Human Rights Foundation Honors Hal Finney with Eponymous Award

Reading Time: 2 minutes
  • The Human Rights Foundation has announced the creation of the Finney Freedom Prize, honoring those who have made significant contributions to Bitcoin
  • Finney, recognized for his pivotal role in Bitcoin’s early development, will posthumously receive the inaugural award
  • The foundation has reserved 33 from its treasury to support future iterations of the award.

The Human Rights Foundation has revealed the establishment of the Finney Freedom Prize, named after the late computer scientist and privacy advocate Hal Finney. Finney, known for his pivotal role in the early development of Bitcoin, will be the inaugural recipient of this award, which aims to recognize individuals who have made substantial contributions to the advancement of Bitcoin. The foundation has earmarked 33 from its treasury to sustain the awards in the years to come.

Finney Would be “Thrilled” About Bitcoin Today

Finney was one of the few who saw the Bitcoin whitepaper in 2008 and realized its potential. Bitcoin utilized his reusable proof-of-work consensus algorithm, and Finney helped Satoshi Nakamoto develop the protocol, being instrumental in its state leading up to its launch in 2009. He is widely tipped as being Satoshi himself, but this is unlikely for a number of reasons, not least because he would have had to have faked the correspondence between them.

Fran Finney, Hal’s widow, will accept the award on his behalf, expressing her gratitude and emphasizing Hal’s enduring commitment to the cause of digital freedom, remarking in a heartfelt acceptance speech that Finney would have been “thrilled to see how this Bitcoin ecosystem has grown.”

The Human Rights Foundation has allocated 1 as the monetary prize for the award, which Fran Finney intends to donate to a charitable cause. Additionally, the foundation has earmarked a substantial sum of 32 bitcoins to fund the awards for the next few years.

Alex Gladstein, Chief Strategy Officer of the HRF, lauded Finney’s relentless dedication to coding and his significant impact on human freedom, telling CoinDesk:

No one even comes close to his contributions. He literally contributed to human freedom until his muscles didn’t cooperate anymore.

Future Plans to Honor More Influential Bitcoiners

Looking ahead, the HRF plans to continue honoring individuals who have shaped the Bitcoin landscape. The foundation will name a new laureate on “Running Bitcoin Day,” commemorating the historic occasion when Hal Finney became the first person, besides Satoshi Nakamoto, to download the Bitcoin software. Subsequent awards will coincide with Bitcoin halvings, occurring approximately every four years.

The selection process for recipients involves a “Genesis Committee” comprising seven distinguished figures from the Bitcoin community. This committee, led by prominent personalities such as Aaron van Wirdum and Farida Nabourema, will oversee the nomination process until 2028.

Gladstein emphasized that the Finney Freedom Prize aims not only to recognize Finney’s contributions to Bitcoin but also to champion digital privacy and freedom more broadly. “It is something that is very important to us,” he affirmed, highlighting the prize’s enduring significance in the ongoing quest for technological empowerment and human rights.