Btrust, a nonprofit organization focused on fostering bitcoin developer talent, is expanding in Africa with its acquisition of Qala, an organizational training firm that helps upskill African Bitcoin and Lightning Network engineers.
Btrust launched back in 2021 when Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter (now X), and rapper Jay-Z committed 500 bitcoin — around $29 million as of the date of the announcement — to fund bitcoin development in Africa and India. Btrust was set up to be “a blind irrevocable trust” that takes zero direction from Dorsey or Jay-Z.
JAY-Z/@S_C_ and I are giving 500 BTC to a new endowment named ₿trust to fund #Bitcoin development, initially focused on teams in Africa & India. It‘ll be set up as a blind irrevocable trust, taking zero direction from us. We need 3 board members to start: https://t.co/L4mRBryMJe
— jack (@jack) February 12, 2021
Qala also launched in 2021 with the goal of sourcing, training and matching African software developers with leading bitcoin companies. The company built Africa’s largest online community of Bitcoin developers, according to the release.
With Btrust’s acquisition now complete, Qala will rebrand as the Btrust Builders Programme. The amount spent by Btrust to acquire Qala was not disclosed in the release.
“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,” said Bernard Parah, co-founder and director of Qala, in the release.
Btrust is currently headed up by its board of directors, which includes Abubakar Nur Khalil, Carla Kirk-Cohen, Obi Nwosu and Ojoma Ochai. Dorsey made an open call for board member applications as part of the initial Btrust announcement in 2021 and received over 7,000 applications.
Femi Longe, the CEO of Qala, and Stephanie Titcombe, programme manager at Qala, will join Btrust as programme leads at Btrust Builders.