Bitcoin pioneer Hal Finney posthumously receives new award named in his honor

The Human Rights Foundation has announced that computer scientist and privacy policy advocate Hal Finney, who played a role in the launch of Bitcoin 15 years ago, will posthumously become the first recipient of an award named in his honor.

This review is part of CoinDesk's Future of Bitcoin package .

Fran Finney, his widow, accepted the first Finney Freedom Award on Hal's behalf, including a physical award and a cash prize of 1 Bitcoin (BTC). Hal Finney died in 2014 due to complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

HRF Chief Strategy Officer Alex Gladstein said the award is intended to honor those who make vital contributions to Bitcoin.

«Obviously we T can pass this on to Satoshi. So other than that, this is Hal. ONE didn’t even come close to his contribution,” Gladstein told CoinDesk. . “He programmed until his last days. I mean, he literally contributed to Human freedom until his bigger T muscles stopped cooperating.»

Read more: Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?

“Hal would be delighted to see how the Bitcoin ecosystem has grown, and the Dictionary has grown to see this once little-known software project now used by tens of millions of people around the world,” Fran Finney said in a pre-recorded acceptance speech. . “He will be honored to be the first recipient of this award and will be delighted to have it presented on his behalf. I feel very honored and responsible to accept the first prize on his behalf.”

The Human Rights Foundation has allocated an additional 32 Bitcoin from its treasury, worth over $2 million at current prices, to pay future rewards. “We think in 40 years this will probably be the biggest cash prize in the world,” Gladstein said.

Over the next three years, the foundation will name a new honoree on January 10, also known as «Run with Bitcoin Day,» or the day Hal Finney tweeted (now X) that he had become the first person other than Satoshi Nakamoto. who downloaded the Bitcoin Software . Thereafter, awards will be awarded at the same time as Bitcoin is halved, approximately every four years.. (ONE will happen a few hours after publication.)

Read more: This Bitcoin halving is different. But is this included in the price?

The first four awards, including the Finney Award, are designed specifically to retroactively reward those who contributed the most to Bitcoin during the periods between each of the first four halvings: 2009-2012 (Finney), 2012-2016, 2016-2020 and 2020-2020. 2024. After that, the prize will go to those who have made the greatest contribution over the past four years.

“Genesis Committee” of seven people, including Genesis author Aaron van Weerdum, African Bitcoin Conference founder Farida Nabourema, Bitcoin CORE developer Gloria Zhao, Bitcoin++ and Base58 co-founder Lisa Neigut, Fedi founder Obi Nwosu, Stone Ridge Holdings CEO Ross Stevens and Running Bitcoin Challenge co-founder Vitus Zeller have been chosen to lead the nomination process until 2028.

Committee members will then nominate their successor, who will serve a four-year term.

“This is a prize that will outlive us all,” Gladstein said, noting that the latest Bitcoin halving will happen sometime in the next century. “I hope that over the course of decades we will have some kind of intellectual line. The first seven will only select someone who they feel truly embodies their ideals, so hopefully in 100 years you'll end up with a committee that to some extent reflects the original committee.»

Who is Hal Finney?

Even if Hal Finney had never discovered Bitcoin on the Cypherpunk mailing list, becoming the first person to receive a Bitcoin transaction and contribute code to the project, it is likely that the Bitcoin community will remember him for his many contributions to cryptography and protecting the Privacy Policy.

A Caltech graduate, Phinney began contributing to the seminal cryptographic communications tool Pretty Good Privacy Policy (better known as PGP) in the early 1990s and then worked for the PGP Corporation until his retirement.. The program remains ONE of the best ways to encrypt online communications.

“The work we do here is broadly devoted to this goal of making Big Brother obsolete,” he wrote to a group of cryptographers at a time when the US government was seeking to limit public access to strong encryption.

Finney's work on PGP led to his interest in digital currencies, which he believed could better protect people's privacy policies than the new payment methods such as credit cards that began to dominate (and still dominate) the web. In 2004, Finney created a prototype digital asset, a reusable proof-of-work system, which, although it caught on, went on to directly inspire Bitcoin.

Cm. Also: Bitcoin and the rise of cypherpunks.

Four years later, when Satoshi presented the Bitcoin whitepaper, Finney was ONE of the few who paid attention. In Satoshi's announcement on the crypto mailing list, he responded that he was looking forward to seeing how the concept would develop, and he was offered early access to the project's source code.

Between 2009 and 2013, when Finney announced on the BitcoinTalk forum that he was paralyzed, he made several key contributions to the Bitcoin software . Throughout his life, he and his wife Fran often competed in marathons. In a 2009 blog post for Less Wrong, Phinney wrote, “My dream is to contribute to open source software projects, even from a stationary body.”

Some believe that Finny is Satoshi or a possible member of a group that calls itself by a collective name. A recent post by Bitcoin OG Jameson Lopp disputes this claim after looking at timestamps that show Finney was likely frequently somewhere else while Satoshi was online. Finney himself denied that he was Satoshi Nakamoto.

“We wanted to present the award not only to recognize Hal's contributions to Bitcoin, but to digital privacy and freedom in general,” Gladstein said. “This is something that is very important to us.”