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Ethereum Client Parity Drops Wallet Tech in Major Upgrade

Parity, the ethereum software client, has announced some major changes, including the stripping away of its graphical user interface (GUI).

In effect, the changes mean that Parity’s “wallet” – that is, its repository of private keys – does not now exist for general, non-technical consumers. All “installers and operating-system specific packages” have also been removed.

According to newly published details for the Parity 2.0 client, the software is being positioned as “expert software for production use and shouldn’t be considered end-user software or an ‘Ethereum Wallet’.”

At the heart of the change is a repositioning of sorts away from serving as a tool for everyday users, placing the emphasis on those that provide infrastructure on the ethereum network, primarily exchanges and miners.

As the post explains:

“We reflect these strategic changes by completely removing the graphical user interface, the so-called ‘Parity Wallet,’ from the client. Furthermore, we have removed all installers and operating-system specific packages. In this way, 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.”

The announcement comes nearly one year to the day that roughly $30 million in ether were stolen as a result of a vulnerability in the Parity software. The bug was related to a specific multi-signature contract, as CoinDesk reported at the time.

Another, more serious code flaw resulted in the freeze of more than 500,000 ETH – an amount worth more than $250 million at press time – last November. According to a post-mortem published afterward, the deletion of a code library that supports Parity’s multi-signature wallet sparked the fund lock-up.

Changes aside, those hoping to continue using a Parity-derived wallet can do so, according to the post, though the startup said that it will “only minimally maintain” the user interface that is linked out to on GitHub.

Image via Shutterstock

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The First Version of Ethereum's Casper Upgrade Has Been Published

A new version of the code behind Casper, a planned change to the way the ethereum network reaches consensus, has been published for wider scrutiny by auditors and client developers.

Danny Ryan, the developer behind Casper FFG, posted a version 0.1.0 “first release” of the code to GitHub Tuesday, noting, “v0.1.0 marks us more clearly tagging releases to help clients and external auditors more easily track the contract and changes.”

(Short for “Friendly Finality Gadget,” FFG is the first iteration of Casper, and will possibly be followed by others.)

Ryan followed up with a reply to a Reddit post on the update, in which he wrote:

“More than just the research team is using the contract now — auditors, client devs, etc — so we wanted to start issuing clearer versioning and changelogs to help everyone stay organized.”

The move signals that momentum is building behind the protocol change, as ethereum software clients can begin scripting the software into their individual coding languages and testing the software.

Vitalik Buterin, who created ethereum, addressed the Casper upgrade at a conference in Toronto last week, calling it “hopefully one of the more joyous experiences in ethereum in a fairly short time.”

Once implemented, Casper FFG will alter ethereum’s software so that updating the blockchain involves a combination of proof-of-work – the electricity-intensive “mining” familiar from bitcoin – and proof-of-stake. The latter employs validators to update the ledger through a voting system within which users, sometimes called stakers, put down deposits of ether, which they risk losing if they attempt to cheat.

In its initial stages, Casper will retain ethereum’s current proof-of-work protocol to do most of the heavy lifting, using proof of stake to validate “checkpoints” periodically. Because the network can only handle so many validating nodes, the minimum deposit will start off at 1,500 ether, or $1.1 million at the current exchange rate.

The plan is eventually to move to a fully proof-of-stake system and to lower the minimum stake, but there is no definite timeline for that transition at present.

For now, this first stage of Casper has to be audited, and the network cannot implement it until more code has been written for ethereum clients, the programs users download to run the cryptocurrency’s protocol. Since Casper will not be compatible with earlier versions of ethereum, the network will need to hard fork.

Ryan told a meeting of developers last month:

“As these pieces of the puzzle are getting closer to being completed, I’ll signal that it’s time to start talking about fork block numbers.

Code image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.