Serge Belamant and Early Cryptocurrency Technology

Serge Belamant was born in France where he spent most of his formative years. He was 14-years-old his family moved to South Africa. After graduating from high school in 1972, he attended Witwatersrand University where he studied engineering during his first years. During his second year, he changed to a concentration in computer science and applied mathematics. For his third year, he transferred to UNISA where he studied information system. He never graduated but instead joined the staff of Matrix, an engineering firm. While at Matrix, Serge was assigned by CSIR to head the computer division of the Witwatersrand road planning project.

At this time he became involved with Control Data when he temporarily assisted him with several projects for a number of computer companies. After these projects were finalized, they offered Belamant a permanent position on Cybernet, their application support team. It was not long before he was made the head analyst of ESKOM, weather bureau, JO, CSIR, and Palindaba. In the early 80s he created the first scientifically driven financial system using only Control Data equipment. Shortly afterward Serge was awarded full membership in the RSA upon the successful development of a 10-step program to analyze risk and test business sustainability.

He was then hired by SASWITCH to help them develop their ATM technology. This was a very good decision, resulting in them being the second largest ATM company in the world by the end of the decade. His biggest contribution to the SASWITCH ATM technology came in 1989 when he developed what is recognized as the first carnation of cryptocurrency technology. Oddly, however, it was not used by SASWITCH. So Serge Belamant quit, started his own company called Net1, which manufactured and distributed his patented technology. For its first few years of existence, it did not do well and got very few bank customers. However, its fortune started going up in 1995 after Visa partnered with it develop a new Visa line known as Chip Offline Pre-Authorized Card.

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