Parity has been around the client-making block a few times (since 2016 to be exact), but today's release of Parity-Ethereum v2.0 has put a fresh spring in its step. With a new name (the added "Ethereum," which is apparently to distinguish itself from Parity's other software, including Parity-Bitcoin and Parity-Pokadot) and a new purpose, Parity-Ethereum has left behind its small-time dreams for bigger and better things. The Parity-Ethereum v2.0 client will no longer function as a full-node wallet for just anyone. Instead, it's got its eyes on the big leagues: mining pools, exchanges, and infrastructure and services providers of all types.
The modified name is the most attention-grabbing shift, but the client also has some major substantive changes that dramatically alter its functionality. The public node and user interface have been completely removed, for one. Civilians who have been using Parity as a wallet will need to transition to the stand-alone UI application.
The client has also moved away from all installers and operating system-specific packages. Afri Schoedon of Parity Technologies explained the vision behind these developments:
"We see Parity Ethereum as a piece of core infrastructure, to be bundled into end-user software packages such as graphical wallets or to be used as a library in mobile apps."
Parity Ethereum v2.0 also boasts "highly customizable chain specification," intended to enable the client to easily adapt to upcoming changes to the Ethereum protocol. Notably, the client allows users to plug in different consensus engines and choose between the Ethereum Virtual Machine and the WebAssembly (WASM) Virtual Machine.
These functionalities will be particularly important in the coming months, as Plasma, eWASM, Casper, sharding, proof of stake, and proof of authority are rolled out on Ethereum. The client also allows for permissioning and private transactions, and a Secret Store is available to owners of permissioned addresses that will allow them to ask "for key elements" needed to "decrypt the code and state of the Private Contract."
For a full account of Parity-Ethereum v2.0, the source code and an explainer are available on the paritytech GitHub.