Hal Finney, one of the great minds in cryptography and a noted proponent of virtual currency Bitcoin, has passed away at the age of 58. While he has lost the battle against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), his body has reportedly been cryogenically frozen for the possibility of being revived and visiting the future.
If you haven’t been keeping up with digital currencies, Bitcoin is a decentralized virtual currency first introduced in 2009 and created by an unidentified person (or group of persons) under the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. You can pretty much use it to buy products and pay for services, assuming the merchants/institutions involved are willing to accept bitcoin units as payments. Think something like GCash.
The bitcoin had a rocky start, with only a few (including Finney) bravely embracing the currency. But the value of one bitcoin unit, however, skyrocketed in recent times. Today’s exchange puts 1 bitcoin as equivalent to around $495, and many early adopters have become immensely rich due to this. Unfortunately, Hal Finney had to give up much of his bitcoins (before it spiked in value) to treat his ailment.
In the hopes of seeing what the future holds, Finney underwent cryonic procedures right after his legal death to preserve his body. There is still no known technique that succeeds in reversing cryopreservation, although the technology in the future may highly improve and make the reverse process possible.
You can read more of Hal Finney’s story at Wired.com (source link below). You can also learn more about ALS (the awareness of such disease being promoted by the Ice Bucket Challenge you’ve probably been reading in the news and on Facebook) at ALSA.org.