Steve and Sam Williams, identical twins from south London, have become multi-millionaires by cooking up a cryptocurrency in their mother’s kitchen.
They spent four years working on the software behind their Populous PPT currency at the family home in Brockley. This helps small and medium-sized businesses with cash flow. Within the first five days of launching in June last year, demand was so strong that the initial batch of tokens was worth more than £8 million.
Populous is now rated as the 51st most valuable cryptocurrency in the world out of about 2,000, with a market value of approximately £100 million. The brothers own 16 million Populous “tokens” worth a total of £42.3 million at today’s price of 3.46 cents per token. At the peak of the Bitcoin frenzy, their holding was valued at close to £1 billion.
Rags to riches
The brothers told the Evening Standard that they were “always in trouble” as schoolboys. “It was very tough in terms of gang violence. You had no choice: you either got bullied or you pretended to be part of one of the gangs to safeguard yourself.”
In 2008 Steve was charged and convicted of obtaining money transfers by deception and served 18 months of a three-and-a-half-year jail term. He said the experience “made me learn a lot about what it means to be a victim of crime and how it impacts on them. It filled in some elements that were missing in me and opened my eyes to what could happen to me.”
Sam has since launched two other crypto coins called Zloadr and DocTailor, aimed at legal professionals. Steve told the Evening Standard: “We have gone through a lot together as brothers and it is great that all our hard work has paid off.”
Not everyone is as impressed by the brothers’ story as the Evening Standard, however. The comments section includes such zingers as ‘If their net worth is based on their holdings of the 51st most valuable cryptocurrency, they might be worth nothing tomorrow’ and “A Google search of the company address in Berkeley Sq shows 384 companies based there. One of those nice addresses for the letterhead’.