Hal Finney was a Bitcoin supporter, a revered cryptographer and cypherpunk, and a gifted computer scientist. He was the first person to run the Bitcoin software in 2009, setting a firm base for the network and helping it “stand up”. On his first encounter with the Bitcoin software, he is famously quoted as saying it presented a very promising idea.
Hal is famously known for being the first recipient of 10 BTC from the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto. Although the exact amount of BTC owned by Hal is unknown, estimated to be worth millions of dollars since he was one of the first to mine Bitcoin, the only public transaction known the amount from Satoshi.
By the time Satoshi and Hal were actively communicating, the computer scientist had already made a name for himself as a respected cryptographer and one of the brightest computer programming minds in the world. He was behind the creation of the PGP encryption system, effectively laying the foundation for the proof-of-work consensus algorithm system that underpins the Bitcoin network.
Is Hal Finney Satoshi Nakamoto?
There are speculations that Hal Finney could be the elusive founder of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto.
Like Satoshi, Finney was a gifted cryptographer and coder behind several innovations that anchored the Bitcoin network. Furthermore, he was the first person to be in direct contact with the founder, even receiving 10 BTC.
However, Hal denied all these claims, further providing email proof that he was a supporter of the Bitcoin idea and not the founder as alluded to.
Finney died at the age of 58 due to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) on August 28, 2014. His body is preserved as patient 128 in the Alcor Life Extension Foundation.