Anyone in the cryptocurrency industry is familiar with Hal Finney, the legendary Bitcoin pioneer and an OG of the extropians cypherpunk movement. He passed away on the 28th of August 2014, but his impact on Bitcoin and the view on technology and innovation will inspire generations to come. Let’s look at his life.
Finney is best known for receiving the first 10 Bitcoin from the pseudonymous creator of the world’s largest cryptocurrency, Satoshi Nakamoto. He was a computer scientist and played a crucial part in the testing of the newly created infrastructure of 2009 called- Bitcoin.
The renowned cryptographer and coder had also worked as the second developer for the PGP Corporation, after Phil Zimmerman, and had earlier expressed his love for the technology as it protected the rights of individuals to privacy. He continued to work there until his retirement in 2011. Never a person two write long-tweets, Finney is much more than that. In fact, his impact on crypto as a technology is still felt today.
Talking about his journey, the scientist had posted on the Bitcointalk forums about his early experiences with BTC and revealed mining several blocks on the network as a relatively simple process in 2009 when CPUs were used instead of GPUs. Finney was never the one to shy away from announcing his fascination for encryption and cryptography.
“Much of my free time and effort these days are devoted to my activities in cryptography. In the past, I have participated actively on the Cypherpunks mailing list. Cypherpunks Archives seem to go down suspiciously often; too much “burn before reading” stuff there, I guess.”
Finney was an avowed libertarian who had developed the first “cypherpunk remailer,” a software that receives an encrypted email and bounces messages to their destinations. It restricts anyone from identifying the sender.
Should Finney’s emails be an sold as an NFT?
That might be a tricky question, But the email exchanged between Satoshi Nakamoto and Finney was nothing short of priceless and this represents a key part of the history of the financial transition that we are witnessing today. The previously unpublished emails disclose the communications between the mysterious creator and Finney starting from November 2008 and January 2009, the very month Bitcoin was launched.
This is relevant also because many thought that Hal was Satoshi, but the emails debunked those theories. Even so, the conspiracies continued to swirl after reports emerged that someone named Satoshi Nakamoto lived just two blocks away from Finney.
From Bitcoin to Visiting the future
In August 2009, Finney was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. He might have passed away but not before securing his ambitious mission to visit the future. Just after his legal death seven years ago, Finney’s body was transported from a Scottsdale, Arizona hospital to Alcor Life Extension Foundation which happens to be a facility of the cryonics firm. That night, Finney’s blood and other fluids were removed from his body and replaced with a collection of chemicals that are reportedly designed to be as minimally toxic as possible to his tissues. According to the company, this process would inhibit the formation of ice crystals that would lead from freezing and destroy his cell membranes.
His wife had earlier revealed that he was always optimistic about the future and that he embraced every new technological advancement. With this, he became one of the early adopters of human cryopreservation.