behind the new knife, it is not
                                                                                  development. As with any change, you can
                                             worth going through with the change. Most   continue using the old software, but you risk
                                             networks will ignore the division and continue
                                                                                  having your transactions rejected by some
                                             with the new rules.                  nodes or miners on the network.

                                               Soft forks are not free. The people   2.  SegWit2x
                                             supporting them, like most miners, must
                                             commit to keeping the nodes that they   SegWit2x is another soft fork that was
                                             operate connected to the network running   planned and created after the first SegWit
                                             for it to work as planned. If all miners stop   soft fork. The project’s goal is to get a majority
                                             using these nodes, then the soft fork will be   of miners to signal support for SegWit to
                                             unsuccessful, and everyone will be stuck with   propose a second change that would also
                                             network congestion and slower transactions   break the 1MB block size limit on the Bitcoin
                                             until most nodes have upgraded their   blockchain and give it a two-megabyte block
                                             software. In theory, soft forks can be more   size with support. Since this hard fork was
                                             challenging for any currency community to   announced, there has been a lot of negative
                                             support than hard forks (which is where hard   backlash against it because many nodes and
                                             forks happen).                       miners are in opposition to the change, so
                                                                                  for now, it seems unlikely that it will happen
                                               User-activated soft forks (UASFs) are   or be successful (below). Right now, it is still
                                             a new method being developed to allow   possible to use SegWit2x software on the
                                             dynamic changes to protocol parameters   network, but you cannot use newly mined
                                             without waiting for consensus. The software   transactions without signaling for this change.
                                             developers can activate UASFs by using a soft
                                             fork. This change requires 75% of all miners to   Soft forks are a more stable change to
                                             signal support on the main blockchain. While   a blockchain’s protocol, whereas hard forks
                                             this does not mean that a UASF is guaranteed   can create problems for nodes that have not
                                             to succeed, it does approve the developers   upgraded or users who have not upgraded
                                             to activate the feature. It is an alternative path   their software. Soft forks are also a more
                                             for the development team to make necessary   sustainable way of implementing new changes
                                             changes without receiving approval from all of   to the software. If you look at different
                                             the miners or node operators on the network.   blockchain protocols like Ethereum, which
                                             Some UASFs are very controversial, like   recently faced scaling issues and hard-forked,
                                             SegWit2x, which caused many problems and   it is evident that soft forking is much less
                                             drama when it was planned.           problematic.

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