Yes, Bitcoin is a network which is evolving constantly. Users that haven’t been active for a long period of time, will have to update. The way in which Bitcoin evolve is very advanced, but simple.
Basically, anyone can start a change and configure an upgrade. Later on, everything depends on miners. If the number of miners who accepted upgrade is big enough, entire network will update.
What is the system behind these subtle changes in the way entire network works? Everything depends on the will of the miners. Miners have their votes. Power of miner’s vote depends on the power he brings to the network. There is no chance of manipulating with votes and they can’t be faked. It is a great way of improving since it doesn’t include endless debates or slow decisions. It’s happening all the time, everywhere.
The foundation of entire progress is competition. That is the way forks are happening. What is a fork? Fork is what happens when a blockchain gets an oportunity to evolve in two different ways. It’s a dispute between users in a blockchain, for an example. Forks resolve on themselves, basically, all the users get the chance to choose and the evolution of Bitcoin proceeds. Forks can be intentional or unintentional. Besides that, forks can be divided to:
– Hard consensus fork is a situation when previously invalid blocks become valid, during hard consensus fork every Bitcoin user must upgrade to remain compatible to the network.
– Soft consensus fork is a situation when previously valid block become invalid, when soft consensus fork occurs, it’s up to Bitcoin users if they wish to upgrade this way, but if they decline, security is at stake and some features brought through the fork would not be available to them.
On the first glance, it would appear that division between users is not a good thing for a network. Actually, it is a great thing since the competition that arose that way between Blockchains is essential for progress of entire network. Of course, if they aren’t happening all the time. In every few months or years hard fork is a quite useful in determining the best path in the future. And it’s all about majority.