The African Bitcoin-centric nonprofit, Qala, has been acquired by Btrust, another Bitcoin nonprofit organization, with support from billionaire Bitcoiner Jack Dorsey. The acquisition, announced earlier this week, aims to scale up Qala’s efforts in training African engineers for careers in Bitcoin and Lightning Network development.
Qala has been rebranded as the “Btrust Builders Programme” following the acquisition. The newly renamed organization will focus on promoting contributions to open-source BTC and Lightning projects. Femi Longe, Programme Lead at Btrust Builders and ex-CEO of Qala, described the acquisition as a “strategic merger” rather than a traditional financial acquisition, stating it was not for a monetary value.
Btrust was established as a blind trust for Bitcoin development in 2021 by Dorsey and rapper Jay-Z. The trust was backed by 500 BTC worth $23.6 million at the time. With its acquisition of Qala, Btrust aims to leverage Qala’s existing talent network and education system.
The fundamental goal of the renamed organization remains unchanged: to onboard and train African engineers seeking careers in Bitcoin and lightning development. Alumni from the group have already secured positions at various companies in the sector, including SphinxChat, Galoy, Bitnob, Chaincode Labs, HeartBit, Ibex, and Rigly.
Notably, some of these firms have introduced innovative developments recently. In 2022, Galoy’s platform introduced Stablesats, a novel method of transacting synthetic dollars over Bitcoin’s lightning network. Last month, Chaincode Labs launched ‘ChatBTC’, a ChatGPT spinoff focused on Bitcoin education.
Longe noted that moving forward, the non-profit will “de-emphasize” training developers for job placements and will instead promote contributions to open-source BTC and Lightning projects such as Bitcoin Core.
Qala sees promise in Bitcoin’s evolution in Africa as a “currency” rather than just a “digital asset.” Companies like Machankura, a service for transacting Bitcoin without the internet, and Bitnob, which enables BTC-powered inter-African currency transfers, serve as inspiration for a new generation of builders to leverage the capabilities that Bitcoin provides, according to Longe.
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