Discovering Satoshi: Hal Finney

Discovering Satoshi: Hal Finney

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LINKS FOR ADDITIONAL READING FOR THIS VIDEO & ALL INFO IN TEXT DOWN BELOW

Satoshi Theory: https://cointelegraph.com/news/who-is-satoshi-the-hal-finney-dorian-nakamoto-connection
Hal Finney: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hal_Finney_(computer_scientist)
Hal’s Post on BitcoinTalk: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=155054.0
Finney’s Outlook on Life: https://www.wired.com/2014/08/hal-finney/

Hal Finney is a person who I hope will be remembered for his contributions towards creating privacy solutions for all.
He was a computer scientist who began his career developing console games and then was brought on by Phil Zimmerman to help develop for the PGP Corporation. PGP standing for Pretty Good Privacy.

My last video was a brief introduction to the Cypherpunks and what they were all about. These individuals were able to communicate through anonymous email interactions. Hal played a big part in creating this type of messaging protocol and a big part of the Cypherpunks movement.

There has always been a lot of speculation around the true identity of “Satoshi Nakamoto”. Some people think that Hal Finney was actually the real Satoshi even though Hal always denied this. There *was* a man named Dorian Nakamoto (Originally named Satoshi) who lived right down the block from Hal, but he has also always denied any ties whatsoever to what he called the “Bitcoin Company”. Bitcoin of course is not a company, rather is just a network of decentralized servers that maintain a distributed ledger. But anyway, back to this theory, this man Nakamoto had actually suffered quite a financial loss during the 2007/2008 financial crisis. One could say that this Satoshi Nakamoto fellow is a perfect representation of the individuals who could benefit from the system that is the Bitcoin network.

I actually quite like this theory because at this point, after this network has grown to the size and scale that it has achieved, is it really important to identify Satoshi Nakamoto? Isn’t it instead better to think that Satoshi represents all of us who want to see an autonomous, independent solution to the old systems of centralized control and authority? We can argue all day about whether or not the Bitcoin of today has stayed true to the vision that its creator had at its inception, but it’s grown far outside of any one person’s control. Which is the whole point right? This is the first time you can actively participate in a system that was designed to facilitate your own input. You can run a fully validating Bitcoin node and be a part of the network. You can help to further decentralize and ultimately strengthen the network. You will have a say on how your transactions are done based on how you set it up.

Hal Finney suffered from ALS, a disease which I’m all too familiar with as my own grandmother shared the same diagnosis. ALS just sucks. It slowly paralyzes the body and the average life span after diagnosis is about 2-5 years. Hal was diagnosed in 2009 but as this disease slowly took his mobility, Hal continued to code thanks to his equipment that could read his eye movements. He even designed software that would allow him to maneuver his wheelchair with his eyes also. Sadly, he eventually passed away in 2014.
As a man who was always open to the future, and never felt threatened by innovation it should come as no surprise that he chose to be cryogenically frozen in the hopes of being reanimated in the future when technology would allow for his body to be made whole again.

Hal’s life has ended but his story is one worth sharing and learning from. I encourage you to dig deeper into all that he’s contributed towards encryption and providing ways that we can all use to ensure our own privacy and let’s take a page out of his book and always be inspired by innovation, not fearful of it. This entire movement has deep roots in establishing ways that can guarantee your own autonomy if you want to pursue it, don’t be afraid to take part of and be inspired by the innovation.