Dec. 29, 2023

“I think it would be incredible if the bitcoin community was the community that made the difference with ALS…that was able to actually change things so that it doesn’t afflict people and end people’s lives in such a horrible way, the way it did for Hal.”
— Fran Finney

Fran Finney is the widow of the legendary Hal Finney, who received the first Bitcoin transaction. In this interview, we discuss her husband's impact, their life together, and his battle with ALS. We also talk about the importance of Bitcoin, the challenges Hal and her faced due to harassment, and the concept of cryopreservation. The conversation also touches on the significance of fundraising for ALS research and how the Bitcoin community can contribute to this cause.

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Hal Finney was not only the first person to receive a Bitcoin transaction (Satoshi sent him 10 Bitcoins in January 2009 as a test), he was also the first person after Satoshi to download and run Bitcoin software. Hal came across the Bitcoin whitepaper through a Cypherpunks mailing list. As a champion of personal privacy, he saw the potential for Bitcoin to provide for censorship-resistant transactions.

Driven by his concerns about government overreach in the digital age, Hal became a pioneer in the world of cryptography, gaining recognition for his part in the development of PGP. He was also part of a band of cypherpunks trying to develop a new form of money providing personal sovereignty. Hal co-authored the first paper detailing the concept of reusable cryptographic proofs of work, which would later be adapted in Bitcoin.

Hal famously walked away from Bitcoin for a full year. During that time he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Despite the debilitating nature of the disease, Finney continued to work tirelessly on Bitcoin's development until his passing on August 28, 2014. His untimely death left behind a legacy of innovation and a lasting impact on the foundation of the digital currency landscape.

Despite his personal struggles, Hal Finney's intellect and relentless pursuit of knowledge cemented his place as a legendary figure in the world of cryptography and Bitcoin. In this podcast, I talk to Fran Finney, who is tirelessly committed to honouring his memory by raising funds for ALS victims and advocating for increased understanding of the disease.

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This episode’s sponsors:
Iris Energy - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably
Bitcasino - The Future of Gaming is here
Ledger - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet
Wasabi Wallet - Privacy by default
Unchained - Secure your bitcoin with confidence
Orange Pill App - Stack friends who stack sats
Swan Bitcoin - Invest in Bitcoin with Swan


WBD754 - Show Notes


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This episode is from What Bitcoin Did with Peter McCormack whose proprietor has full ownership and responsibility on its contents and artworks. It was shared using Castamatic, a podcast app for iPhone and iPad.