Identical Nigerian twins who grew up in South London became multi-millionaires by designing one of the world’s leading cryptocurrencies in their mother’s kitchen.
Steve studied advanced business in the sixth form in Lewisham, while Sam took a course in computer programming.
Steve and Sam Williams, 39, whose parents emigrated from Nigeria in the early Seventies, spent four years working on the software behind their Populous PPT currency in the family home in Brockley.
It 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.
The cryptocurrency, Populous is now rated as the 51st most valuable cryptocurrency in the world out of about 2,000, with a market value of about £100 million.
They own 16 million Populous “tokens” worth a total of $55.3 million (£42.3 million) at today’s price of 3.46 cents per token. At the peak of the Bitcoin frenzy at the start of the year, their holding was valued at close to £1 billion.
The success means that Sam now lives in a Knightsbridge apartment and Steve, who lives in Essex with his wife and two young children, sends his six-year-old to private school. Their offices are in Mayfair and they have become friends with stars, such as rapper 50 Cent and boxer Floyd Mayweather.
Steve said: “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.”