Hal Finney (cypherpunk)

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Hal Finney
Born (1956-05-04)May 4, 1956
Died August 28, 2014(2014-08-28) (aged 58)
Known for Proof-of-work system

Hal Finney (May 4, 1956 – August 28, 2014) was a developer for PGP Corporation, and was the second developer hired after Phil Zimmerman. In his early career, he was credited as lead developer on several console games (Adventures of Tron, Armor Ambush, Astroblast, Space Attack).[1] He was a 1979 graduate of the California Institute of Technology, holding a BS in engineering.

Finney was also a noted cryptographic activist.[2] During the early 1990s, in addition to being a regular poster on the cypherpunks listserv, Finney ran two anonymous remailers.[3] Further cryptographic activism included running a (successful) contest to break the export-grade encryption Netscape used.[4]

In 2004, Finney created the first reusable proof of work system before Bitcoin.[citation needed][5] In January 2009, Finney was the Bitcoin network's first transaction recipient.[6]

In October 2009, Finney announced on an essay on the blog Less Wrong that he had been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in August 2009.[7] Prior to his illness, Finney had been an active runner. Finney and his wife Fran Finney raised money for ALS research with the Santa Barbara International Marathon.[8][9][10] In March of 2013, Finney posted on a Bitcoin forum that he was essentially paralyzed, but continues to program.[11] He was working on experimental software called bcflick, which uses Trusted Computing to strengthen Bitcoin wallets.[12]

Hal Finney died on August 28, 2014 and was cryopreserved.[13]


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