Former Airbnb Blockchain Leader Focuses on Mainstreaming Crypto

Sida Wang creator of Airbnb’s Blockchain community, Blockbnb

I recently had the opportunity to interview the founder of blockchain-based Partiko, Sida Wang, who you might be surprised to find out worked for Airbnb as a software engineer. Not only that, but Sida was also the founder of Airbnb’s blockchain community, Blockbnb.

Sida Wang worked as a software engineer for Airbnb in San Francisco until fairly recently, when he decided to go full force with his blockchain-based startup, Partiko.

I was curious what he learned while working for Airbnb:

Stellabelle: What was the first program you built and how old were you?

Sida: I was 15 years old when I made my first computer program with a language called GV Basics, and it was a snake game. The game got popular among my classmates, which motivated me to build more games during high school. After joining college, I started learning web and Android programming and built an online community for student clubs.

Stellabelle: How did you end up joining Airbnb?

Sida: After graduating from Rice, I received offers from Linkedin, Facebook, Google and Airbnb. I didn’t like Facebook’s business model of selling user data, so it was out for me. Also, Facebook, Google and LinkedIn were so big, and I felt there would be less room for me to grow. On the other hand, Airbnb was a fast growing startup that’s disrupting the hotel business, and I like their commission-based business model. The design of their product was appealing, which resonated with me as a product person. I felt lucky that I chose Airbnb, which later became the starting point for my crypto journey.

Stellabelle: I just learned that you built Airbnb’s blockchain community, Blockbnb, and had CEO of Coinbase, Brian Armstrong, as a speaker at one of your events. How did you get Brian Armstrong to speak at your event?

Sida: Blockbnb started as a very small Slack channel, where a bunch of crypto friends at Airbnb and I were talking everything about crypto. It then grew into tech talks, meetups and guest speaker sessions, where I was able to share my knowledge and passion with more people at Airbnb.

Brian was actually not the first guest speaker we had at Blockbnb, and I invited Stefan Thomas from Ripple, Linda Xie from Scalar Capital and Alessandro Voto from Consensys before him. I met Brian in person for the first time at a meetup in San Francisco, and was deeply impressed by how his experience working at Airbnb had a huge impact on him. I figured he would be the perfect person to talk crypto to Airbnb folks and I emailed him after the meetup asking if he would come, and he said yes.

Stellabelle: What was the most important thing you learned while working at Airbnb?

Sida: At Airbnb I learned how to build and grow a product. I learned how to reduce friction for mainstream adoption of Airbnb. I was responsible for the Instant Book functionality at Airbnb, and we saw great success with its adoption by hosts.

Stellabelle: How and why did you make the leap from Airbnb to working full-time on your blockchain-based startup Partiko?

Sida: As you may know, I built the Partiko mobile app as a side project before I left Airbnb. I saw such good feedback from the users and it was doing quite well with 40% retention rate and 10% week-over-week growth that it was very encouraging. Making Partiko was an extension of my mission to help crypto go mainstream.

Sida: Once you realize you can send value just as easily as sending an email, you see how it’s going to change everything. Once you get a taste of crypto’s potential, you can never go back. Ever since learning about Bitcoin in 2016, I knew I had to play a role in helping with the mass adoption of crypto and I have both the skills and the track record for this exact role. There are still lots of hurdles but with the right focus on user experience, I believe it can be done.

Check out Sida Wang’s startup Partiko:

Former Airbnb Blockchain Leader Focuses on Mainstreaming Crypto was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Publication date: 
12/03/2018 - 19:05

The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not reflect the views of Bitcoin Insider. Every investment and trading move involves risk - this is especially true for cryptocurrencies given their volatility. We strongly advise our readers to conduct their own research when making a decision.