₿trust Acquires Qala to Drive Bitcoin Development in Africa

Editorial Desk
By Editorial Desk 4 Min Read

Non-profit organization ₿trust has acquired Qala, the leading African organization that trains the next generation of African Bitcoin and Lightning engineers.

The deal, finalized on September 1, 2023, will result in Qala rebranding as the ₿trust Builders Programme. This move aims to strengthen ₿Trust’s mission of promoting the development and education of Bitcoin open-source engineers from the Global South.

Established in 2021 with initial funding from Jack Dorsey and Jay-Z, ₿trust focuses on nurturing developer talent and supporting the free and open-source Bitcoin ecosystem.

The organization identifies, educates, and compensates Bitcoin open-source engineers from the Global South. Currently led by a board of directors, including Abubakar Nur Khalil, Carla Kirk-Cohen, Obi Nwosu, and Ojoma Ochai, ₿trust has made significant strides.

They have launched the Africa Open Source Cohort, which provides support to Vladimir Fomene, a pioneer member working on the Bitcoin Development Kit. Additionally, they proudly sponsor the Africa Bitcoin Conference, an annual gathering for Bitcoin stakeholders from across Africa and beyond.

Qala, founded in 2021, has been instrumental in sourcing, training, and connecting African software developers with prominent Bitcoin companies worldwide.

By equipping its engineers with highly sought-after skills in the global Bitcoin talent market, Qala has built Africa’s largest online community of Bitcoin developers, spanning over 42 countries, including Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda.

With an impressive fellowship placement rate, Qala’s alumni have secured positions at esteemed companies such as Galoy, SphinxChat, and Bitnob, as well as receiving open-source grants from ₿trust and Superlunar.

Bernard Parah, Co-Founder & Director of Qala, expressed his excitement about the acquisition, stating that it significantly accelerates their mission of building a critical mass of African engineers with a deep understanding of Bitcoin’s transformative potential for the continent.

Parah believes that this transition will not only benefit the Bitcoin ecosystem but also serve as a crucial foundation for leveraging Bitcoin as a gateway to financial freedom in Africa and the Global South.

As part of the deal, Femi Longe, CEO of Qala, and Stephanie Titcombe, Programmes Manager at Qala, will join ₿trust as Programme Leads at ₿trust Builders.

To kickstart the next phase of growth, ₿trust Builders will shift its focus to open-source training and has issued a call for senior African software developers seeking to transition into Bitcoin and Lightning development.

Ojoma Ochai, Board Member at ₿trust, expressed pride in welcoming Femi and his team to ₿trust, highlighting Qala’s significant progress in driving open-source development in the Global South through education.

Ochai emphasized ₿trust’s commitment to building on Qala’s work in Africa and empowering developers throughout the Global South by providing the support needed to create innovative open-source solutions using Bitcoin.

In September 2023, ₿trust Builders will launch the ‘Build for Africa’ Hackathon, aimed at encouraging makers to develop solutions that address African challenges and increase Bitcoin adoption on the continent.

This hackathon will serve as a platform for open innovation and collaborative problem-solving, where makers will converge to generate novel ideas and receive mentorship in design, development, and lightning integration.

The hackathon will be a key pre-event for the Africa Bitcoin Conference, scheduled for December 1-3 in Accra, Ghana, which ₿trust proudly supports for the second consecutive year.

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