Jay-Z and Jack Dorsey’s firm expands to foster Bitcoin talent in Africa

The Bitcoin non-profit, Btrust, co-founded by rapper Jay-Z and Block CEO Jack Dorsey, has acquired the Bitcoin talent company, Qala.

Following this acquisition, Qala, an organization that provides training for African Bitcoin and Lightning engineers, has been rebranded as the Btrust Builders Program.

According to reports on Sep. 6, the deal is a synergistic acquisition to advance Bitcoin development in Africa.

While Btrust has the financial resources, it didn’t have the structure to develop the African Bitcoin talent pipeline. 

On the other side, Qala has the system in place but is lacking the resources to achieve its goal sustainably since, as a social enterprise, it doesn’t earn revenues.

Prior to this agreement, Qala relied on grants from organizations, including Coinbase Giving and $100,000 from the Human Rights Foundation.

Qala’s CEO, Femi Longe, and Stephanie Titcombe, a program manager, are now set to join Btrust as program leads for the new Btrust Builders program.

The program will shift focus to open-source training, with an invitation for senior African software developers to participate in Bitcoin and Lightning development.

On Feb. 11, 2021, Jack Dorsey and Jay-Z jointly pledged 500 BTC for Btrust to support teams working on a project in India and Africa. However, there were no specific directives from the co-founders.

Btrust has since sponsored events like the maiden edition of the Africa Bitcoin Conference, scheduled from Dec. 5 to 7 in Ghana, as part of their larger mission to decentralize the development of Bitcoin.

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