simplistic diagram of a hard fork by @thekittygirl for this post
Every so often during the operation of a blockchain, changes are required to the code that runs the chain. In simplistic terms: when changes to the blockchain are small, cosmetic changes, they are called "Soft Forks," while major, operational changes are referred to as "Hard Forks." They are called "forks" because the original course of the blockchain is abandoned in favor of a new couse (see above diagram).
🔸 For those who want to learn more in-depth information about the differences between fork types, see the article "HARD FORK vs SOFT FORK" on Coindesk.com
HARD FORK 21
The twenty-first Hard Fork to the Steem blockchain has been scheduled to take place on TUESDAY, 27-AUGUST-2019. Sometime that day, the Steem blockchain will become unavailable while the witnesses (the people who run the servers that 'witness'/confirm the blocks on the chain) update their software to the new version.
After the new software is installed and configured properly, each server will have to do a "replay" of the blockchain data, to make sure it conforms to the new standards. This process takes several hours, at best.
If all goes well, the blockchain will return to functionality within the day. However, if there are problems, it may take several days to restore functionality (as was seen during the HF20 update).
OMG, STEEM WITHDRAWL! 😱
Many of us have become accustomed to closely orbiting the Steem blockchain much like the Moon orbits the Earth. Waking up to a non-functional blockchain is a rude awakening, as those of us who were here for the last Hard Fork can attest... 😬
Many people are planning hiking expeditions that day, shopping excursions, or going to visit Grandma. For everyone else, hanging-out on Discord is another option. We, at the Steem Terminal, would like to make sure our newbies have a fun place to hang during the Hard Fork. So, we are planning some "hang time" in our general voice-channel. We have a music bot, will have some discussions, maybe play some games, and have chances to win some prizes (such as Steem Monster card packs and some cool crypto-tokens)!
More details about the times of these hang-outs will be made available as the date for the Hard Fork approaches! Stay tuned!
The SteemTerminal is a discord server which was founded to help give newbies to the Steem blockchain some basic orientation and help them find communities where they can thrive, learn, and grow! Those interested are welcome to join us by clicking the banner: