Hal Finney 1993 Email Foresaw NFTs

Reading Time: 2 minutes
  • An email from Hal Finney has surfaced in which he predicted “cryptographic trading cards”
  • The email, written like a cheesy advert, unintentionally predicts the rise of NFTs
  • Finney worked with Satoshi Nakamoto to help launch Bitcoin

A 1993 email from early Bitcoin developer Hal Finney foresaw the rise of NFTs some 25 years before they were developed. The email to the famed cypherpunks mailing list was tweeted out by Alex Krüger, with Finney discussing the concept of “cryptographic trading cards”, which he cites somewhat tongue in cheek as “a perfect conversation piece” that “your friends and family will love”. While the email may have been in jest, the concept behind his idea is clearly what has inspired the NFT movement.

Finney Joke Predicts the Future

Finney’s prescient email, which ends up taking the form of a cheesy advert, states that the buying and selling of digital coins could mushroom into the trading of cryptographic trading cards which he calls “fascinating examples of the cryptographic arts.” Finney jokes that they will come to mirror standard physical cards:

Your friends will undoubtedly love these cryptographic trading cards just as much. They’ll be eager to trade for them. Collect a whole set!

This is already happening, as we have seen with NFTs associated with soccer clubs like Juventus and Paris St-Germain.

Rarity Concept Nailed

Finney even goes as far as describing the rarity concept:

They come in all kinds of varieties, from the common 1’s, to the rarer 50’s, all the way up to the seldom-seen 1000’s. Hours of fun can be had for all.

Unwittingly, Finney here has described many NFT launches from celebrities, including a recent one from Eminem which followed the exact same principle. Despite its jokey outlook, Finney has posthumously proved, once again, that, as with his recognition that Bitcoin had a chance to succeed where other attempts at digital cash had failed, he was without doubts a visionary.