Home » Hip-hop billionaire Jay-Z-backed Btrust acquires Qala, an African Bitcoin talent firm

Hip-hop billionaire Jay-Z-backed Btrust acquires Qala, an African Bitcoin talent firm

by Feyisayo Ajayi

Btrust, the Bitcoin non-profit co-founded by rapper Jay-Z and Block CEO Jack Dorsey to support Bitcoin (BTC) development in Africa and India, has completed its acquisition of Qala, an organization specializing in training African Bitcoin and Lightning engineers. The transaction, finalized on Sept. 1, also marks Qala’s rebranding as the Btrust Builders Programme.

Qala was founded by two Btrust board members, Nur Khalil, and Carla Kirk-Cohen, alongside Bernard Parah (CEO of Bitnob) and Tim Akinbo, who is recognized as potentially the pioneer of the first Bitcoin node in West Africa. In 2021, Qala secured a 0.5 Bitcoin grant from the New York-based Human Rights Foundation (HRF) to facilitate the training of 10 Bitcoin developers in Africa.

This strategic acquisition allows both entities to advance their shared vision of bolstering Bitcoin development in Africa. While Btrust, initially endowed with 500 BTC upon its inception, possesses substantial financial resources, it needs the infrastructure to nurture African Bitcoin talent, relying on grant distributions to fulfill its mission. Conversely, Qala possesses the essential framework but needs to improve its sustainable operations.

Two years ago, former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and U.S. entertainment mogul Jay-Z established Btrust as an endowment dedicated to funding Bitcoin development initiatives, primarily focusing on Africa and India. The fund’s ambitious mission involved deploying roughly 500 Bitcoin (equivalent to $23.6 million) to achieve its objectives.

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