Sharing economy startup Origin Protocol has tapped a PayPal co-founder and early YouTube employee as its latest hire.
Yu Pan, who is also a former Google employee and the co-founder of Kiwi Crate, an educational subscription kit service for kids, is the company’s newest research and development engineer, co-founder Josh Fraser told CoinDesk. His role will be to spearhead the research team as the startup continues to grow.
As previously reported by CoinDesk, Origin’s open source protocol facilitates the development of peer-to-peer decentralized marketplaces that eliminate what it describes as “rent-seeking middlemen” in other sharing economy services like Airbnb.
Fraser also suggested that the hire has broader significance for the blockchain industry:
“It’s a promising sign for the entire ecosystem that people with this level of experience and talent are starting to work on blockchain related projects.”
Origin co-founder Matthew Liu, another early YouTube employee, approached Pan about the position, which will also be his first blockchain endeavor.
Despite his recent entry into the space, Pan told CoinDesk that his decision to join Origin fits into his longstanding career interests.
“During my career I’ve been oscillating between financial and media startups (with a dabble in kids creativity in between),” he said via email, adding that “for financial startups I’ve always looked for something that can create a seismic shift in the way commerce is done – I believe Origin Protocol can be one of those.”
Origin recently received a similarly strong endorsement from investors, announcing the conclusion of a $28.5 million SAFT sale in April. Notable participants included Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian, former Y Combinator partner Garry Tan and venture capital firm Foundation Capital.
In December, the company also announced that it had sold $3 million worth of its tokens to venture fund Pantera Capital.