Qala, African startup that specializes in training African Bitcoin and Lightning engineers, has been acquired by Btrust, a nonprofit organization founded by Jack Dorsey and Jay-Z. The Qala Program has now changed its name to ‘Btrust Builders Program’ as of Friday 8th September.
In this merger, both organizations will have the chance to collaborate and further their common objective of promoting bitcoin adoption in Africa. Although Btrust started with an initial funding of 500 BTC and has the resources, it lacks the infrastructure needed to develop a long-term pool of African Bitcoin talent. Grants are the main way that Btrust carries out its goal.
The deal, which was completed on 1st September 2023, will see Qala rebrand as the ₿trust Builders Programme, to strengthen ₿Trust’s mission to drive the development and education of Bitcoin open-source engineers from across the Global South.
When asked about Qala’s most significant challenge, CEO Femi Longe openly acknowledged that financing has been their primary obstacle. Qala was established as a social enterprise and does not generate revenue independently. Instead, it has been dependent on receiving grants from various organizations, such as the Human Rights Foundation and Coinbase Giving.
Additionally, the acquisition provided a chance to rebrand Qala as the Btrust Builders Program. The two organizations can fill the roles that are necessary to remain operational. Qala requires finance, which Btrust possesses, and Btrust needs frameworks to cultivate talent.
Qala was formed by Tim Akinbo — who is regarded as possibly the founder of the first bitcoin node in West Africa, Bernard Parah, the CEO of Bitnob, and two Btrust board members, Nur Khalil and Carla Kirk-Cohen.
Speaking on the acquisition, Bernard Parah said that when the programme was launched in 2021, the goal was 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,” he said.
“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,” he added.