Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Hal Finney: Bitcoin and me (2013) (bitcointalk.org)
169 points by aburan28 on Aug 28, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 17 comments

Hal Finney's re-usable proof of work (RPOW) system preceded Bitcoin by many years and IMHO satisfied the technical requirements of being a viable digital currency, but failed on one of the "social" requirements: namely, RPOW needed -- but never got -- a way to persuade millions of ordinary people to take it seriously.

The way Bitcoin met that social requirement was to give early adopters a large financial incentive to promote Bitcoin. The hype around Bitcoin, in other words, in addition to setting off many bullshit detectors here on HN, greatly increased awareness of Bitcoin. And maybe that is the thing that will make Bitcoin more than just bullshit.

Since Hal's system provided no particular financial incentive to its early adopters, the RPOW server Hal designed and implemented sat on the internet for many years, waiting for a rising tide of transactions that never came.

Nice try, Mr Hal Finney, esteemed hacker.

> Currently I'm working on something Mike Hearn suggested, using the security features of modern processors, designed to support "Trusted Computing", to harden Bitcoin wallets. It's almost ready to release. I just have to do the documentation.

Did this ever get released?

I'm not sure if it was released elsewhere, but that was posted on 2013-03-19, which was also the same day of his last activity on GitHub.


Is this maybe the modern version of Fermat’s Last Theorem?

I have written a truly marvellous program to do this, but I have not yet had time to finish the documentation.

R.I.P. Hal

I think he would prefer something like "until we meet again, Hal."

Rest In Pause.

Insert appropriate mention of cold storage here.

What happened to the other post on Hal, that was at the top of the page with nearly 200 votes? Did people actually flag that off the site?

I found this, I don't know of it's what was posted earlier:


Yes, that's it, but I'm more concerned with what happened to what was basically an eloquent tribute to Hal that was upvoted by 200 people, and included comments by several people who knew Hal.

It looks like it got severely penalized and is now somewhere around page 7.


Oh, one thread degenerated into a ridiculous cryogenics debate. That's sad, I wish people on both sides of that debate had chosen to show Hal the same respect that other software pioneers were given when they passed away and were featured on HN.

Especially considering how much he and other early cypherpunks pioneered privacy-enhancing software that so many of us have benefited from (PGP and Bitcoin, to name two).

We buried it because it turned into a flamewar about cryogenics instead of being about Hal Finney, and there was another post about Hal (this one) on the front page at the time.

Is it me or is it kinda strange/sad to see this post followed immediately by a bunch of goofy avatars, advertising, silly forum rank titles, etc.

Despite the idiosyncrasies of the community, at least bitcointalk members were there sharing and praising his work until the last days... It is not sad nor strange, it is actually a nice thing...

The fact that he was actually quite emotional and thankful for these posts is the only thing that matters here.

[0] https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=155054.msg1649089#ms...

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact