Hal Finney, a Cryptographer Dies, He Was 58

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Hal Finney, a Cryptographer Dies, He Was 58

A graduate of the California Institute of Technology, a cryptographer and one of the earliest users and developers of the virtual currency Bitcoin, is no more. He died on Thursday in Phoenix at the age of 58. The long time futurist Finney put his programming skills to work in the service of his ideals like individuals’ right to privacy.

Mr. Finney is survived by his wife, a son, Jason; a daughter, Erin Finney. The premature death of Mr. Finney came after he was paralyzed by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or A.L.S., and was taken off life support at Paradise Valley Hospital. However, as Hal was open about his Alcor membership and had said that he would be happy for to tell people about his choice if it might be good for cryonics, he has been cryptoserved.

Writing about his education and career Wikipedia informs that after graduation from Cal Tech, he went to work in the computer gaming field for a company that developed video games like Astroblast and Space Attack.

Hal Finney later went to work for the PGP Corporation with who he remained until his retirement in 2011. Being a noted cryptographic activist since earlier professional career he was also a regular poster on the cypherpunks listserv. He ran a successful contest to break the export-grade encryption Netscape used.

Hal Finney Was a Champion of Individuals’ Privacy Rights

Mr. Finney was involved in many experiments aimed at creating an anonymous form of digital money and for that he first invented reusable proofs of work in 2004 which though never took off; he paid his attention to the Bitcoin project. He came to know about it through an obscure email list in 2008 by a creator with the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.

There was nothing that Hal Finney did not know about the project as Bitcoin used some of the same cryptographic tools harnessed by P.G.P. The additional feature that attracted him was that it promised that participants could choose to be anonymous when spending money online; this clicked to his mind and he started working for it.

It was not that the project did not draw criticism from some cryptographers; however, it was Finney who came to defend it and downloaded the Bitcoin software the day it was released. He was also the first one who transacted Bitcoin on the network when Satoshi Nakamoto sent him 10 Bitcoins.

To contact the reporter of this story: Deepak Tiwari at deepak@forexminute.com