Today, on the day of the fourth Bitcoin halving, the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) announced the Finney Freedom Prize, commemorating the work of Hal Finney, one of the earliest public champions of Bitcoin.

The prize will be awarded to the individual or institution that does the most for Bitcoin and human rights in each halving era, and the recipient will receive a monetary award of 1 BTC.

“We wanted to help inspire people to use Bitcoin to advance human rights — to help more people achieve economic liberation around the world — and we thought that creating a prize that could be persistent throughout the early lifecycle of Bitcoin would be one way to do it,” Alex Gladstein, Chief Strategy Officer of the Human Rights Foundation, told Bitcoin Magazine.

“The halving is a very important day. It’s something that anyone can celebrate, regardless of what country or situation they’re in or who they are, and it’s a great time to announce a Bitcoin-related prize,” he added.

The prize winner, or Laureate, for the 2009-2012 era is Hal Finney himself, and his 1 BTC prize will go to “causes that matter to Hal’s family,” according to Gladstein.

The HRF will work with the Finney family to appoint a seven-person “Genesis Committee” that will select Laureates for the 2012-2016, 2016-2020 and 2020-2024 eras. Starting with the 2024-2028 era, a new committee will be composed to select the winner of the award.

A maximum of two Laureates can be selected for each era. In the event of two Laureates being chosen, each Laureate will receive 50 million satoshis (half of a bitcoin).

To be considered for the prize, individuals or institutions must excel in the following areas:

  • Educating large numbers of people about Bitcoin
  • Demonstrating how people can exercise financial freedom by being their own bank using Bitcoin
  • Making notable contributions to Bitcoin’s codebase
  • Helping to make Bitcoin more accessible to the average person, especially those living under authoritarian regimes
  • Following in Hal’s footsteps of advocating for digital privacy

A total of 33 Finney Freedom Prizes will be awarded, one for each Bitcoin halving era. The prize will be awarded through the 2130s, when the last Bitcoin block is expected to be mined. The treasury for the award is publicly verifiable here.

So, can we think of the Finney Freedom Prize as the Nobel Prize of Bitcoin?

“In as much as the Nobel Peace Prize or the Nobel Prize in Economics inspires people, yes,” Gladstein told Bitcoin Magazine. “We want people to be inspired to be like Hal — to think about more than themselves and about expanding this tool so that it can be accessible to more people.”


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