Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Bitcoin Encryption

Hal Finney, PGP and Bitcoin Pioneer, Dies At 58 40

New submitter brokenin2 writes Hal Finney, the number two programmer for PGP and the first person to receive a Bitcoin transaction, has passed away. From the article on Coindesk: "Shortly after collaborating with Nakamoto on early bitcoin code in 2009, Finney announced he was suffering from ALS. Increasing paralysis, which eventually became near-total, forced him to retire from work in early 2011."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Hal Finney, PGP and Bitcoin Pioneer, Dies At 58

Comments Filter:
  • Obligatory (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I nominate Hal Finney for the Ice Bucket Challenge!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm assuming he still wanted to be cryo'd.

    Fran, you have my condolences.

    • Yes, he was cryopreserved.

      On the plus side, knowing your own death is coming and being at a hospital already gives the best chances for cryopreserving the brain before it begins to degrade. You can get a "standby" watch as the time approaches.

      On the minus side, ALS is a neurological disease. It affects the motor neurons, not the ones responsible for cognition, but that includes the "upper" motor neurons... including the ones in the brain.

      Maybe we'll be able to repair ALS-damaged neurons before we figure out how to safely reverse cryopreservation. Maybe we won't, but life support systems will be good enough it'll be worth bringing him out anyhow. Maybe we'll achieve brain uploading and ALS will be irrelevant. Any which way you look at it, though, he's going to need some work.

      That's actually one of the (many) problems with cryopreservation research. We can't bring people out of full suspension right now, so cryopreserving a living person is legally considered killing them. Thus, it can only be done to people already legally dead. Legally dead people tend to have died *of* something. There just isn't any point to bringing people out of cryonics until we can repair (or replace) their bodies.

      • No worries, cryopreserved people are dead forever. They will not and can not be revived and the industry is a scam going on for now 47 years. I'll bet some of those early adopters thought they'd be thawed and "cured" (nevermind they died before freezing) by now. suckers.

        • I imagine some of the cryo houses are 'scams' in that they don't believe revival is possible, some are true believers. Regardless, I don't think that 'revival' is going to be possible until somebody figures out a protocol for actually freezing the bodies without damage in the first place. What is quite possible is instead us figuring out how to make exceptionally fine brain scans before some or most of these companies go bust. It's much, much cheaper to maintain a massive redundant storage server farm than

          • There's probably not much point in trying to fix the bodies anyhow; even without the freeze damage, the people are legally dead because their bodies were shutting down. In many cases, the freezing just finished a process of tissue damage that was already near-complete.

            With that said, bodies (unlike brains) cannot currently be preserved without any freeze damage. Although some places will cycle cryopreservative though the bloodstream to mitigate the damage, others don't bother keeping the parts that can't be

        • Some of those early adopters... you mean, like the ones who put their own money into launching the industry, and are themselves cryogenically preserved? I doubt any of them thought they would be restored by now - they knew, as well as we know today, that technology would need to advance to the point of either completely rebuilding their bodies or making bodies themselves redundant - though I suspect some of them thought (and I'm sure they all hoped) there would be more research in the field. In any case, I'

          • No, brain death is the legal criteria. Cessation of heartbeat is NOT a consideration. Research the phrase "beating heart cadaver" which is medical technique sometimes used to preserve organs prior to transplant.

            Those people were dead, meaning brain dead. No hope of recovery or ressurection.

  • Dies... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    ... and was cryogenically frozen. You'd think this would be mentioned in a Slashdot article.

    Thank you for everything Hal, you were an inspiration to many. My condolences to your family.

  • by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @03:43AM (#47789851)
    What a shame. if only he had know that you can cure ALS by dumping a bucket of ice water on your head.
  • Assisted suicide (Score:2, Insightful)

    by skovnymfe ( 1671822 )
    The guy was paralyzed enough to not be able to do any work on a computer in 2011, and yet he doesn't die until 3 years later. I know that Christianity runs strong in the blood of American politics and that this prevents assisted suicide from ever becoming a thing over there, but God damn it. That has got to fucking suck. Dibs on that not happening to me.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I watched a guy semi-slowly die from ALS. Those people modding you as troll are severely lacking in a clue as to how this condition kills you.

      There are some things that are much, much worse than death. ALS is right near the top of that list.

  • Ah, we've found a new slogan for Slashdot.

  • ...from liquid to solid. I met him a number of times, and knew him on the cypherpunks list.
    He'll be missed while he's gone.
    Au Revoir, old pal
  • Hal was an early contributer to the Everything list, set up to discuss the ensemble everything theories of Max Tegmark and others like him.

    In particuar the notion of the quantum theory of immortality received a lot of discussion. Hal followed the absolute SSA interpretation, which means he didn't believe in the quantum theory immortality. However, if he's wrong, I hope he didn't stay locked in for long!

  • A long tome ago for a project I adapted some open source m-of-n secret sharing code written by Hal. I wasn't aware of his contributions to Bitcoin though. Sorry he had to suffer with ALS. RIP.
  • We are now seeing the start of the death of bitcoin.

    As people die, their coins -- protected by passwords not available to anyone else -- will be taken out of circulation.

    So what happens to the bitcoins of the dead? What is the future of a currency that has to suffer hard decline in total units as generations go by?

    What is the future of a currency where only corporations can live long enough to use it -- and they cannot prevent theft (if the corporation has a way to spend it, then at least one person must ha

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?