An important date in Bitcoin history has recently been celebrated. About 10 years ago, Hal Finney became the second person to run a Bitcoin node, and tweeted about using two simple words most likely didn’t understand at the time.
— halfin (@halfin) January 11, 2009
This tweet has now become famous among the crypto community, with some claiming to be “the most iconic tweet of the 21st century”. Hal Finney started running the second Bitcoin node after the first node being set up by Satoshi Nakamoto, the flagship cryptocurrency’s creator, himself. One day later, Hal was on the receiving end of the first ever Bitcoin transaction, having received 10 Bitcoins from Satoshi.
Hal Finney’s Life
Born in 1957 in California, Hal Finney was a computer scientist, cypherpunk, and a major contributor to Bitcoin. Finney graduated with a BS in engineering from California Institute of Technology and started his career as a video game developer. Later on, he joined PGP Corporation and remained there until his forced retirement in 2011.
The engineer was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2009. Although his body gradually became paralyzed, Finney continued to program until he passed away on August of 2014. His body was cryopreserved by the Alcor Life Extension Foundation.
An extensive post on Bitcointalk provides compelling evidence that Hal Finney is Satoshi Nakamoto. Among all the claims, one that stands out is the fact that he had a neighbor who lived two streets away called Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto. He was also responsible for creating the first reusable proof-of-work system prior to Bitcoin. However, Hal publicly denied being Satoshi on several occasions, and there’s no concrete proof.
From Zero to Hero
As the engineer mentioned in a very personal Bitcointalk post (“Bitcoin and Me”), various cypherpunks were initially skeptical when Satoshi announced the Bitcoin whitepaper. Rightfully so, as many attempts to create a digital currency independent from governments had failed at the time.
Due to its core technology and the work of several early supporters, Bitcoin has so far been successful. In 2010 the first real world purchase took place, when 2 pizzas were sold for 10,000 BTC in a transaction that would’ve been worth over $20 million when bitcoin was close to its all-time high.
Nowadays, Bitcoin has reached a status unimaginable by many early adopters. Responsible for creating an entire industry, now worth more than $120 billion, Bitcoin paved the way for financial freedom and privacy. Many technologies we see today, and others we will see in the future, wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the cryptocurrency and its underlying blockchain technology.
1/ 10 years ago today, Satoshi Nakamoto released version 0.1 of the #Bitcoin software. About two days later, the brilliant cryptographer Hal Finney (RIP), had downloaded Satoshi's code and was also running it, increasing the node count of the Bitcoin network to 2. pic.twitter.com/IQ7YxTHmh8
— Vijay Boyapati (@real_vijay) January 8, 2019
The cryptocurrency community has celebrated Hal Finney’s tweet on social media, making it one of the biggest topics of the week. While Finney’s node was the second one on the network, today there are over 10,000 nodes “running Bitcoin” and ensuring the flagship cryptocurrency is here to stay.
As CryptoGlobe covered there’s a lot to look forward to in 2019 in the cryptocurrency space. One of the things we can expect is seeing BTC continue being sound, censorship and tamper-resistant money.