₿trust is scaling up its programme in Africa with the latest acquisition of African Bitcoin training organisation – Qala. Following this, Qala will rebrand itself as the ₿trust Builders Programme.
The transaction for the acquisition was completed on 1 September 2023. However, the amount of the deal has not been disclosed yet.
The Lagos, Nigeria-based organisation is known for its efforts in training African Bitcoin and Lightning engineers. It engages itself in sourcing, training and matching African software developers with global Bitcoin firms, helping them obtain the most relevant skills in the global Bitcoin ecosystem.
Qala boasts an online community of Bitcoin developers spanning over 42 countries including Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda. The program has sent its impressive set of alumni to important roles at the firms like the Bitcoin-native banking platform Galoy in the Cloud Galoy, the Lightning Network-based messenger SphinxChat, and the peer-to-peer platform Bitnob.
The latest acquisition and rebranding is aimed at driving Qala’s success on its mission to drive the development and education of Bitcoin open-source engineers from across the Global South. In it new face, ₿trust Builders would work as a comprehensive engineering programme designed to train the next generation of Bitcoin and Lightning developers. S
peaking on the acquisition, co-founder and director of Qala, Bernard Parah, said: “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.”
Qala CEO Femi Longe and programme manager Stephanie Titcombe will now officially join ₿trust as programme leads at ₿trust Builders, as per the acquisition terms. Commenting on this, ₿trust board member Ojoma Ochai said: “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.”
The next step for ₿trust Builders’ programme is 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.
September will also see the company launching ‘Build for Africa’ Hackathon. The contest is aimed at encouraging makers to build solutions that solve African-specific challenges and increase Bitcoin adoption in the country through mentorship in design, development, and lightning integration. This hackathon would act as a pre-event for the upcoming Africa Bitcoin Conference on 1-3 December in Accra, Ghana. ₿trust will be supporting the conference for second year running.
The non-profit organisation ₿trust was founded in 2021 with the aim to decentralise the development of Bitcoin software. It focuses on fostering developer talent and supporting the free and open-source Bitcoin ecosystem by locating, educating, and remunerating Bitcoin open-source engineers from the global south.
It is headed up by a board of directors and was initially funded by a generous donation of 500 $BTC ($23.7m at the time of the announcement) from X (formerly Twitter) co-founder Jack Dorsey and American rapper Jay-Z.