Soft Fork, Soft-Forking Change

This definition comes from the technical glossary.

Definition

A softfork is a change to the bitcoin protocol wherein only previously valid blocks/transactions are made invalid. Since old nodes will recognise the new blocks as valid, a softfork is backward-compatible.

Synonyms

  • Soft fork

Not To Be Confused With

  • Fork (a regular fork where all nodes follow the same consensus rules, so the fork is resolved once one chain has more proof of work than another)

  • Hard fork (a permanent divergence in the block chain caused by non-upgraded nodes not following new consensus rules)

  • Software fork (when one or more developers permanently develops a codebase separately from other developers)

  • Git fork (when one or more developers temporarily develops a codebase separately from other developers