Embedded on every single node of the Bitcoin network is an obituary. Hacked into the transaction data, it’s a memorial to Len Sassaman, a man essentially immortalized in the blockchain itself. A fitting tribute in more ways than one.
Len was a true Cypherpunk— equal parts brillian t, irreverent, and idealistic. He devoted his life to defending personal freedoms through cryptography, working as a developer on PGP encryption and open-source privacy technology, as well as an academic cryptographer researching P2P networks under blockchain inventor David Chaum.
He was also a pillar of the hacker community: a friend and influence to so many of the important figures in the history of infosec and cryptocurrency.
By all accounts, Len was on track to be one of the most important cryptographers of his time. But on July 3rd, 2011, he tragically took his own life at 31, following a long battle with depression and functional neurological disorders.
His death coincided with the disappearance of the world’s most famous cypherpunk: Satoshi Nakamoto. Only 2 months before Len died, Satoshi sent their final communication: