₿trust, a non-profit originally funded by Jay-Z and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, has today announced its acquisition of Qala, an African Bitcoin developer training company.
The acquisition will see Qala rebrand to ₿trust Builders Programme. The new programme will seek to drive the development and education of Bitcoin open-source engineers from across the Global South.
Launched in 2021, ₿trust focuses on fostering developer talent in addition to supporting a free and open-source Bitcoin ecosystem. The non-profit currently headed by a board of directors has launched the Africa Open Source Cohort in addition to sponsoring the annual Africa Bitcoin Conference for Bitcoin stakeholders from Africa and beyond.
Qala (rebranded to ₿trust Builders), founded in 2021, sources, trains and matches African software developers with top Bitcoin companies from across the world. The program has built a large online community of Bitcoin developers spanning over 42 countries including Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria.
Following the finalization of the deal on 1st September 2023, Femi Longe, CEO of Qala, and Stephanie Titcombe, Programmes Manager at Qala, will officially join ₿trust as Programme Leads at ₿trust Builders.
The ₿trust Builders’ programme will pivot to focus on open-source training and has launched a call for its next cohort of senior African software developers seeking to transition into building for Bitcoin and Lightning.
Build for Africa hackathon
The ₿trust Builders Programme will launch the “Build for Africa” Hackathon aimed at increasing Bitcoin adoption in Africa as it seeks to encourage developers to build solutions that solve African challenges. Developers will get to accelerate their Bitcoin projects through mentorship in design, development and lightning integration.
The hackathon set to run in September 2023 will serve as a key pre-event for the Africa Bitcoin Conference held in Accra, Ghana from the 1st to the 3rd of December, 2023.
Speaking on the acquisition, Bernard Parah, Co-Founder & Director of Qala, says “When we launched our programme in 2021, our goal was clear – to build a critical mass of African engineers with a deep understanding of Bitcoin’s capabilities to transform the continent. Today’s announcement significantly accelerates this mission, strengthening our capacity to not only expand our existing community, but effectively resource them to play a major role in influencing Bitcoin’s open-source development as a vital solution to Africa’s unique socio-economic challenges.”
“With this in mind, we strongly believe our new transition should not only be viewed as a massive boost for the Bitcoin ecosystem, but a crucial foundation in leveraging Bitcoin as the gateway and catalyst to financial freedom in Africa and the Global South.”
Ojoma Ochai, a Board Member at ₿trust, outlines “We’re incredibly proud to welcome Femi and his excellent team to ₿trust. With Qala’s extensive outreach and world-class programmes, the organisation has made rapid progress in driving open-source development in the Global South through the advancement of education within the region, which is heavily aligned with our core mission at ₿trust.”
“As we move forward, we’re fully focussed on not only building on Qala’s impressive work in Africa, but empowering more developers throughout the Global South with the support they need to build truly innovative open source solutions through the power of Bitcoin.”