Serge Belamant is often considered to be a great scientist of our time. Financial expert Alec Hogg once labeled him as the Steve Jobs and Bill Gates of Africa. This is high praise for a name that some in the financial and technology sectors may not immediately recognize. That said, they would certainly recognize some of the groundbreaking technologies and innovations he’s been instrumental in developing over the last several decades.
Belamant is the patent holder for blockchain technology, a foundational innovation that has absolutely transformed the financial and computing industries and given rise to entirely new ways of sharing funds, completing transactions, and securing valuable data across the internet. He is a person behind one of the most advanced financial innovations and applications that are used today. He is regarded as the person who first implemented the idea of blockchain technology, a powerful digital tool that has made secure transactions more possible than ever and given rise to an entirely new industry. It is the blockchain technologies that laid the foundation for the formation of cryptocurrencies with iconic names like Bitcoin and Litecoin. Without the patents and innovative work Belamant completed beginning in the 80s and reaching all the way up to today, none of these cryptocurrencies or the underlying structures that power them could have been possible.
But cryptocurrency isn’t the only technological breakthrough that he has been instrumental in producing and bringing to the market. Belamant was behind the creation of smart cards that had a microprocessor that could make what was known as an independent transaction ledger. This creation occurred all the way back in the 1980s, but it wasn’t until the late 2000s that others truly understood the massive potential of this technology to completely transform online and digital transactions. The technology he created is now being used by financial institutions to make secure transactions around the world.
But Belamant originally had a goal of his own— to allow people from countries around the world, many of whom couldn’t gain access to a bank account or debit cards, to complete transactions and exchange goods and services over the internet. These independent and secure transactions and the infrastructure he put in place to support them would eventually go on to form the foundation for cryptocurrencies and other blockchain technologies. For more information about Serge, view his Crunchbase profile
Blockchain is an electronic ledger that cannot be altered easily. Each transaction made contains a particular cryptographic timestamp as well as data. The initial idea of cryptocurrencies was made so that it could create transparency, security, and accuracy of financial transactions. Because the internet and digital world are constantly changing and updating, there was a need for a solution that was both a permanent record of a transaction but one that couldn’t be easily deleted, altered, or hacked. Serge Belamant created such a technology to work through some smart cards that he was developing. These cards could be used either online or offline, making them a versatile tool for a wide range of potential applications..
Serge Belamant was born in 1953 in the city of Tulle, France. At the age of 14 years, his father found a tiling job in South Africa and the whole family migrated to South Africa. One of the challenges he encountered during the transition was that he had to learn English, something that led to his working twice as hard as other students in order to keep up with his peers. It was after mastering English that he was admitted to Highlands North High School for Boys in Johannesburg. During his time in school, Belamant excelled not only in classwork but also in co-curricular activities. In high school, he was a respected house captain, and due to his excellence in academics, he was awarded the Victor Ludorum Award in 1971. Belamant was also brilliant in Chess. He even represented his school in various chess tournaments around the region. His love of chess remains to this day, as he is still an avid player.
Serge Belamant graduated high school and qualified to join a range of university opportunities. He joined Witwatersrand University to study engineering. In his second year in university, he switched to computer science and mathematics. In his third year, he transferred to the University of South Africa to study Information Systems.
From there, Belamant went on to build one of the most foundational and groundbreaking technologies in the history of finance and the internet.