Happy Friday, Blockfolians
On this day 6 years ago, our community lost one of its post foundational pioneers.
Hal Finney was one of the original cypherpunks. Throughout the 1990s, he worked on a variety of privacy focused coding projects, and took a particular interest in digital forms of cash. This led to engagement with early experiments such as Adam Back’s Hashcash and Nick Szabo’s Bit Gold. In 2004, he proposed his own digital currency system: Reusable Proofs of Work.
And when October 2008 rolled around and a new digital cash proposal came through the Cryptography mailing list, Finney was one of the few people to take it seriously. Indeed, he recognized very early that the the capped supply and predictable issuance could be a game changer. On January 11, 2009, he responded to the mailing list:
One immediate problem with any new currency is how to value it. Even ignoring the practical problem that virtually no one will accept it at first, there is still a difficulty in coming up with a reasonable argument in favor of a particular non-zero value for the coins. As an amusing thought experiment, imagine that Bitcoin is successful and becomes the dominant payment system in use throughout the world. Then the total value of the currency should be equal to the total value of all the wealth in the world. Current estimates of total worldwide household wealth that I have found range from $100 trillion to $300 trillion. With 20 million coins, that gives each coin a value of about $10 million. So the possibility of generating coins today with a few cents of compute time may be quite a good bet, with a payoff of something like 100 million to 1! Even if the odds of Bitcoin succeeding to this degree are slim, are they really 100 million to one against? Something to think about..
Sadly, that same year Finney was diagnosed with ALS, the disease that would ultimately end his life in 2014.
To read more about this absolute giant of a person, read Aaron van Wirdum’s excellent piece
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Highly Relevant Reading
The Winklevoss bros make an argument for $500k bitcoin
Polkadot-based Acala DeFi project raises $7m
The local government in Inner Mongolia is going after the bitcoin mining industry
An energy giant is looking to use crypto mining to reduce natural gas flaring
This is an absolutely fascinating story, and well worth the read
What do you think - is crypto too complicated?
A Really Big Number We Should Be Paying Attention To
That’s the number of USDT that Tether has moved to OMG Network from Ethereum
Apparently “sex sells” still applies!