[Bitcoin History #3] Is Hal Finney the True Name of Satoshi Nakamoto?

By Lorenzo Giovannini | Tech update | 14 Nov 2020

Hal Finney, the receiver of the first transaction of Bitcoin in history (we talked about it in this post), is one of the most known person who could be Satoshi Nakamoto.




Graduated at Caltech, he worked in gaming field for a videogame company and later went to work for the PGP Corporation until retirement in 2011. A noted cryptographic activist, in the early 1990s Finney ran two anonymous remailers. He also broke the export-grade encryption Netscape, the best defenced browser at the time. 




In 2004, Finney created the first reusable proof of work system before Bitcoin, an important antecedent who could have been a place to perfection his idea before the big deal. In January 2009, Finney was the Bitcoin network's first transaction recipient.


He stated that: 

It seemed so obvious to me: "Here we are faced with the problems of loss of privacy, creeping computerization, massive databases, more centralization - and [David] Chaum offers a completely different direction to go in, one which puts power into the hands of individuals rather than governments and corporations. The computer can be used as a tool to liberate and protect people, rather than to control them."




Finney lived in the same town for 10 years that Dorian Nakamoto lived (Temple City, California), adding to speculation that he may have been Bitcoin's creator. Finney denied that he was Satoshi Nakamoto.


In March 2013, Finney posted on a Bitcoin forum BitcoinTalk that he was essentially paralyzed. He continued to program until his death; he was working on experimental software called bcflick, which uses Trusted Computing to strengthen Bitcoin wallets.


During the last year of his life, the Finneys received anonymous calls demanding an extortion fee of 1,000 bitcoin. They became victims of swatting – a hoax "where the perpetrator calls up emergency dispatch using a spoofed telephone number and pretends to have committed a heinous crime in the hopes of provoking an armed police response to the victim's home".


Extortionists have demanded fees of more bitcoins than Finney had left after using most of them to cover medical expenses in 2013. He died in 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.



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