Ice Bucket Challenge for Hal Finney and ALS

Hal Finney, the first person to receive a Bitcoin transaction, died on August 28 2014 at the age of 58. He had been battling ALS for some time and decided to have his body cryopreserved, in the hope that he can be revived in the future.

Finney was a legend in the cryptography community, having been instrumental in the development of PGP, TOR and then working on Bitcoin’s open source code as one of its first developers.

Finney was a part of the cryptography mailing list where Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper was first published for peer review in 2008. He was one of the first, if not the first, to recognise the economic viability of the Bitcoin system.

Intrigued by the proposal, Finney initiated contact with Satoshi Nakamoto and began working on the code and performing test transaction with its creator. Finney mined a lot of the coins in the early days, though he was forced to seek most of them for US dollars before the price spiked, in order to pay for his medical treatments.


As one of the original cypherpunks; technology communities and especially the Bitcoin community owe a lot to Hal Finney. In honour of Hal Finney’s legacy a reddit user has proposed an “ice bucket challenge” to raise awareness of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The hastag #bitcoinALSicebucketchallenge has been proposed and leaders in the Bitcoin space are encouraged to participate.

Under the challenge participants are filmed as a bucket of ice cold water is poured on their heads and then nominate others to do the same. Typically, nominated participants have 24 hours to comply or forfeit by way of a charitable financial donation.

The idea gained notoriety on social media this July and August, raising awareness of ALS.

On behalf of everyone on the iceCUBED team I would like to express my sincere respect of and admiration for Hal Finney and his contributions to technology, cryptography, Bitcoin and, by extension, liberty.

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