Hal Finney, one of the pioneers of Bitcoin, lost his 5-year battle with ALS on August 28th, 2014. He is now in cryopreservation awaiting the advent of new technologies that might cure him.
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder characterised by muscle spasticity and rapidly progressive weakness due to muscle wasting. This results in difficulty speaking, swallowing, and breathing. The disease usually starts around the age of 60, and the average survival from onset to death is three to four years.
In his last letter to the Bitcoin community, he said that he was essentially paralyzed, however, still optimistic and thankful for the simple pleasures technology enabled him to have. Thanks to a commercial eyetracker system, he continued to be able to operate a computer and even write code.
The promoters of TeamHal, the Hal Finney Bitcoin Fund for ALS Research, established in memory of Hal shortly after his death, have raised a over 12.5 bitcoins to date, and they hope to reach 25 bitcoins by Giving Tuesday, which is today. The donations will support ALS research. You can become part of TeamHal and donate here.
I never met Hal in person, but I met him virtually on futurist Internet hangouts, and we often corresponded. I think the best way to honor his memory is to contribute to the fund for ALS research established in his name, to help others avoid his untimely death.
Hal’s wife Fran Finney has written a moving guest post on the Bitcoin Foundation site. She says:
“With Hal now cryonically preserved, we are turning our attention to understand what causes ALS, how to stop its relentless progression, and also how to reverse the severe damage it incurs. Hal left this world with a final wish to be brought back if and when his ALS could be repaired. He was was frustrated at the end by his inability to communicate as he always intended, and would once again like to be, a productive contributing member of the crypto/cypherpunk/bitcoin communities.”
Did you donate to the Hal Finney Bitcoin Fund for ALS Research? Comment below!
Images from Fran Finney and Shutterstock.
Last modified: December 2, 2014 13:43 UTC