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Resurfaced Video From 1998 Shows Alleged Bitcoin Creator Hal Finney Discussing Cryptographic Technology

Ruholamin Haqshanas
Last updated: | 2 min read
Image Source: Bitcoin Magazine

A recently resurfaced video from 1998 has stirred up speculations regarding the alleged involvement of Hal Finney, an American software developer and early Bitcoin pioneer, in the creation of the flagship cryptocurrency. 

The footage captures Finney discussing zero-knowledge proofs during the 18th annual International Cryptology Conference at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

In the video, Finney explains his desire to prove knowledge of a message that hashes to a specific value without revealing any details about the message itself. 

This concept, known as a zero-knowledge proof, was demonstrated by Finney using a program he had developed. 

“I want to prove to you that I know a message that hashes to a given hash value using the SHA-1 hash. I don’t want to reveal anything about the message to you. It’s a zero-knowledge proof.”

He credits Ronald Cramer and Ivan Damgard as the inventors of the zero-knowledge proof system and praises its efficiency and flexibility.

Zero-knowledge proofs are protocols that enhance the security and scalability of blockchain networks. 

They play a significant role in rollups, a type of scaling solution that combines multiple transactions into a single transaction presented to the blockchain. 

There are two main types of rollups: Optimistic and Zero Knowledge. 

While Optimistic rollups assume the validity of all rolled transactions, allowing for subsequent validation and correction, Zero Knowledge rollups rely on zero-knowledge proof cryptography. 

This cryptographic technique enables the mathematical verification of specific information without disclosing other sensitive details.

Finney Speculated to Be Satoshi 

Finney, born in California in 1956 and tragically passing away in 2014, was an influential figure in the early days of Bitcoin. 

He gained attention in the crypto community when he claimed on Twitter in 2009 that he was “running Bitcoin,” potentially making him the second person to use the software after Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. 

The following day, Finney received the first-ever Bitcoin transaction from Nakomoto, further fueling speculation about his involvement in the creation of the cryptocurrency. 

Some members of the Bitcoin community believe that Finney may have been Satoshi Nakamoto himself or part of the group of developers behind the pseudonym.

Interestingly, Finney’s Twitter account resurfaced in late 2022 after a decade of inactivity. 

His widow, Fran Finney, took over the account to prevent it from being purged by Elon Musk. 

Notably, Finney’s contributions to the world of cryptocurrency extend beyond Bitcoin.

He also mentioned the concept of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) two decades before they gained widespread popularity, which further solidifies his reputation as a visionary in the field of digital assets.

While some view Finney as Satoshi, there are no concrete evidence to support those claims. 

Furthermore, Craig Wright, an Australian computer scientist, has long asserted that he is the pseudonymous Bitcoin creator. 

However, a recent investigation has provided evidence to suggest that Nakamoto may actually be a collective entity.  

One piece of evidence is the usage of both “we” and “I” in the Bitcoin white paper, indicating the possibility of a team operating under a singular pseudonym.